A study conducted by Sergeant, Woods & Sedlacek (1992) found significant anti-Arab attitudes at a college campus. In order to measure these anti-Arab sentiments, they used a variation of the Situational Attitude Scale (SAS); a scale that has been used in the past to measure prejudicial attitudes of whites toward blacks (Sedlacek and Brooks, 1970).
Sergeant et al. (1992) developed the Situational Attitude
Scale – Arab (SAS-Arab) to test prejudices against Arab-Americans and Arab
individuals in general. The scale consists of two forms with ten
situational questions on each form. One form is considered neutral
because it makes no reference to ethnicity or race while the other form
inserts the word Arab to possibly create a stimulus among the respondents.
The respondents must respond to each situation using 10 bipolar semantic
differential scales (see Appendix for the complete SAS-Arab)
A multivariate analysis of variance from the original SAS-Arab study showed significant F values between the neutral and ethnically stimulated forms. Situations 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 showed significant F value differences in their answers (Sergent et al., 1992).
Sergent et al. (1992) make several recommendations regarding how these attitudes may be combated. Among the recommendations are involving students in situations where they will have high personal involvement with other Arab students. A multi-cultural awareness week was even recommended to expose the students to different cultural traditions.
Using this study as a basis, we take the recommendations of Sergeant et al. (1992) and create an experimental design that assesses the attitudes of military members before and after they are exposed to persuasive and uncertainty reducing cultural messages. Based upon the literature review, and using the realistic group conflict theory as a basis we developed our independent and dependent variables.
Independent Variable: The persuasive and uncertainty reducing techniques used to familiarize military members with the Arab culture.
Dependent Variable: Attitudes of military members – specifically looking at the level of anti-Arab sentiment in 10 specific situations.
Initially, to be able to test the dependent variable, we had to make several changes to the wording of the SAS-Arab to make it more applicable to the military. Some of the questions were universally worded while other student-specific questions needed to be changed to address the military member. The changes are as follows:
(6) You are required to attend a (an Islamic) religious
service as part of your installation’s cultural awareness training.
(7) You notice an Arab military member cheating on a promotion exam.
(8) You see a bunch of Arab individuals staging a demonstration against discrimination directly outside of your installation.
(9) You hear of an Arabic military member receiving additional government financial assistance.
With these changes in place, a pretest-treatment-posttest design is needed to accurately assess the attitudes of the military member. Because the treatment is relatively untested, the experiment would be designed at only two installations. To minimize any suspicion or control for testing effects that may hurt internal validity, the study would be conducted by the installation’s personnel office and administered during a briefing designed to orient new members to the installation.
Because part of our treatment is to introduce the concept of an Arab-American History/Awareness month in August, the newcomers selected would be those who arrive in June and July at the installation selected. We feel this is appropriate because the summer is a popular time for new officers and enlisted members to report for duty. This also gives us a higher probability of having robust newcomer orientation classes.
Dividing the class into fourths and randomly assigning them into test groups will help us adhere to our pretest-treatment-posttest design. Because most newcomer orientation briefings are mandatory, military members should not be surprised when they discover they have to fill out a survey. The SAS-Arab is one of several surveys they will be filling out that day.
The first 25 percent would receive the pretest only. Half of them would receive the neutral version and the other half would receive the ethnically charged version. This should improve internal validity and account for any Hawthorne effects. After the test is given to this group of individuals, a demographic questionnaire will be attached to eliminate the responses of those individuals who may be of Arab decent or those who have Arab members in their families. The demographics can also be used to observe other trends in prejudice patterns as Johnson (1992) did in his study.
The next 50 percent would be randomly assigned neutral and ethnically charged versions of the exam and given the SAS-Arab. Researchers will need to take note of these individuals because they will be called back at a later time (after the treatment) to take the SAS-Arab posttest. The posttest would be classified as a mandatory follow-up briefing (the nature of the briefing will not be disclosed) and an exact date (sometime after the treatment is to be administered) will be provided for the member to report for their follow-up questionnaire. Demographic information will be asked for only after the posttest is administered to this group.
The final 25 percent would not be administered the pretest but their names would be recorded and they would be informed they have a follow-up portion of the newcomers orientation at a later date (again, after the treatment is administered). These individuals would be given the posttest only, with half receiving the neutral version and the other half receiving the ethnically charged version.
The posttest only group is used to account for threats to internal validity that may occur because of regression toward the mean. Demographic information would be asked for following the administration of this posttest. It is important that none of the participants feel as though they have different versions of the test or are being asked to do anything different than any of the other members in the newcomer briefing. If participants know they are going to be called back to specifically take the SAS-Arab again or if they know there is a lot of interest in their answers to it, the testing effects threats to internal validity will increase and possibly invalidate the study
A control group will be established at a different installation
where a similar newcomers class would be split in half so that half receive
the pretest only and the other half are called back after an elapsed period
of time (the same time period as the treatment period at the first installation).
This control population can be used to account for history threats to internal
validity – any world events that may have naturally accounted for a change
in Anti-Arab sentiment in the United States during that same time frame.
** The pretest and posttest portions consist of administering the SAS-Arab evaluation. Treatment is the application of the programs in conjunction with Arab-American History/Awareness Month. Members will be randomly assigned at both installations. Analysis of data will be done using a multivariate analysis of variance at the .05 level.
Once the Arab-American History/Awareness Month is completed, the posttest will be administered to the targeted groups in the prior newcomer orientation briefing. To account for testing effect threats to internal validity, the follow-up posttest can be combined with another standard portion of the newcomer orientation briefing that was withheld the first time around.
After the pretest is given before the treatment is applied, the variables need to be operationalized. This can be done by computing the means and standard deviations for each scale (neutral and ethnically charged forms). From this information, a multivariate analysis of variance should be used to compute the F values. This can be done using SPSS software. Using the Sergent et al. (1992) study as a basis, a .05 level of significance should be used to test the statistics. This means that the odds of a difference between the F values being due to chance is less than 5 occurrences out of 100 (Sommer & Sommer, 1997). This will enable the researcher to look for significant differences between general attitudes and Arab-specific attitudes in each of the 10 situational contexts, across 10 bipolar semantic differential scales.
After the posttest is administered, the F values will
be calculated again and the researchers will look for significant differences
between the F values in the pretest and the F values in the posttest.
| Abstract | Introduction
| Statement of Problem/Research Question
Literature Review | Method | Treatment | Projected Results | Discussion | Appendix | References | OU DoD Page |