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Child Psychology [CHAPTER NOTES] Part 2 - I got a 4.0 in the course

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DEP 3103
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Chapter 2 : Research Methods  Where scientific research starts • Theory → An orderly, integrated set of statements that describes, explains, and predicts behavior → Piaget example ⇒ Children are actively constructing knowledge from the world around them • Research question → A question that specifically states what the researcher will attempt to answer; formed by the “Hm, I wonder what this is asking” → Piaget example ⇒ Are classrooms that are more hands-on/discovering knowledge better for children’s cognitive outcome than traditional classrooms? • Hypothesis → Specific prediction that can be tested → Piaget example ⇒ Discovery classroom will have better cognitive outcomes than a traditional classroom  Researchers choose what and how information will be gathered: • Research methods → What sorts of data will be collected (surveys, questionnaires, etc) • Research designs → Overall plan for the study • Common methods of gathering data → Systematic Observation ⇒ Naturalistic observation – just going out into the “wild” and watching children • Advantage: see everyday behaviors • Disadvantage: circumstances may not allow some opportunity to display behaviors across participants ⇒ Structured observation – taking children into a lab and recreating an environment • Advantage: in lab  greater control • Disadvantage: if you’re manipulating behavior in the lab, is it really the same as everyday behavior? ⇒ Collecting data • Event sampling – all instances of behavior of interest in given time • Time sampling – recording certain behaviors only during specified time intervals ⇒ Limitations • Observer influence – effects of observer on behavior • Observer bias – expectations influence what is seen and recorded → Self-reports: Interviews and Questionnaires ⇒ Unstructured • Clinical interview – conversational, flexible → Advantages ⇒ From individual’s perspective and terms ⇒ A lot of information → Disadvantage ⇒ Different responses due to different interviews or real differences in behavior? ⇒ Accuracy (social desirability, inability to express, vulnerable to distortion) ⇒ Structured • Structured interview – same questions, same way → Advantages ⇒ Less influence of interviewer ⇒ More efficient → Disadvantage ⇒ Less depth of info ⇒ Also affected by inaccurate reading → Neurobiological Methods ⇒ Involuntary activities of autonomic nervous system • Ex. – heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, pupil dilation, electrical conductance of the skin, and stress hormone levels • Highly sensitive to psychological state ⇒ Brain functioning • Various methods described in book (EEG, ERP, PET, fMRI, etc.) ⇒ Strength • Infer the perceptions, thoughts, and emotions of infants and young children • Powerful tools for uncovering relationships between the brain and psychological development ⇒ Limitations • Can’t be sure information was processed in a certain way (big assumption) • Extraneous factors may influence (fear, hunger, etc.) → Case study method ⇒ Strength • Detailed narrative with valuable insights • Good for development of individuals who are few in number but vary widely, e.g. prodigies ⇒ Limitations • Researcher may bias interpretations • Cannot generalize the finds to anyone other than one child → Ethnography : a way to study culture ⇒ Strengths • Detailed understanding of a group ⇒ Limitations • Researcher may bias observations by own cultural values • Findings cannot generalize Quiz Naturalistic Observation: Using this method, researchers observe behavior in natural contexts Structured observation: a strength of this method is that it grants each participant an equal opportunity to display the behavior of interest Clinical interview: this method comes as close as possible to the way participants think in everyday life Structured interview: each participant is asked the same question in the exact same way Neurobiological methods: a limitation of this method is that is cannot reveal with certainty the meaning of autonomic or brain activity Clinical, or case study, method: to fully understand one child’s psychological functioning, this method combines interviews, observations, test scores, and sometimes neurobiological assessments Ethnography: the researcher tries to capture a culture’s unique values and social processes  General research designs • Correlational designs → Tend to be used when not possible or feasible to assign participants to conditions → Look at association between participant characteristics’ and behavior/development
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