Child Development 133 (03, 04,
72, 73 & 74)
Research Methods in Human Development

Hembree            Spring, 2013

The Research Process


I. The Scientific Method

A. Goals of Behavioral Science

1) Describe



2) Explain



3) Predict



B.  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




C. The scientific method and research articles





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 in research:

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





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





For Discussion:

Consider how you might determine the effects of extra sleep on exam performance using the scientific method? What would each step look like?  









Send problems, comments or suggestions to:

California State University, Sacramento

College of Education

Department of Child Development

Updated: January 25, 2013

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