Research Methods

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Education ・APA ・1 Sources

Ma-Kellams and Lerner (2016) present an article that examines the association between empathic accuracy and the ability of participants to display professionalism and personal aptitude in inferring others' sentiments. The writers give a case study viewpoint of the subject by developing several studies to cement the analysis of the link between the factors. The variables under consideration include systematic thought and intuition. This retrospective work aims to outline the methodology and results of two studies investigated by the writers in the article, as well as explain the potential strengths, shortcomings, and difficulties with both the results and the technique used. Researchers in Study 1 hypothesized that the mode of thought would impact the empathic accuracy of lay people. Further, the study utilized various designs, sampling methods, data collection procedures, and appropriate participants to engage the various hypotheses. For instance, the participants for the study are recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk (Ma-Kellams & Lerner, 2016). To develop a convenient sample for the study, the between-subjects design was utilized that allowed the researchers to develop a suitable size. The procedure for the study involved a three-level design in which the participants were required to guide different employees for a given job. The goal of the procedure was to determine three elements to determine the varied responses that would be expected: empathic accuracy emphasis, empathic accuracy de-emphasis, and no goal to be achieved. The presentation of the three elements provided the researchers with a wider scope to determine the perception of the respondents regarding intuition and systematic thought and how the two were influenced by empathic accuracy absence. The participants who operated under the empathic accuracy principle were expected to help the employees to infer others’ feelings accurately. In the same manner, the same participants were expected to tell the employees to either think intuitively and instinctively or reason in systematic and analytical manner.

From Study 1, in which the researchers aimed at establishing whether the intuitive or systematic approach was preferred in a study, it was established that three-quarters of the participants opted for the intuitive approach. The remaining 25 percent of the respondents were for the systematic approach to empathic accuracy (Ma-Kellams & Lerner, 2016). It was thus noted that there was a significant relationship between the intuition and the empathic accuracy. For instance, the participants indicated that the jobs that required empathic accuracy could be perceived by employees at through first instincts. In the same manner, it was established that the systematic thinking participants demonstrated a close relation with the jobs that did not require empathic accuracy.

In consideration of the absence of a goal to be achieved under the study, the participants indicated a significant interest in choosing of intuition over systematic thinking. When compared to the results attained under goal oriented experiment, one can point out that the preference of intuitive modes over systematic thoughts is stimulated by the presence of a goal (Ma-Kellams & Lerner, 2016). The researchers further compared the results to different binary regressions in logistics. In doing so, they established that the presence of a condition in an experiment warranted for the participants choosing intuitive approach over systematic thoughts.

The analysis of the results reveals that the study utilized Chi-square as a statistical test in which there was a comparison of the strengths of the variables. As a result, the researchers found out that there existed a stronger deviation in the preference of intuition over systematic thoughts. As a result, it was possible for the researchers to infer that the participants preferred intuition in jobs that required empathic accuracy over systematic approach.

In the view of the results presented in this study, it can be noted that the researchers present a comprehensive analysis of the available data through the various statistical test. By examining the relationships between empathic accuracy and both systematic and intuitive thinking of the participants.

Study 4 hypothesized that systematic thinking participants were likely to be more accurate compared to intuitive thinkers regarding emotional inference. The participants for the study included a combination of both US and international-born at Harvard University in the executive-education program. To come up with a valid sample, the researchers determined the sample size depending on the Harvard’s Executive Education program (Ma-Kellams & Lerner, 2016). Also, the procedure involved in the research included the participants being assigned one between two experimental conditions. Furthermore, the participants were expected to write about situations in which they had used first instincts to make reasonable decisions that had a positive outcome. Under the systematic analysis, the participants were to provide a situation in which they had made decisions basing on reasoning and consequently arrived at a positive outcome. Although the participants in both procedures were provided with an equal amount of time, the researchers predicted that the systematic thinking would most probably result in greater empathic accuracy compared to the intuitive thinking.

The studies made use of non-randomized sampling procedure in which the participants were selected depending on the given guidelines of merit. As a result, there are potential strengths and weaknesses of their methodological approach. The non-randomized sample selection can be considered to be unreliable because the researcher is likely to select the participants for reasons other than the ones outlined. For instance, it can be argued that the researchers in these studies utilized Harvard’s program so as to have participants that have almost similar characteristics (Ma-Kellams & Lerner, 2016). As a result, there is a high likelihood for the results to be based on respondents with similar traits that cannot depict diversity. Furthermore, the methodology is likely to be problematic since the researchers failed to address the participants who failed to cooperate during the research initially. As a result, the adequacy of the sampling procedure cannot be judged since the reader is not provided with an exhaustive explanation of the basis for inclusion or exclusion of the participants in the sample chosen.

On the other hand, the methodology has key strengths that demonstrate the reliability and validity of the studies. Through the recording of the collected data and presenting the information in the article, it can be deduced that there are no instances of biases in the interpretation of the data. Moreover, the methodology makes use of qualitative approach in which there is a correlational presentation of data from other studies for the readers to compare the data (Ma-Kellams & Lerner, 2016). Since the analysis takes less time, the researchers are in a position to save on time in the collection of the data which they later utilize while analyzing it and providing certain inferences. Observing the methodology employed in this study, in is seen that the procedural based approach allows the researcher to focus on streamlining the research process rather than focusing on instruments used. Therefore, the methodology provides an ample time for the reliability of the results to be ensured through a reliable process of data collection.

After the computation of the data collected during the research, the results indicated that the employees and participants under the systematic thoughts evidenced critical reasoning under similar conditions with intuitive thinking participants. The manipulation of the results was important for the researchers since it allowed them to test the effectiveness of an experimental induction which did not demand characteristics. Also, the results showed that there was a higher integrative complexity in the interviewees and interviewers in systematic thinking compared to the interviewers and interviewee from the intuitive approach. Furthermore, the interclass correlation analysis established that empathic accuracy was predicted by a condition. In this view, the systematic thinkers presented a higher correlation compared to the intuitive participants who exhibited higher difference scores.

On examination of the results, it can be seen that the researchers utilized correlation as a form of statistical test. Under this study, the variables were compared to establish the possible association between them. For example, the results about the systematic participants indicated that the empathic accuracy under systematic thought was higher on dependence on the conditions predicting the existence (Ma-Kellams & Lerner, 2016). Also, there was a lower correlation between the conditions predicting the relationship with the empathic accuracy. Furthermore, while analyzing the results, it is seen that the presentation of the results by developing a correlational view of the results indicate that the researcher focused on developing a reliable perspective on the relationship between the variables examined.

A close examination of the results from both studies demonstrates that there exist various strengths in the results section of the article. For example, the presentation of the results on a relative scale through the statistical tests like correlation and Chi-square indicate the appropriateness of the results and the design. As a matter of fact, the interpretation provides the readers with the opportunity to draw conclusions basing on the presented results. Contrarily, the failure of the results to provide appropriate control groups that would present a better comparison limits the possibility for generalization of the results for other case studies. As a result, the applicability of the results to other populations with different participants is limited.

Conclusively, the study was necessary because there is a better opportunity for people in a workplace to infer the empathic accuracy of colleagues depending on the thought pattern. For instance, having established that the goals set predicate the empathic accuracy, it is possible for the readers to apply the results in such situations as developing integration and interaction at the job (Ma-Kellams & Lerner, 2016). Moreover, the interesting element in the article was the manner I which the participants were placed in a position where they would exhibit three different personalities depending on the conditions. Therefore, it can be recommended that the researchers focus on researching on the applicability of the different theories like the lay theory in studies relating to empathic efficacy. Besides, future research should involve examining the impact of empathic accuracy on the job performance and the thought process of the employees.


Ma-Kellams, C., & Lerner, J. (2016). Trust your gut or think carefully? Examining whether an intuitive, versus a systematic, mode of thought produces greater empathic accuracy.

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