PSYCH 2AA3- Child Development
L2- RESEARCH METHODS IN DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY
Basic research Methodology
- Methods of data collection
How can we test whether some variable (ex: attention span) has changed (or not) with age
- Age-related research designs
- 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
- 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
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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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