Several transactional scenarios were staged: 1. Students were sent to a nonexistent room for a meeting in a building with a confusing hallway and room numbering system; 2. A valuable item such as a purse, lap top computer, or athletic bag was removed without the students' knowledge and returned after the interaction; 3. A religious person approached the students and asked them to answer questions for a religious survey of college students' attitudes toward religion; and 4. A uniformed delivery person and a nonuniformed person approached the students and asked for directions to a building on campus.
To increase the accuracy of the study, participants were asked to complete a one page checklist immediately following their encounters to record their reactions to the uniformed or nonuniformed person with whom they had just interacted.
When the study was completed, responses were listed in descending order, based on frequency of occurrence. This became the basis for the field study.