Multicultural Research

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What key components separate the methodologies utilized in multicultural research from traditional research?  How has multicultural research expanded our understanding of cultures? It is obvious just by what we have experienced in this course so far that researchers would need to utilize different methods when conducting multicultural research as opposed to traditional research. Traditional psychological research has always employed the idea of absolutism, whereas multicultural psychological research takes on more of an anthropological attitude of relativism. An absolutist attitude gives far more credit to biological and genetic factors, whereas a relativist attitude suggests more of influence of cultural and societal factors. Traditional psychological research typically utilizes the standard psychological tools that were not developed with other cultures in mind. On the other hand Multicultural research would tend to utilize psychological instruments developed with that particular culture in mind if they use any psychological instruments at all. Many multicultural researchers or relativists conduct a large portion of their research through observation. Through observation many researchers are then able to set norms for that particular culture, and then can possibly develop a psychological instrument for use with that particular culture. Also it is important to note that traditional psychological research has a tendency to generalize findings to entire populations regardless of culture. This is a result of many older European and American psychologists having an absolutist attitude and believing that culture has no bearing on psychology. (Segall, Dasen, Berry & Poortinga, 1999, pp. 33-34).

Multicultural research has been a wonderful resource for expanding the world’s understanding of many different cultures that we previously knew little about. It has done this by providing insight into the differences between cultures as well as the influence that...
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