ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Some Problems of Cross-Cultural Research

This discussion of problems of cross-cultural research is based on the author's surveys of factory labour in Poona. The first set of problems arise from the difficulties in the discovery and use of aggregative data. There has been a good deal of discussion of the differences in the definition of variables which mar their use for cross-national comparisons. Much less has been said about the inapplicability of the aggregate measures for micro studies. The required broad aggregate data that one needs are likely to be missing or, when present, of dubious accuracy in detail and collected in a fashion that maximises their utility at the macro level at the expense of the micro level A second broad range of problems concerns the possible inapplicability to the non-Western setting of measurement techniques developed in the West.

The final broad problem is a general methodological problem which has special, subtle impli-cations for comparative research. Techniques of sociological analysis usually involves a statement of relationships between sets of variables, not individuals; that is to say, the attributes of an individual are generally treated as separable from the other attributes for purposes of analysis, even though we have ways of treating the effects of a composite set of variables on another composite set. The cross-cultural effect of this methodological gap is to obscure inter-cultural differences.

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