First Advisor

Shirley Kennedy

Term of Graduation

Fall 1971

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Anthropology






Japanese national characteristics, Saudi Arabian national characteristics, Small groups -- Research



Physical Description

1 online resource (4, viii, 144 pages)


This thesis purports to explore and describe the types of information that would be obtainable to the anthropological researcher if he used the minimally structured small group (MDMS-SG) technique with members of a selected ethnic group. The approach was tried on Japanese Portland State University students and also on Saudi Arab Portland State University students for six sessions each. They were told that a graduate anthropology student wanted to get to know them and learn what they thought she should know about their countries.

The sessions were taped and notes written after each session. This corpus of material was analyzed using the closed corpus technique which necessitates use of the entire corpus and only the corpus. Post-categorization was used, it being especially appropriate in pilot studies and/or in original exploratory research where the emphasis is on induction rather than deduction.

The verbal and other behavioral phenomena exhibited by the two "cultural" groups were compared and an attempt made to isolate that which was distinctively Arab or Japanese. Presence-absence counts and the relative frequency with which behavioral items were exhibited determined whether or not an item was differentiating.

Those differences occurred in six major areas which included responses to the constants of the total situation, patterns of organization, paralinguistic phenomena exhibited, interaction patterns displayed, emotions expressed and finally the subject matter discussed. These then are areas for or aspects about which the anthropological investigator can expect to obtain data if he uses the MDMS-SG with "cultural" groups.

These differences were then compared with information gathered about Arab and Japanese cultures from other sources.

The working hypothesis that the Arab group would spontaneously exhibit significant behavioral differences from the Japanese group under MDMS-SG conditions and that these differences would be related to the ethnic background of that larger population of which they are a part was utilized.

The two groups were substantially different and these differences were in the direction of the differences between the two ethnic groups from which they come. Therefore the assumption, while not proved, was substantially strengthened.

In the Arab and Japanese groups, it was found that the group reactions to the total situation--the physical surroundings, the investigator, the fact of meeting at all, etc.--almost all coincided with the written literature. It would seem therefore that the MDMS-SG could be used prior to field work with an unstudied group.

Organizational patterns are ideally and easily studied through the use of the MDMS-SG. It could be a part of every ethnology besides having practical significance (i.e. in facilitating international communication) but is only rarely studied now.


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