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The Problem-Solving Workshop as a Method of Research

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image of International Negotiation

Early proponents of the problem-solving workshop cast it as a method of research to study the phenomenon of social conflict, not only as a method of practice. As a research technique, problem-solving workshops can serve as both a forum for applying and testing concepts and models about conflict, and as a laboratory for inductive theorizing based on information provided by participants. Workshops can also be useful for identifying the typical barriers that hamper effective negotiation and for proposing ways to overcome these resistances. As a form of action research, workshops constitute a social intervention and serve as the central element in a program of activities directed toward social change through conflict resolution. Unfortunately, both the potential of workshops as a research method and the need for evaluating them as interventions are inadequately addressed by current practice.


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