Child Development 133 
Research Methods in Human Development

Sections 02 & 06
Hembree            Fall, 2009

 

The Research Process

 

  I.  The Scientific Approach

A. Science as a "way of knowing"

1) Tenacity

   

 

Problems?

2) Authority

 

 

Problems?

             3) Reason/logic 

 

Problem?

4) Common sense 

 

                    Problem?

 

                         5) Science  

  • Systematic empiricism

 

  • Public verification

 

  • Solvable problems

 

 

B. Science and non-science – or what science can and cannot do…

   

 

 

C. Physical vs. behavioral sciences  

 

 

 

II. The Scientific Method

A. Systematic process....

1.  State the problem/question (theory or practical problem)  

  • formulate a hypothesis?

 

 

2.  Select participants and setting

 

 

3.  Conduct experiment/study/observation (gather data)

 

 

4.  Determine effect of one variable on other/relationship between variables (Conduct statistical tests ) OR describe systematically

 

 

5. Generalize/explain findings

   

 

B. Goals of Behavioral Science

1) Describe

 

 

2) Explain

 

 

3) Predict

 

 

For Discussion:

Consider how you might study a behavior of interest using the scientific method.  For example, how would you determine the effects of extra sleep on exam performance?  

 

III. Developing and Defining Research Questions and Hypotheses

  A. Where do research ideas come from?

 1. Interest

 

 

 2. Previous research

a) a gap in knowledge 

 

 

 

b) explaining contradictory results 

 

 

 

 

 

c) explaining a finding or "fact"

   

 

 

 

      B. The Role of Theory

1) What theories are...and are not

 

 

2) Theories and models

 

 

   C.  A good hypothesis:

1) is testable 

 

 

2) is precise/simply stated

 

3) is consistent with previous research

 

 

 

4) is 'a priori' (vs. post-hoc) 

 

 

5) should (or can) be stated in a particular form (IF...THEN)

 

 

D.  Inductive vs. deductive logic:

1) inductive logic =  "I wonder what would happen if…"  

 

 

 

2) deductive logic =  "I expect this would happen if…."

   

 

 

 

 

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Send problems, comments or suggestions to: hembrees@csus.edu

California State University, Sacramento
College of Education
Department of Child Development

Updated: August, 2009