These data reveal no discernible disparity in the publication of role playing studies between journals.
Viewed within journals over time, there does not appear to be a consistent trend in the percentage of role playing studies published.
Despite the fact that role playing has a formidable history as a tool used to facilitate training in interpersonal skills (e.g., Trower, Bryant, & Argyle, 1977), job skills, (e.g., Ivancevich & Smith, 1981), and psychotherapeutic well-being (e.g., Goldstein & Simonson, 1971), its use as an experimental method has been the subject of considerable debate (Greenberg & Folger, 1988).
227), Freedman countered that role playing studies reveal "what people think they would do, not necessarily what they [actually] would do" (1969, p.
Importantly, it need not be argued that there exists any correspondence between what people say they would do and what they actually do for there to be any value to role playing data.
In this regard, we believe that critics of the role playing method have made a valid point.
Although role playing studies may be conducted for different purposes, it is important to recognize that all role playing studies may be characterized as differing along three key dimensions (Greenberg & Folger, 1988).
Role playing studies vary with respect to the degree of active involvement participants encounter (Ginsburg, 1979; Hamilton, 1976; Hendrick, 1977).
Although the continuous nature of the passive-active dimension makes it difficult to unambiguously identify the exact number of nonactive versus active role playing studies published, it is possible to identify cases falling at various points along the continuum.
Still, both are role playing studies because the participants in both are behaving as if they are in a certain situation, but realize, of course, that their actions have no real impact.
Most of the role playing studies published in the surveyed literature asked subjects to play themselves, either in a situation that was familiar to them, or one that was unfamiliar to them.
Although far less common, some role playing studies require subjects to behave in ways they would imagine another person would - either in a familiar or an unfamiliar situation.