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Child Development 2AA3.docx

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Jennifer Ostovich

Research Methods in Developmental Psychology 9/10/2012 2:04:00 PM Overview Basic research methodology (such as case studies and experiments) o Methods of data collection How can we test whether some variable has changed or not with age? o Age related research designs Data Collection Case studies o This is the most form of research used (ex. Freud used case studies with his patients) o It is the study of one person you want to very intensely study over a period of time o Developmental psychologists use these too o Famous Study: John Money believed that gender as assignable, gender has nothing to do with biology but with culture, someone found a young genetic xy male who was being raised as a female, Money thought his subject been doing fine but he was actually very unhappy, he eventually committed suicide after living 25 years of a man o When you study one person intensely the pitfall is that you see what you want to see however it is an opportunity to gain an important set of data that can be used o Eventually you want to test your theory on other subjects otherwise you cant generalize your findings o Only research that happens with 1-5 people other studies have 30 subjects Observational Research o Example: watch children play and you observe what you see o No one can know that they are being studied o If you go in with an idea of what youre looking for thats the only thing youll see, the data becomes suggestive o Example: going to a park to note aggression between male and females o You can take the theory and test it out in a lab to gain concrete evidence Correlational Research o Example: looking at personality and behaviour and seeing if any of them match together (how happy a kid is with how theyre personality is) o It is showing whether two variables have a relationship o Survey studies: Obtain a lot of data from around the subject and look for patterns Ex. extroverted kids may have more fun than introverted kids Reading ability? Can the subjects actually be able to fill out of the survey properly, if they are too young you can do alternate things You can use a structured interview: take the survey and sit with the kid and ask the question Parent, teacher, and parent reports (getting information without seeing the child face to face, you can also look at correlations between what the child said and the parents said) Peer reports: go into a classroom who can fill out a survey regarding their personality, also a teacher and parent report, and then you also get the kids to list the most popular kids in class and the most shy lists The problem of retrospective reports Asking personal questions about when people started noticing things about themselves, they end up ball parking it and it proves to be inaccurate memory bias occurs when you ask older people what they were like when they were young Adults also present a self presentation bias we tend to report things to make ourselves look better Caveat: Causation o These all contribute to the problem of having an observation or relationship with variable o These observations may be important but you cannot know that two variables are the cause of one another Experiments o Watch people behave after having done something to them such as manipulating a variable (called the independent) to see how they react o Example: how does incentives affect how children perform doing puzzles o IV: incentive o Random assignment allows us to make casual statements When you randomly start assigning things and do it numerous amounts, the groups end up being the same You either assign the child to get candy afterwards or you dont (this is random assignment) o But what cant we randomly assign? Age children at different ages mean that theyre different, with random assignment you dont compare the same thing Primary interest cannot be randomly assigned Types of experiments o Lab expts Random assignment o Field expts Random assignment o Quasi expts (in lab or field) Random assignment not possible on at least one variable (such as age) Must be very carful with interpretation Research Design Three main designs for studying age effects o Cohorts: groups of people who have different intellectual experiences (ex people who are born around the same time, share the same experiences during the same period of their lives) Must be careful when looking at data because the reason for difference in data might be become of cohort o Cross sectional o Longitudinal o Sequential Each design can use any data collection method o Usually correlational or quasi-experimental Cross-Sectional Designs Testing subjects at one particular time Example: does attention span increase as people get older? Comparing subjects across different ages but the same number and comparing them Pros: o quick, cheap o demonstrate age differences (it will show you the differences between age groups) Cons: o cohort effect (kids with different historic experiences are being compared with one another, you do not know if what you found is as a result of the variable that you think it could be about development or when people were born) o Can say nothing about how development occurs eg. continuous or discontinuous You dont know what each kid has had very slow increases of attention span it could be continuous or discontinuous Longitudinal Design Also called prospective studies you follow people for long periods of time, take the same groups of people and measure them during various times - the year of testing increases as you measure over time Pros: o tells us about developmental course because we are following the same people we can see continuity and discontinuity can reveal between early experience and later outcomes
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