Contextualizing a Case
How to setup a matched-guise experiment under the RAVE framework
A number of key questions have to be resolved in order to guarantee a successful outcome of the match-guise experiment. These include aspects necessary for the exposure of the stereotype in question and inducers that trigger a stereotypical response. This is a joint venture involving teaching staff, researchers and technical experts.
Defining and analyzing the objectives
Questions and issues here include:
To exemplify what such a process may look like we can use an example of the implementation of RAVE methodology in a course in sociolinguistics for teacher trainees, which dealt with gender and language. The course book emphasizes gender differences in conversational behaviour, and it presents several examples of evidence that females engage in more 'collaborative' style conversations (supporting the speaker with active listening, compliments, agreements etc.), while males generally engage in more 'competitive' style conversation (challenging the views of the conversational partner, interrupting the same, competing for floor space etc.).
Our hypothesis here was that students would notice such behaviour when it matched the expected behaviour of the gender of the speaker. Based on the above hypothesis we started formulating our case.
The aim of the case was to get students to challenge these assumptions, and to become aware that such gender tendencies in conversations, though true in many cases, also may influence us in our expectations of how men and women are supposed to behave in a conversation.
Based in these criteria we created a manuscript where we had deliberately worked in many of the features that the course literature dealt with, such as interruptions, unequal floor space, active listening etc. The chosen features where based on several previous studies on male and female conversational styles.
One ethical consideration here included the fact that we may inadvertently get students to dismiss studies pointing to overall gender differences, when in fact we really wanted to make students aware of the fact that such studies also may taint our expectations.
Questions and issues include:
Analyze technical constraints and/or possibilities. Other aspects to consider are the physical facility where the case will take place, as well as the specificities within the targeted student group.
Specify case details Specify and refine a credible package that is likely to achieve the identified objectives . Important decisions include: a plausible conversational topic, type of character(s), their attitude and conversational style (e.g. aggressiveness, dominance, submissiveness, monologue or dialogue). Specify guidance to teacher on how to contextualize the experiment for maximum impact. Decide on use of cues such as images, sound or videos. (under construction)
Specify matched-guise response questionnaire Develop or select an existing response questionnaire for the matched-guised experiment, adapted to students knowledge levels, experiences and the demographic makeup. (under construction)