Child Development 133 
Research Methods in Human Development

Sections 04, 68, & 69
Hembree           Spring, 2011


Study Guide - Exam #1

Check out the
exam handout for more information about the first exam (2/21).

revised 2/17/11

Science and the Scientific Method (Ch. 1):
ways of knowing (tenacity, authority, logic, common sense, science)
steps in the scientific method
goals of science
importance of objectivity, replication in science
basic/applied/evaluation research
developmental research
what science can and cannot address
parts of a research article (intro, method, etc.)
theory/Functions of theory & models in research
sources for research ideas/questions (gap in knowledge, contradictory results, need to explain finding as sources of hypotheses)
hypothesis/characteristics of a good hypothesis (e.g., falsifiability)
deduction and induction (and how related to theory & hypotheses)
basic differences between different research designs (descriptive, experimental, correlational, quasi--experimental, developmental)

Variance (Ch. 2)
connection between behavioral variability and the research process
mean and variance (conceptually and statistically - formula provided)
systematic vs. error variance
variables: independent, dependent, extraneous, nuisance

Measurement (Ch. 3 and 4)
constructs, variables
conceptual and operational definitions

validity and reliability
measurement error
scales of measurement (nominal, ordinal etc.)
validity of measures (face, construct, predictive) and how to evaluate
measure reliability and how to evaluate (test-retest, split-half, observer agreement; inter-item)
ways to increase reliability
methods for collecting data (report, observation, performance, physiological…)
advantages and disadvantages of using different measures
bias in measurement
issues related to choosing a setting for research (naturalness vs. control)
observational methods (narrative record, time sampling, checklists, event sampling, ratings)
participant observation (advantages and disadvantages)
field notes
advantages/problems with report measures (e.g., bias)
social desirability/ nay-saying response biases
questionnaires vs. interview (advantages, disadvantages)
tips for writing good interview questions
physiological techniques
archival research
content analysis

Descriptive Research (Ch. 5 pp. 109-126; Supplementary Reading #2)
types of descriptive research (survey, demographic, epidemiological) 
sample vs. population
sampling error/margin of error
probability sampling (simple random, stratified random)/advantages of probability sampling
problem of nonresponse
nonprobability sampling (convenience sample, purposive sampling)
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)


Short Essay

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

1)   What does it mean to take a scientific approach to the study of human behavior and development?  Specifically, how is science different from other “ways of knowing” (e.g., tenacity, etc). What goals do scientists have in studying behavior? Describe the scientific method and give an example of how it might be used to study the effects of caffeine on exam performance.  

2)   Describe the criteria scientists use to evaluate a measure (reliability, validity)What procedures do scientists use to establish that these criteria have been met? Now, imagine that you want to develop an index of “happiness”. How might you go about doing this and how would you ensure that your measure was both reliable and valid?

3)   Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using different data collection methods, including observation, report (interview and questionnaire), and physiological methods. How does one decide which method to use (i.e., what should be taken into consideration in choosing a method)?



Send problems, comments or suggestions to:

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

Updated: January, 2011