An etic study is a research approach which is cross-cultural in that it is conducted from the perspective across various cultures to learn about the universality of behaviors. It is a 'culturally neutral' research method that differs from emic research in which the focus is one single culture and involves looking at behaviors of a group from the perspective of one member of that group.
An etic study is behavioral research approached across different cultures in order to learn about the universality of behaviors. Both types of studies are common in social sciences and can be used in conjunction with each other. An example of an etic study would be looking at perceptions of threats in humans cross-culturally by showing them a slideshow containing photos of snakes, spiders, and tall heights which are universal fears across the globe.