Child Development 133 
Research Methods in Human Development

Sections 04, 68 & 69
Hembree            Spring, 2011


The Research Process


I. 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



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:

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




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



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?  




Send problems, comments or suggestions to:

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

Updated: January, 2011