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PSYCH 2AA3 (402)


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Jennifer Ostovich

09/09/13 PSYCH 2AA3- Child Development L2- RESEARCH METHODS IN DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY Overview  Basic research Methodology - Methods of data collection  How can we test whether some variable (ex: attention span) has changed (or not) with age (development)? - Age-related research designs Data Collection  Case Studies: - Often use case studies as a starting point, mostly used 100 years ago when they were first starting off - Gives you a lot of info. What they do is give you intense info about 1-3 different people who you study very intensively (Freud did this often; too see how they develop, what their function is, whether treatments cure them or not etc.) - Overall in depth study and info on an individual over a period of time. - Gives a starting point. - Have to be careful when doing a case study because it must be ethical and worth doing. Shouldn’t harm the participants. - Gives you tons of info about your subject but problems occur. For example, we study one person, and you want to say that what you find out about this one person applies to the general population, but this doesn’t occur. It’s just a particular person, but with a study of more subjects, you can develop some kind of consensus and generalized statements about a population. - Studying one person is useful, but not efficient. - Another problem is that it can be bias. The theoretical perspective you take can have a huge impact on your data. o EX: John Money o He studied an individual who was born XY (man), but there was an accident (a circumcision) and so this little person was raised as a girl. John found about this and so he had these theories about gender really is. A lot of people think that your gender is just biologically based (XX or XY) thus you get female or male skills and behaviours. But than at that time, there was another theory, its all a social construct, that boys are raised to be like boys (plays with trucks etc.), nothing to do with biology, and vice versa. o Money though that biological steps were unimportant and that all that mattered was how you are treated. So this kid who was surgically turned into female was raised as a girl by his parents and was watched by Money by the years. And Money kept saying oh yes the child is adapting perfectly to the situation, the child is a normal little girl o Than the child reaches puberty and learns that he’s not a she, he’s a he and that he requires hormones to develop girl features. And he immediately made the decision that he hated being a girl and that he always knew that there was something wrong with him the whole time and that he was miserable his whole life. o Money had this bias all along that the biological sex means nothing, but this was wrong. The kid refuses the hormones and becomes a boy.  Observation Research: - Why do people do this or that? Why can’t this kid pronounce spaghetti properly? Etc. - Observing children tells and gives us a lot of information - When we do observational research we are observing from a far. We are not getting involved. We just watch what are kids are doing at afar. o Ex: going to a children’s playground and think to yourself, well I like to see weather there’s a gender difference in helping behaviour (helping someone get off a slide or monkey bars). And see weather boys or girls are more likely to do this. You write down their behaviour and If you see something cool than you figure out if you can design an experiment or find some type of correlation research to test if its similar to other kids or not  Correlational Research: - If one variable goes with another variable (or a set of variables); two things are related in such way, than they are correlated. EX: does the increase in temperature correlate with the increase in ice cream sales? - When doing correlational studies, often we like to survey people with a questionnaire. - Survey studies are used to find correlation. When studying very young kids, they have a reading ability (can’t read), so they can’t fill out the questionnaire nor would they understand the questions being asked, way to abstract. Thus, you can do structured interviews where you have the survey in front of you and ask the question verbally in a language that they can understand, an appropriate level for them. Might take a while but can get you the answer you need. Or parent, teacher, and peer reports can fill out the survey about the kid. You can even have different people do the surveys and thus see if people agree or disagree about what the kid is like (different perspectives about the personality of the kid, can compare). - The problem of retrospective reports. Sometimes researchers as adults what they were like as a kid, and ask you to fill out the survey as you were 5. The problem is that you were told how you were like by others because you were so young, so you’re doing the survey with the opinions of other, not yours, so it can ultimately be a lie. People’s memory becomes unclear. If its done on time when things are happening, that it’s a really good way of collecting data  Caveat: Causation - Correlation does not mean causation. So you cant say that being agreeable causes you to have friends, because It can be that having friends causes you to be agreeable  Experimental Research - Random Assignment  Causation o In developmental research, it’s not that simple just to say this caused that o If you’re doing a true experiment, than you’re randomly assigning people in the experiment o Random assignment means that everyone has an equal chance of being in any of the conditions in your experiment (like using a coin flip). o So in experimental research we like to randomly assign people because that assignment plus the experimental control where people have the same experiences and adhesion of what they’re doing allows us to make a causal statement. o Everything was the same for all these subjects except for whatever I did to them in the experiment so I know that if there are different in outcomes, than whatever I did to the experiment caused it. o Ex: Bring kids and show some aggressive TV and non aggressive TV and see how they react to the BOGO doll and see whether they act aggressively or not towards th
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