George M. Guthrie suggests some rules that one should follow in cross-cultural research. As a researcher, Guthrie emphasized on contextual influences of situational challenges on individual characteristics. Examination of the contribution and influences that a range of setting, including the neighborhood has led to increased interest in how culture relates to development. As a Social scientist, Guthrie in his research has made use of natural experiments. Natural experiments are observational studies meaning that the researcher does not influence the social and political world to introduce a "control" and a "treatment." However, in natural experiments, unlike other observational studies, the researcher argue that the subjects assignments of control groups and treatment is random or "as if" random.Social Scientists, like other scientists, apply the scientific method when conducting their research; that simply means they formulate hypotheses based on a particular theory and use replicable and computable techniques when collecting, studying, and analyzing data in an attempt to test whether the theories are useful. The main issues in a scientific approach to culture and behavioral development include selecting a sample, designing a study that taps development in some way, and ensuring that all ethical protections are in place.
The primary way researchers investigate causal connections among factors is with an experiment. An experiment can be carried out in a laboratory, in the field or, in a natural situation. In a laboratory experiment, the researcher controls the factors that may have an effect on the variable that they have an interest in, and therefore, it allows them to come up with conclusions about the cause and effect depending on the results obtained. In a field experiment, investigators deliberately introduce a change, called a manipulation in a person's normal environment and then they calculate the effect of their manipulation. However, for practical or ethical reasons, the researcher may not be able to introduce changes into the natural world. In these instances, he or she may conduct a natural experiment, in which he or she measures the effect of changes or events that take place in the real-world. Unlike a laboratory or field experiment, the participants of research are not arbitrarily assigned to experimental conditions. As an alternative, the researcher selects the group to study because the group is already exposed to a particular set of conditions that the researcher is interested in.