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

Hembree            Spring, 2013



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Course Description

The course is an introduction to research methods used to understand processes of child development. Students will work to understand readings of selected topics in human development research. Content will include the consideration of the framework and methodology of quantitative research. Emphasis will be on increasing students' ability to locate, understand, critique and report research findings. Discussion and participation in such classroom activities as small group presentations and cooperative learning assignments. Note: For CHDV majors, must be taken prior to completion of 90 units. Prerequisite: CHDV 30 or CHDV 35, completion of 45 total units of credit.

   Course Objectives
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of general research concepts and the various designs employed to address different research questions ;

  • Use basic APA style conventions, including APA style citations and references;
  • Show skills related to writing APA style research reports and critiques of research articles;
  • Demonstrate an ability to read critically and evaluate social scientific research;  
  • Show  understanding of basic statistical concepts relevant to social scientific research;
  • Show an understanding of different methods (e.g., observational, interview) used in the systematic study of human behavior; 
  • Demonstrate computer-assisted database research and information competency 









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Class Meetings/Office Hours:

Class Meetings:

Section 04: M/W 10:30 - 11:45 am  AcRC 1010

Section 03: M/W 3:00 - 4:15 pm  EUR 111

Sections 72-74 meet off campus

Instructor Office hours:

Mondays 1:00-2:30

Tuesdays 10:30 - 12:00 (or by appointment)
232 Brighton Hall; 278-4365









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Required Reading 

The following texts are required.

Introduction to Behavioral Research Methods (2012), 6th Edition. Mark R. Leary.

Writing With Style: APA Style Made Easy, Fifth Edition. Szuchman

Additional supplementary readings are required.  These are listed on the course schedule and pdf files can be accessed with a password available from the instructor.

Please bring a copy of the text and/or copy of the assigned reading when noted on the course schedule












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The following assignments are required (click on the red links for detailed handouts):

1) Homework Assignments  (65 points) - A portion of your grade is determined by completion of several homework assignments. Descriptions and due dates for each assignment are listed on the course web page. Homework assignments are accepted DURING CLASS TIME ONLY on the date they are due. No late homework will be accepted.

2) Exams (150 points) - There will be three non-cumulative exams, each worth 50 points (out of a total of 350 for the semester). Exams will cover readings, lectures, and class activities, and will include multiple choice, short answer and essay questions, as well as statistical problems. A study guide will be posted on the course web page one week prior to each exam.

3) Summary/Critique Papers (50 points) -Two 3-4 page summaries of empirical articles are required. Papers include a summary of the introduction, method, results, and discussion sections of the article, as well as an evaluation of the article’s strengths and weaknesses. You may re-write your first summary paper (once) in order to improve your grade. Rewrites are due prior to the second paper's due date.

4) Research Project (85 points) - The class will be divided into research teams of 4-5 students to conduct experimental studies with classmates as subjects. Together, each team will analyze the data for their project and present their study's findings in poster format on the last day of class. Final reports, written either individually or with a research partner, are due by December 12th (finals week). I am happy to read a draft of your paper to provide feedback if it is given to me by Monday, November 26th.













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Grades are based on the percentage of points earned (out of a possible 350). Points are assigned in the following manner:


Homework/ Discussion (19%)

 65 points

Exams (43% - 3 @ 50 pts ea)

150 points

Summary/Critique Papers (14% - 2 @ 25 pts ea)

  50 points

Research Project Paper/Presentation (24%)

  85 points


350 points

Typically, 94% earns an 'A', 84% a 'B', and 74% a 'C' (with + and - grades earned at intermediate percentages). However, I reserve the right to adjust this scale as needed, based on student performance.












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Additional Policies  

  • Although attendance will not be taken or a participation grade assigned, to do well in this course requires your attendance AND active participation! You are expected to attend class sessions, and to have read the assigned reading before class sessions in order to be ready to participate fully in the class. Please note that I will accept homework assignments ONLY DURING CLASS SESSIONS on the day they are due. You must be present in class in order to turn in your homework.
  • Students are expected to practice academic honesty in completing assignments and cheating or plagiarism will not be tolerated.  Academic dishonesty may result in an ‘F’ for the assignment and/or the course.  

  • Students are responsible for knowing when assignments are due.  All due dates are listed on the course schedule on the course web page. Late assignments will not receive full credit with 5% of the total points possible deducted for each day the assignment is late.  Homework assignments will ONLY be accepted in person during the class session in which they are due. 

  • Please refrain from engaging in distracting activities during class time.  This includes cell phone use/texting, talking with classmates, tardiness/leaving early, and/or use of laptops except for the purposes of taking class notes. 

  • There will be no extra credit offered in this course. Extra credit is not necessary to earn an A in the course.   

  • Incomplete ('I') grades are not assigned UNLESS there is a compelling reason to do so. An incomplete will be assigned ONLY upon consultation with instructor. 

  • There are no scheduled make-up exams. If there is a scheduling problem, you must speak with me prior to the (day of the) exam. The only valid excuses for missing an exam are: (a) official University business, (b) illness, or (c) family emergency. All of these require documentation (e.g., letter from doctor) to be valid. 

  • I wish to include persons with disability in this course. Please let me know ( if there are any accommodations I can make in curriculum, instruction, or assessment to facilitate your full participation. 

 If you have any questions about these policies, please see the instructor.



















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Child Development Program Goals

1. Students will learn research and theory to increase their knowledge of growth and development in the following areas:

  • major milestones of development from infancy to adulthood

  • acquisition and use of language in monolingual, bidialectic and second language learners

  •  biological influences on development

  •  social influences on development

  •  individual variation

  •  major social issues confronting children and their families

2. Students will apply theory and research to describe, analyze, and reflect upon children’s and parent’s cultural practices and experiences in both formal (e.g. schools, daycare) and informal (e.g. family, social) contexts.

3. Students will employ techniques of observation and assessment using a variety of methods.  

4. Students will develop and maintain positive attitudes towards diversity (.i.e. cultural, ethnic, gender, social, disability, linguistic)

5. Students will develop discipline-based written communication skills.

6. Students will analyze and critique written materials related to child development using tools and processes widely recognized in the discipline.

7. Students will demonstrate practices and understandings of professional responsibility in  both academic and applied child development contexts.

8. Students will use technology for purposes of augmenting discipline-based knowledge and inquiry.

9. Students will participate in varied field experiences that are mediated using theory, concepts, and research that has been validated using established discipline-based tools and practices.

10. Students will participate in a learning community that facilitates collaboration with peers and faculty.



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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