Cross-cultural studies is the third form of cross-cultural comparisons. The first is comparison of case studies, the second is controlled comparison among variants of a common derivation, and the third is comparison within a sample of cases. Unlike comparative studies, which examines similar characteristics of a few societies, cross-cultural studies uses a sufficiently large sample so that statistical analysis can be made to show relationships or lack of relationships between the traits in question. These studies are surveys of ethnographic data.
The first cross-cultural studies were carried out by 19th-century anthropologists such as Edward Burnett Tylor and Lewis H. Morgan. One of Edward Tylor's first studies gave rise to the central statistical issue of cross-cultural studies: Galton's problem. In the recent decades[when?] historians and particularly historians of science started looking at the mechanism and networks by which knowledge, ideas, skills, instruments and books moved across cultures, generating new and fresh concepts concerning the order of things in nature. In Cross-Cultural Scientific Exchanges in the Eastern Mediterranean 1560–1660 Avner Ben-Zaken has argued that cross-cultural exchanges take place at a cultural hazy locus where the margins of one culture overlaps the other, creating a "mutually embraced zone" where exchanges take place on mundane ways. From such a stimulating zone, ideas, styles, instruments and practices move onward to the cultural centers, urging them to renew and update cultural notions.
With the widespread access of people to the Internet and the high influence of online social networks on daily life, users behavior in these websites have become a new resource to perform cross-cultural and comparative studies. A study on Twitter examined the usage of emoticons from users of 78 countries and found a positive correlation between individualism-collectivism dimension of Hofstede's cultural dimensions theory and people's use of mouth-oriented emoticons.
^Avner Ben-Zaken, "From "Incommensurability of Cultures" to Mutually Embraced Zones" in Cross-Cultural Scientific Exchanges In the Eastern Mediterranean 1560-1660 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010)], pp. 163–167. ISBN9780801894763
^Park, Jaram; Baek, Young Min; Cha, Meeyoung (2014-03-19). "Cross-Cultural Comparison of Nonverbal Cues in Emoticons on Twitter: Evidence from Big Data Analysis". Journal of Communication. 64 (2): 333–354. doi:10.1111/jcom.12086. ISSN0021-9916.