1.Reality or Virtual Reality: Which is the Best Path to Marriage? Research Skills Sheena Weber PSY4924 XB: Advanced Psychology Argosy University
When most people view their future, they see themselves with a significant other. However, finding the path leading to that significant other may prove to be more difficult than expected. This is a comparative study on the dating avenues of a traditional encounter versus internet dating. The key implication found in data collected was the validity of some of the studies. I believe further research should be conducted to give better results but due to the newness of internet dating, it may take some years to get quality comparative data such as divorce rates and longevity of marriages from people who meet through traditional methods versus online.
Searching for love isnt easy. Most people have schedules filled with work, children and/or education/training, which can make it hard to find time to date, let alone taking the time to find Mr. or Mrs. Right. There are some who are even trying it a second time around. With todays technology, there are more ways to find love than just the traditional methods our parents and grandparents had. The internet has expanded our social networks and offers over 800 matchmaking sites to find a marriage partner and if thats not what your looking for, then there is always the option of simply making friends or having romantic encounters along the way (ProQuest, 2010). Singles can meet by traditional encounters just by chance or through friends, meetings at the work place or industry events and now we have internet dating sites like PerfectMatch.com or True.com (ProQuest, 2010).In an era of so many options, which one has the best success rate leading to marriage?
Through this study, I want to explore what method works best and why. Does sexuality, gender, age, or race have any affect to the results? Another question to look at is; does one lead to better marriage quality than the other and are there certain characteristics one type of dating has over the other in the aspect of the types of people who do online dating versus traditional? Most of the data collected will be from surveys, questionnaires and studies that have already been done. With my results, I intend to help other single adults find their best match by seeing what works with their life style, personality, interests and similarities that can lead them to possibly finding their soul mate faster than they anticipated.
4. Findings and Implications
During my findings, I found one of the most prevailing arguments was the possible biases from the research done, particularly of the internet dating research. The reason for this is because a lot of the research conducted was funded by internet dating websites such as eHarmony and Match.com (ProQuest, 2010). If there was data collected that contradicted internet dating leading to marriage such as taking the traditional methods, then some data could have been overlooked or in some cases not included so that people would perceive internet dating more favorable for finding their life partners, thus signing up with the dating website (ProQuest, 2010). An excellent example of this was noted in the article Browsing for Love in All the Wrong Places when it mentioned eHarmonys claim to fame is their scientific findings that married couples who met through their site are happier than couples who met by other means. However, they neglected to reveal that they compared couples who were married only an average of six months to couples in the control group who were married an average of over two years (p. 51).
With the internet being a new technology introduced to us, there is little research that has been conducted, making it harder to compare to traditional dating methods, a subject that has more statistical data available for review (ProQuest, 2010). Most of the research conducted for online dating focuses on short term connections and personality traits of those who choose online dating (ProQuest, 2010).
5. Further Research
When people seek a marriage partner, they also desire a happy and fulfilled marriage. I believe a longitudinal study on the quality of the marriages, specifically ones developed through online dating, would be beneficial as well. If statistics were to reveal a significant increase in divorce rates as compared to couples who met through traditional dating methods, then people may think twice about finding their Mr. or Mrs. Right on the internet. These types of results could also lead to finding the causation of the significance.
To further research this topic, the study can also look at which method of internet matchmaking is most effective. This can be done by taking the top internet dating sites and comparing data. EHarmony offers a patented compatibility test while PerfectMatch.com uses a personality profile as a means of matchmaking (ProQuest, 2010). By finding the most effective method, people who choose internet dating can save time and money by going with the company that offers the most reliable method. The same comparison can be done on traditional methods as well. Previous studies have been conducted on traditional methods and revealed that the best method was meeting their spouse through the introduction of a friend (ProQuest, 2010). However, now that the internet has been introduced into the dating game, the results may have changed.
6. Validity & Reliability
After reviewing each study, I did find some validity issues in some and others that were well put together. Because my research topic included online dating, I wanted to check for possible biases that could have affected the results (Argosy, 2010). One of the studies was conducted for an online dating website, so there is limited data that can be used and the validity is somewhat weakened, offering online dating as the way to find a long term relationship (ABI/INFORM Global, 2010). In another study, it offers meeting through friends as the best means to lead to marriage (ProQuest, 2010). The data on this study I believe is more valid because not only is it from a recent study but it is also conducted through a notable professor at Stanford University (ProQuest, 2010). Some other explanations could be where the study is conducted, how many participants are in the study and who the participants are doing the study.
Through the current evidence available on the topic, I believe that the traditional method of meeting a potential mate from a friend is the best option leading to marriage. Once studies can be updated and further research is conducted on online dating, it is possible this could change but I dont believe it will. I think reality will still prevail over virtual reality.
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