Reinig, B. A., & Shin, B. (2002). The dynamic effects of group support systems on group meetings. Journal of Management Information Systems, 19(2), 303-325.

More noticeably, most experiments employ a one-shot methodology with ad hoc groups [35, 58], completely ignoring the effects of time and history on GSS dynamics and performance. A number of studies (for example [17, 18, 58]), however, have demonstrated that outcomes differ for both GSS and face-to-face groups over time. That is, the results of a group effort in an initial meeting are not necessarily indicative of the results realized in later meetings. For example, in a study conducted by Chidambaram et al. [18], GSS participants reported less group cohesion than their face-to-face counterparts in initial meetings, but in subsequent meetings the GSS participants reported more group cohesion than the face-to-face participants did. Also, field research examining the use of GSS with naturally occurring groups over long periods have consistently reported positive results, including reductions in project completion times and labor costs savings [39, 66, 71, 83]. The positive findings of field research stand in stark contrast to the inconsistent findings from experimental research. [305]

Why pull out this paragraph? Reinig and Shin do something very important with their lit review here. They identify a failing in not just one study but a whole class of studies. They point out important effects, time and history, that researchers in this field must take into account and can only do so through field research with real groups, not aritifical and ad hoc assemblages of experimental subjects. This point in the lit review not only justifies their own decision to use groups of students in “natural classroom settings” [311] but also gives future researchers something to watch out for as they review past research and plan their own projects.

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