John Howard Griffin's story engaged in explanatory research. "Explanatory research aims to explain human behaviour"ÃÂ Mr. Griffin wanted to further find out how whites treated blacks. He used the sociological perspective and a macro structural approach in his research. John Howard Griffin's research question was whether blacks were treated differently based on their skin color or was this treatment justified by their mental capacity. He wanted to discover what it was like to be a black person, judged only on the basis of his skin color and not his inner self. He also wanted to further probe the reason for the high suicide tendency in the black community.
In his research design, Mr. Griffin defined his dependant variables as the treatment of blacks by whites and the high suicide tendencies of blacks. His independent variable was the color of his skin, black. He based much of his preliminary work on his own intuition and what he heard from other people.
His interest was also sparked by a report that looked at high suicide tendencies in black communities. This may be considered as a literature review. As his research method, he decided to use complete participant observation by coloring his white skin black and becoming a "member"ÃÂ of the black community. His data was collected from a sample of the black population.