Child Development 133 
Research Methods in Human Development

Sections 04, 68 & 69
Hembree            Spring, 2011


Research Project

This assignment will 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 using classmates as subjects. Together, each team will 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 Wednesday, May 18th (finals week). I am happy to read a draft of your paper to provide feedback if it is given to me by May 4th.

PLEASE NOTE: SECTIONS 68 and 69 will have different due dates for assignments. Please check your schedule on WebCT for correct due dates for assignments.

Steps to Completion:


Date due

1) As a group, meet to select a topic for an experimental study.


2) Conduct library research 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.


3) 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 (Homework #3).


2/28 & 3/2

4) Conduct your study with your classmates as subjects. 


3/9 & 3/14
5) Conduct appropriate descriptive statistics (usually means and standard deviations) and inferential tests (usually t-tests or Chi-square).  Complete Worksheet III (Homework# 7)


6) Share results in the group and write up your study (see below).  This may be done individually or with a partner after sharing statistical results. 


Rough draft of final paper due on or before 5/4 (optional, but encouraged)

7) Each group will create a poster presentation summarizing their study (hypotheses, method, results, discussion) 

last day of class

  Final paper due by Wednesday, May 18th 5 pm in BRH 232


Paper Format

Your 10 -12 page report will include the following sections, written in APA style (see Chapter 15 and your writing text for more information about the format of your paper):

Title Page

Abstract  - a summary of your study (100 words)


This is essentially a 2-3 page summary of the relevant parts of the study you are replicating (in your own words). You may cite the same studies that the authors cite, 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 only articles you have actually read. At the end of the introduction, summarize the study you are replicating, then state the hypothesis/hypotheses you are testing.


Include sections for participants, apparatus/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 :

Report descriptive statistics in a table (i.e., means/standard deviations or frequencies). Restate your hypothesis, what test you conducted, the results of that test, and whether it supports your hypothesis. Be sure to use APA style in reporting statistics. 


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.)

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: 65 for paper + 10 for poster presentation = 75 points

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Send problems, comments or suggestions to:

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

Updated: January, 2011