Child Development 133 
Research Methods in Human Development

Sections 02 & 06
Hembree            Fall, 2009


  Exam Guide #2

Check out the exam handout for more information about the exam (10/27).
Revised 10/22/09


Terms from previous exam (extra credit):
conceptual/operational; definition of constructs

reliability and validity (and reliability vs. validity)
purpose of each section of research paper

Qualitative Research (Supplementary Reading #2)
Qualitative versus quantitative approaches (advantages and disadvantages)
when qualitative methods are appropriate
field observation
Grounded theory
Action Research
strengths and weaknesses of qualitative methods
methods for qualitative research (e.g., observation, focus groups/interviews)

Introduction to Experimentation (Ch. 8)
internal and external validity
Types of manipulation (environmental, instructional, invasive)
Pilot studies, manipulation checks
types of variation (error, systematic etc.)
sources of error and ways to reduce
confounds/extraneous variables
threats to internal validity (and how related to developmental studies): history, maturation, etc
importance of experimental control (why important?)
experimental group/control group
random assignment vs. random sampling
selection of participants
experimenter effects (experimenter characteristics, experimenter expectancies)
participant characteristics (demand characteristics, response bias)
ways to reduce error and increase experimental control (random assignment, elimination of unwanted variables,  constancy, counterbalancing)
double blind experiments
placebo effect

External validity, generalizability ( Brown et al. (generalizability) supplementary reading) :
external validity
ecological validity
conceptual and exact replication and importance of replication in science
relative benefits of lab and field studies

types of generalization (e.g., population, setting, time of interest)
threats to external validity (based on methods and participants)
ways to improve external validity and why/when should we bother?


Descriptive Statistics (Ch. 5)
descriptive vs. inferential statistics
measures of central tendency (mean, median, mode)
variability (range, variance, standard deviation)
variance (s2) and standard deviation (s) -
: be able to compute and explain, formula provided
frequency distributions
pictorial representations of data (histograms, bar graphs, frequency polygons)

Correlational Designs (Ch. 6, 7)
correlational studies vs. experiments
problems with correlations (restricted range, outliers, lack of reliability, correlation vs. causation)
correlation coefficients - be able to interpret
positive, negative (inverse) relationships
correlation vs. causation and third variables
partial correlations
coefficient of determination
regression analysis
/multiple regression
multiple correlation coefficient (R) and percent variance accounted for (R2) in regression analysis
outcome/predictor variables

Short Essay

One of the following questions will be selected for the essay portion of the exam.

  1. Consider the following study:

A social psychologist wants to investigate whether a particular intervention is successful in helping children's social skills, skills that may help them to form and keep friendships in the classroom. She recruits two 4th grade classrooms at a local school. In one class, she receives the teacher's permission to hold a series of fun role-playing sessions designed to expose children to important social skills. The other 4th grade class receives no such training. At the end of the intervention period, she tests the children's social skills in both classrooms with an hour-long battery of tests of social skills. One class is tested before lunch, and the other is tested after lunch, on the same day. The children in the intervention classroom show significantly higher scores on the battery of tests. She concludes that her intervention works to improve the 4th graders' social skills.

  Write an essay addressing the following questions:

  •  Identify the independent and dependent variable in the study. 

  • What is internal validity and what threats to internal validity are present in the study as it has been conducted?

  • Can the researcher conclude that her intervention helped the children (why or why not?) What extraneous variables has the researcher failed to control for?  How could the study be re-designed to reduce the effects of these variables?

  1. Consider the following research question:

An educational psychologist believes that parental involvement in children’s schooling improves student academic performance. Specifically, she believes that when parents supervise their child’s homework and check it for accuracy, there will be better student grades.

Design two studies that test this question: one that is correlational and one that is experimental. Include a brief description of the measures you would use and be sure to identify the independent and dependent variables, if applicable. What is the difference between these two studies in what they allow you to conclude about the relationship between parental involvement and academic performance? What are the advantages and disadvantages of these two different designs? 




Send problems, comments or suggestions to:

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

Updated: August, 2009