Article Critique Sample

Sequential Requests and Organ Donation


The article under review is the work of Girandola (2002) based on an investigation regarding how effective the foot-in-the-door strategy is in increasing the intention of participants in donating organs. The researcher drew a sample of one hundred seventy seven undergraduate students who were taking the introductory business management unit at the University of Franche-Comte. Among the participants, eighty-seven were male, while the remaining ninety were female. 

Girandola (2002) employed an experimental research design given that he set up four conditions for the study. The conditions included same-requester, different-requester and immediate –delayed requesters with controls for gender. The initial request entailed completing five questions concerning organ donation.


The study respondents were presented a second request which required them to specify their intentions on donating organs ether immediately or after three days upon the request being made. One person or different persons presented the requests to the participants. As indicated, respondents from the control group received only the second request.

The process involved testing groups of four and five individuals. Before the introduction, the respondents were informed that the study was about completing a personality test. The intention was to make the participants believe that they took part in the validation of the test. Although the validation test lasted ten minutes, it had no association with the study. In total, fifty-four adjectives were flashed across the computer screen in succession. After the flashing, the respondents were asked to rate the level/degree to which the adjectives were descriptive of their behavior on a scale of ten (1= not at all describing and 10= totally describing). The first experimenter had to return to check on the progress the participants were making. Upon returning, experimenter 1 indicated that it would last ten minutes to process the results. In order to fill the time gap, the experimenter indicated that he would let the participants carry out another activity, which was described in details. Thereafter, experimenter 1 vacated the room.

In the subsequent step, experimenter 2 came to the room and started explaining that his mission was not the experiment or study. Instead, the experimenter indicated that he was among graduate students who were interested in understanding the students’ views on a number of aspects bordering on health. To collect data, a questionnaire would be used. The experimenter presented a five-item questionnaire having prompts on organ donation. In case a respondent was unwilling to fill the questionnaire, the second experimenter acknowledged his/her contribution before ending their contact. However, if the participant agreed to take part in the first request, the experimenter expressed appreciation before presenting the questionnaire. The researcher also indicated that all participants agreed to fill the questionnaire.

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After filling the questionnaire, the second experimenter from the same-requester-immediate-request condition carried out another task by reflecting on the intention of participants to donate organs on a scale of 1- 20 (1 = no intention at all, while 20 = strong intention). In case the respondents were in the category of different-requester-immediate-request, the experimenter appreciated their participation before leaving the group. Thereafter, experimenter 3 entered the room and indicated that he was a graduate student seeking data for organ donation entity before presenting the second request. In brief, experimenter 1 presented experimenter 2 (same-requester condition) and experimenter 3 (different-requester condition) which was the target condition. It is noted that participants in the control group took part in only one session.

The researcher anticipated a stronger intention to donate organs among the different-requester-delayed-request, different-requester-immediate-request and same-requester-delayed-request conditions than the control group. As the results revealed, respondents who received the target request from the same experimenter upon agreeing to the initial request did not show differences in intention to donate organs compared to those from the control group. However, the FTID strategy was apparent in the categories where there was a great intention to donate by the different-requester-delayed-request, same-requester-delayed-request and requester-immediate-request groups compared to the control group. The researcher relied on the findings to observe that the intention to donate organs increased if the FITD procedures were applied. It occurred in case when different presenters made the second request or one person came with the request after three days following the initial one.


The study was designed in a convincing manner to test the hypothesis that FITD strategies could influence the intention to donate blood. In psychology, using various approaches to induce favorable treatment to requests is an important persuasive tactic, which is known to yield positive results. For that reason, the results generated by Girandola’s study are logical and informative about the FITD strategy in the influencing behavior. 

Reliability and validity are important aspects when conducting scientific research. Reliability shows the extent to which a tool used in a study produces not only stable but also consistent results. In order to ascertain the reliability of a study, one approach would entail test-retest reliability. It involves administering a test twice within different times to assess the correlation between results in different instances. On the other hand, validity concentrates on the accuracy of measurement or how well a given test measures what it is supposed to measure. Whereas reliability is important, it is not sufficient on its own as it needs to demonstrate validity to be deemed reliable. 

Relying on the results, a possibility that the participants would behave in a similar way if exposed to the same conditions exists. Hence, the research is deemed reliable because it is repeatable. The same position cannot be taken about the validity of the results given that the participants are presented distractive tests. Given that human nature varies, it needs to be investigated whether individuals will behave in the same way if they are not subjected to certain inducements or distractions. It is noted that the questionnaires were completed based on self-reported views of the respondents. The extent to which the measures are accurate is a contentious issue. In practice, self-reporting is subject to over or under reporting.

Ethical requirements play a major role in carrying out studies. Presenting prompts with a view to manipulating the minds of respondents raises an ethical concern, since the subjects involved are human beings. One of the ethical requirements is that participants are informed about the study requirements and the ramifications of participation. In the study, part of the procedure entails tricking or disguising intentions by experimenters. Such conduct raises ethical concerns, since they are based on trickery to attain responses. However, the nature of the study demands that the researcher employs the approach he has used.

A methodological issue arises based on the sample that was drawn. It is indicated that the researcher selected one hundred seventy-seven undergraduate students from the introductory business management unit. The issue of representativeness emerges. Consequently, the sample does not represent any population, not even the class population. In order to resolve the problem, the researcher would have to sample the whole college so that the study could be based on the entire college as a population. Alternatively, the researcher should have conducted the same study using a sample drawn from another class and compare the results. Adopting the sampling alternatives would have given the study predictive power.

The results of the study are weaker than reported, since the presentation of study prompts to groups of four or five participants allows for collective instead of individual answers. In particular, it is noted that if four respondents rate an adjective at a given level, the remaining one or two participants might be forced to agree with them. Group or consensus mentality might have affected the responses.

Brief Summary

Girandola (2002) carried out a study anticipating that the foot-in-the-door strategy would influence the intentions of participants in donating their organs. The hypothesis was confirmed, since individuals categorized into the FITD conditions had higher intentions to donate compared to those within the control conditions.

The researcher tested groups of four and five individuals who were informed that the study was about completing a personality test. The participants were taken through a validation test which lasted ten minutes. Subsequently, fifty-four adjectives were flashed before the participants in succession. After flashing the descriptive, respondents were required to rate the level to which the adjectives exhibited their behavior based on a scale of one to ten (1= not at all describing and 10= totally describing). Questionnaire instruments were also used to assess other attributes related to organ donation. The research found that there was an increase in the intention to donate organs among participants drawn from the FITD conditions. Respondents who agreed to the first request were offered a larger request immediately or after three days. The same or a different experimenter presented the second request. The responses were compared to those from a control group which received the second request only. He researcher found that in all conditions, there was a significant effect attributable to the FITD strategy as participants demonstrated more intention to donate organs compared to the control group.

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