Child Development 133 
Research Methods in Human Development

Sections 01 & 05
Hembree            Fall, 2012

 

The Research Process

 

I. The Scientific Method

A. Goals of Behavioral Science

1) Describe

 

 

2) Explain

 

 

3) Predict

 

 

B.  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

   

 

 

C. The scientific method and research articles

 

 

 

 

II. 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 in research:

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

 

 

 

 

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

   

 

 

 

For Discussion:

Consider how you might determine the effects of extra sleep on exam performance using the scientific method? What would each step look like?  

 

 

 

 

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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, 2012