The chapters in this volume evolved from oral presentations given at the Tenth West Virginia University Conference on Life-Span Developmental Psychology, held in Morgantown, West Virginia, on April 24-26, 1986. Unforeseen circumstances delayed preparation of the volume, but the delays permitted further discussions among the authors and several significant updatings and revisions of the papers, ending in the summer of 1993. Thus, in the years since the conference, the presentations have been revised and polished, and the chapters that finally emerged reflect thinking current as of the summer of 1993. The chapters deal with research philosophy, design, and methodology for the study of life-span development.
Methodology has been a familiar theme in the West Virginia life-span conferences. The first conference, chaired by Larry R. Goulet and Paul B. Baltes, established a framework for examining conceptual and methodological issues in life-span research. Specific prescriptions and proscriptions in methodology, as applied to developmental research paradigms, were presented at the third conference, chaired by John R. Nesselroade and Hayne W. Reese. Several of the other conferences have also featured problematic aspects of developmental research strategy and design. In the present volume, based on the auspicious tenth anniversary conference, many of these same topics are revisisted, revised, and rethought.
Four themes that highlighted this revisitation had emerged by the end of the conference and are discussed in the present volume: First, models of data and their implication for theory and metatheory lie at the conceptual foundation of methodology. Second, developmental designs from their original basis in life-span research are subjected to a re-examination by