Compare and Contrast the Approach to Studying Friendships Taken in the Bigelow & La Gaipa (1974) Study with That Taken by William Corsaro. Essay

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Compare and contrast the approach to studying friendships taken in the Bigelow & La Gaipa (1974) study with that taken by William Corsaro.

      The pervasive nature of friendship and its effects have made this topic of considerable interest to individuals in a variety of disciplines. (Bukowski, 1996)

Friendship is a complex concept defined by the individual.   Many psychologists and sociologists, among other fields of research, have sought to explore the nature of friendship, particularly in children. To understand how bonds are created, what the expectations of a friend are and how these expectations develop over time, researchers have devised methods they believe to be the most comprehensive approach to explore this topic.   This essay concentrates on just two of the methods used and through examining each approach will show the advantages, disadvantages, virtues and inadequacies of each.

Bigelow & La Gaipa were two of the first psychologists to study children’s friendships.   Their aim was to study the differences in children’s understanding of friendship at various stages of development, and then develop a model to apply to a wider population.   The method they used to do this was quite extraordinary.   They asked groups of upper-lower-class and lower-middle-class children aged between six and fourteen who lived in the Canadian town of Windsor, Ontario to write an essay about their best friend of the same sex.   A total of 480 essays were collected and the content of each was analysed against a predetermined list of 21 Friendship Expectations devised by the duo at the beginning of the study.

      Dimensions were chosen to encompass various levels of abstraction as in cognitive and moral judgment developmental theory. (Bigalow & La Gaipa, 1975)

The development of Friendship Expectations was summarised by Bigelow and La Gaipa as a three stage model.   The first stage consisted of physical attributes, such as propinquity (geographical closeness) and...

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