Child Development 133 
Research Methods in Human Development

Sections 02 & 06
Hembree            Fall, 2009



Final grades 1/7/10






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Course Description

The course is an introduction to research methods used to understand processes of child development. Content includes framework and methodology of research, concepts associated with experimental, correlational, and qualitative designs, various techniques used to collect data, and basic statistical concepts. Emphasis will be placed on developing skills needed to locate, understand, critique, and report research findings. Students also will conduct and present group research projects. Requirements include readings, active participation in classroom activities and discussion, written assignments, exams, and a group research project/presentation. The prerequisite course is CHDV 30 (or the equivalent).

   Course Objectives
In this course students will:

  • Gain an understanding of general research concepts and the various designs employed to address different research questions 
  • Learn basic APA style conventions, including APA style citations and references 
  • Learn skills related to writing APA style research reports 
  • Develop skills needed to critically evaluate social scientific research  
  • Gain an understanding of basic statistical concepts relevant to social scientific research 
  • Gain an understanding of different methods (e.g., observational) used in the systematic study of human behavior  
  • Learn skills related to computer-assisted database research and information competency 









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Class Meetings/Office Hours:

Class Meetings:

SECTION 02: Tu/Th 9:00 – 10:15  Eureka Hall 106
Tu/Th 12:00 – 1:15  Douglas Hall 106A


Instructor Office hours:

Wed  11:45 – 12:45; 1:30 – 2:30  (or by appointment)









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Required Reading 

The following texts are required.

Introduction to Behavioral Research Methods (2004), 4th Edition. Mark R. Leary. Note: Using the 5th edition is acceptable, but not necessary; instructor will be using the older (2004) edition.  

Mastering APA Style: Student’s Workbook and Training Guide, Sixth Edition. American Psychological Association 

Additional supplementary readings are required.  These are listed on the course schedule and pdf files can be accessed with a password available from the instructor.













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The following assignments are required (click on the yellow links for detailed handouts):

1) Homework Assignments  (75 points) - A portion of your grade is determined by the completion of several homework assignments. Descriptions and due dates for each assignment are listed on the course web page. Homework assignments are accepted DURING CLASS TIME ONLY on the date they are due. No late homework will be accepted.

2) Exams (150 points) - There will be three non-cumulative exams, each worth 50 points (out of a total of 350 for the semester). Exams will cover readings, lectures, and class activities, and will include multiple choice, short answer and essay questions, as well as statistical problems. A study guide will be posted on the course web page one week prior to each exam.

3) Summary/Critique Papers (50 points) -Two 3-4 page summaries of empirical articles are required. Papers include a summary of the introduction, method, results, and discussion sections of the article, as well as an evaluation of the article’s strengths and weaknesses. You may re-write your first summary paper in order to improve your grade.  

4) Research Project (75 points) - The class will be divided into research teams of 4-5 students to conduct experimental studies with classmates as subjects. Together, each team will analyze the data for their project and present the study's findings in poster format on the last day of class. Final reports, written either individually or with a research partner, are due by Tuesday, December 15th (finals week). I am happy to read a draft of your paper to provide feedback if it is given to me by December














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Grades are based on the percentage of points earned (out of a possible 350). Points are assigned in the following manner:


Homework/ Discussion (21.5%)

 75 points

Exams (43% - 3 @ 50 pts ea)

150 points

Summary/Critique Papers (14% - 2 @ 25 pts ea)

  50 points

Research Project Paper/Presentation (21.5%)

  75 points


350 points

Typically, 94% earns an 'A', 84% a 'B', and 74% a 'C' (with + and - grades earned at intermediate percentages). However, I reserve the right to adjust this scale as needed, based on student performance.












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Additional Policies  

  • Students are expected to practice academic honesty in completing assignments and cheating or plagiarism will not be tolerated.  Academic dishonesty may result in an ‘F’ for the assignment and/or the course.  

  • Students are responsible for knowing when assignments are due.  All due dates are listed on the course schedule on the course web page. Late assignments will not receive full credit with 5% of the total points possible deducted for each day the assignment is late.  Homework assignments will ONLY be accepted in person during the class session in which they are due. 

  • Please refrain from engaging in distracting activities during class time.  This includes cell phone use/texting, talking with classmates, tardiness/leaving early, and/or use of laptops except for the purposes of taking class notes. 

  • There will be no extra credit offered in this course. Extra credit is not necessary to earn an A in the course.   

  • Incomplete ('I') grades are not assigned UNLESS there is a compelling reason to do so. An incomplete will be assigned ONLY upon consultation with instructor. 

  • There are no scheduled make-up exams. If there is a scheduling problem, you must speak with me prior to the (day of the) exam. The only valid excuses for missing an exam are: (a) official University business, (b) illness, or (c) family emergency. All of these require documentation (e.g., letter from doctor) to be valid. 

Please note: I wish to include persons with disability in this course. Please let me know ( if there are any accommodations I can make in curriculum, instruction, or assessment to facilitate your full participation. 

 If you have any questions about these policies, please see the instructor.



















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Child Development Program Goals

1. Students will learn research and theory to increase their knowledge of growth and development in the following areas:

  • major milestones of development from infancy to adulthood

  • acquisition and use of language in monolingual, bidialectic and second language learners

  •  biological influences on development

  •  social influences on development

  •  individual variation

  •  major social issues confronting children and their families

2. Students will apply theory and research to describe, analyze, and reflect upon children’s and parent’s cultural practices and experiences in both formal (e.g. schools, daycare) and informal (e.g. family, social) contexts.

3. Students will employ techniques of observation and assessment using a variety of methods.  

4. Students will develop and maintain positive attitudes towards diversity (.i.e. cultural, ethnic, gender, social, disability, linguistic)

5. Students will develop discipline-based written communication skills.

6. Students will analyze and critique written materials related to child development using tools and processes widely recognized in the discipline.

7. Students will demonstrate practices and understandings of professional responsibility in  both academic and applied child development contexts.

8. Students will use technology for purposes of augmenting discipline-based knowledge and inquiry.

9. Students will participate in varied field experiences that are mediated using theory, concepts, and research that has been validated using established discipline-based tools and practices.

10. Students will participate in a learning community that facilitates collaboration with peers and faculty.



Send problems, comments or suggestions to:

California State University, Sacramento

College of Education

Department of Child Development

Updated: August, 2009

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