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Race and Ethnic Composition of Groups: Experimental Investigations

Advances in Group Processes

ISBN: 978-1-78190-976-8

Publication date: 23 September 2013



This chapter considers whether and how race/ethnicity can be examined using experimental methods.


We begin by discussing the highly contextual nature of race/ethnicity and reviewing the properties of experiments. After examining existing experimental literature that focuses on race/ethnicity, we turn to our current study that uses the incompatible complexity condition to examine the multilevel interactions of diverse racial/ethnic groups composed of Mexican American and White participants in Texas and Black and White participants in Ohio.


We argue that experiments, when guided by formal theoretical approaches that allow for general inquiries of theoretical principles, are especially suitable for studying interactional characteristics such as race/ethnicity.


We suggest a particular approach that emphasizes interactional aspects of race/ethnicity and how these aspects can be utilized to diminish inequality in group processes.




This work was supported in part by National Science Foundation Grant 0961940 awarded to the first two authors. An American Sociological Association/National Science Foundation, Future of the Discipline (FAD) grant was also awarded to the first two authors; the conference supported by this grant was critical for our thinking about experiments and race/ethnicity. We are grateful to all the participants. We also thank the departments of sociology at Kent State University and Texas A&M University for their support for this project, and are especially appreciative of all the undergraduate research assistants.


Goar, C., Sell, J., Manago, B., Melero, C. and Reidinger, B. (2013), "Race and Ethnic Composition of Groups: Experimental Investigations", Advances in Group Processes (Advances in Group Processes, Vol. 30), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 47-75.



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