Child Development 133 (01 & 02)
Research Methods in Human Development

Hembree            Fall, 2013


Research Project

This assignment is designed to give you the opportunity to engage in experimental research. Through the course of the project you will work with others to plan and implement an experimental procedure, and collect, analyze, and report data. 

The class will be divided into research teams of approximately 5 students to conduct experimental studies with fellow classmates as subjects. Together, each team will plan the project, design measures, analyze the data and present the study's findings in poster format on the last day of class. Final reports, written either individually or in pairs using the format listed below, are due by Dec 18th (finals week). I am happy to read an early draft of your paper to provide feedback if it is given to me on or before Dec 2nd.

Steps to Completion:



1) As a group, meet to select a topic for an experimental study.  Conduct library research on the topic. Read and share relevant articles.  As a group, discuss your hypotheses and consider how you might test them. Define your variables and discuss how you manipulate/measure them. Complete Worksheet I (Homework #2) in class. Group meeting 10/2

Worksheet due 10/7

2) As a group, plan your experimental procedure.  This may include scripts of instructions for participants as well as the data collection procedures you plan to employ (i.e., what procedure will you use to collect data?).  Complete Worksheet II and prepare any materials you will need to conduct your study (part of Homework #4).


Worksheet due 10/21

3) Conduct your study with your classmates as subjects. 


11/4 & 11/6
4) Conduct appropriate descriptive statistics (usually means and standard deviations) and inferential tests (usually t-tests or Chi-square).  Complete Worksheet III (Homework # 6)


worksheet due 11/20
5) Share results in the group and develop poster presentation for last day of class. poster session 12/11
5) Write up your study report using the format below. This may be done individually or with a partner after sharing statistical results. 


Early draft of final paper due on or before 12/2 (optional, but encouraged)

Final Paper Due Wed 12/18

Paper Format

Your 9 -12 page report should include the following sections, written in APA style (see Leary Chapter 16 and your Szuchman text for more information about the format of your paper):

Title Page (don't forget running head)

Abstract  - a summary of your study (100 words) - on separate page

Introduction (2-3 pages)

This is essentially a 2-3 page "argument" for your study question. State the general purpose of the study, then review relevant literature to support your research question, ending with the study you are replicating.  You may cite the same studies that the authors cite in the replication study, and make the same points that the authors make to justify your study, but be careful to use your own words and cite appropriately. Cite at least three empirical articles to support your question and cite only articles you have actually read. At the end of the introduction, summarize the study you are replicating, then state your research question and the hypothesis/hypotheses you are testing.

Method (2-3 pages)

Include sections for participants, measures/materials (if applicable) and procedure.  Be sure to go into as much detail as necessary so that someone else could replicate your procedure. Include your materials in an appendix, if applicable.

Results  (1-2 pages, including table)

Report descriptive statistics, and refer to a table that includes means/standard deviations. Then, restate your hypothesis, what test you conducted to test the hypothesis, the results of that test, and whether or not it supports your hypothesis. Be sure to use APA style in reporting statistics and in creating your table. Do not report raw data or frequency tables, only summary statistics and results of inferential stats.

Discussion (2-3 pages)

Restate the results, then discuss what they mean, with reference to past literature on the subject (i.e., how do your results relate to previous research on the topic - research you discussed in your introduction). What conclusions can you draw from your results? If your results are consistent with the study you replicated, then you may make conclusions similar to the researchers' conclusions. If you had non-significant or contradictory results, explain why you think this is so (e.g., sample not similar, slight changes in procedure, not enough subjects, etc.). Finally, make suggestions for future research on the topic. Be sure to discuss and cite previous research in this section.

References (new page; should match what is cited, in APA style)


A portion of your grade will be based on APA style, grammar, and organization and 10 points will be assigned to your poster presentation.

Total points: 75 for paper + 10 for poster presentation = 85 points



Send problems, comments or suggestions to:

California State University, Sacramento

College of Education

Child Development

Updated: August 25, 2013

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