Pitfalls and pratfalls in research on an experimental community: Lessons in integrating theory and practice from the Rajneeshpuram research project

Carl A Latkin, Richard A. Littman, Norman D. Sundberg, Richard A. Hagan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A community psychology perspective guided a field study of the social‐psychological aspects of the experimental community of Rajneeshpuram, Oregon. This natural experiment illustrates methodological and theoretical challenges to research on the community level. Entry into the community and the building of rapport was a slow and dynamic process, carried out by several methods, such as feedback from respondents, focus groups, and new approaches to the roles of investigators and respondents. Although informants proved to be necessary and valuable, community researchers should be alert to cognitive biases, including the false consensus bias, personal validation, and the self‐serving bias, that may lead informants to provide inaccurate information. This project also demonstrates the importance of studying behavior in context and how methodology from psychology may be used to enhance field studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-48
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Community Psychology
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Pitfalls and pratfalls in research on an experimental community: Lessons in integrating theory and practice from the Rajneeshpuram research project'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this