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Disparate Methods and Common Findings in the Study of Negotiation

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image of International Negotiation

In this article, we compare the relative popularity of a wide variety of methods and techniques used in the study of conflict and negotiation across five domains of inquiry: political science, communication sciences, social and personality psychology, economics, and organizational behavior. An analysis of articles on conflict and negotiation published between 1997 and 2001 suggests that laboratory experiments that entail coding of behavior and self-reported data using surveys are especially popular in psychology, organizational behavior, and communication sciences. Mathematical modeling, the use of experimental games, and the use of archival data are especially popular in economics and political science. Diverse methods can provide convergent insights, and this is observed clearly in work on gain-loss framing and on reciprocity in negotiation. We suggest that researchers adopt, or continue to employ, triangulation as an approach to validity: When two or more methods or data sources converge on a construct, we develop greater assurance that our conclusions are not driven by an error or artifact of any one procedure. Each method exhibits strengths and weaknesses, and to the extent they do not overlap but show common effects, we stand on more solid ground with our theoretical conclusions.


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