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

Hembree            Spring, 2013

Descriptive and Qualitative Research

I. Intro - Descriptive research

A. Goal: Systematically describe and/or explore phenomenon




B.  Types of Descriptive Research

1. Quantitative Survey research




  • Demographic research




  • Epidemiological research





2. Qualitative research





II. Sampling issues in Quantitative Research

A. Sample vs. population




B. Sampling error

  • an example from the presidential election...



C. Probability vs. nonprobability sampling




D. Probability sampling techniques

1. Simple random sampling




2. stratified sampling




3. cluster sampling





E. Nonprobability sampling

1.  convenience sample




2. quota/purposive sample







III. Qualitative Designs

A.     Qualitative vs. quantitative

1.  Description vs. Numerical


2.   “How” (process) vs. “what” (result)


3.   naturalistic vs. controlled


4.   theory-building vs. theory-testing


5.   depth vs. breadth


6.   combining these approaches


B.     When are qualitative methods appropriate?




C.     Special Considerations

1. role of participant/relations with participants




2. sampling and setting




3. Strengths and weaknesses of Qualitative designs




D. Qualitative Approaches

 1. Naturalistic observation/Ethnography



2. Ethnomethodology



3. Grounded theory



  4.  Case studies



  5.   Action research




E. Qualitative data collection techniques

1. Observation/Field Notes






2. Interviews





3.  Focus Groups





4. Documents





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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