Research Manual in Child Development

Research Manual in Child Development

Research Manual in Child Development

Research Manual in Child Development

Excerpt

Goals for this book and its audience remain constant, so some of the earlier preface is repeated in this updated reprint/revision.

Twenty years ago, student demand for research training courses in child development exceeded the supply of such courses. Today, that situation has improved, but not sufficiently. University faculty prefer to teach research by having students act as assistants in faculty research projects. College and Junior College instructors recognize the value of a traditional, comprehensive, hands-on laboratory course, but are reluctant to take on the hassle and workload which, indeed, are formidable: obtaining human subjects review approval, lining up subjects and signed permission slips, choosing projects, preparing lectures, and creating stimuli, instructions, data sheets, collation charts, bibliographies, and choosing appropriate statistics for each project. I can't provide the institutional review board approvals, or the children, but this manual does significantly reduce the “hassle” component and thereby encourage the addition of hands-on research experiences to students' training in child development. Students who have had actual experience with research processes and writing will derive a long-term benefit, regardless of their eventual career choice.

The instructor can use this manual in a variety of ways. I have taught the lab course as an introduction to experimental psychology, as an advanced undergraduate laboratory course, and as an early graduate course. It is not intended as a student do-it-yourself manual; supervision and feedback are crucial. Dedicated teachers are not yet out of style, and individualized attention continues to be the keystone of a superior training experience.

Most programs tend to denigrate the data-collection process. Because our archival journals do not always include sufficient methodological detail to replicate published experiments, the Method sections in this book are meticulously detailed. An insistence on adherence to these details, much practice to establish reliability, and a critical discussion of each methodological detail in class may help to rid students of naive notions of the definition and collection of appropriate data.

The projects that follow are grouped by topics . . .

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