Child Development 133 (7):
Research Methods in Human Development
Professor Karen Davis O'Hara

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

Spring 2004






Why take this course


Benefits of Online Learning

Successful Student Characteristics


Course schedule

Catalog Description: Research in Human Development. Understanding readings of selected topics in human development research. Content will include the consideration of the framework and methodology of 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.

Prerequisites: Child Development 30; Must be taken prior to or concurrent with CHDV 131, CHDV 132, CHDV 135, CHDV 137, CHDV 138, FACS/COMS 108, FACS 154.

Number of Units: 3

View the course schedule



Why take this course

 Research Methods is a foundation course in the child development major. This means not only that students must take the course early on in their academic career, but that it provides students with essential knowledge and skills that will be required through the remainder of their courses in child development. I hold three primary goals for students in this class: 1) to become informed and effective consumers of research material, 2) to learn to locate, analyze and write research reports, and 3) to understand the process through which research is developed, conducted, and disseminated, including the factors which impact the credibility and validity of research reports.


Students will need an electronic mail account and computer access to the Web. All CSUS students enrolled in one or more units can create a SacLink account for electronic mail and Internet services. Although a home computer with a high speed modem running Netscape or Internet Explorer would be beneficial, students can use the Web from one of the campus student labs. Check out Computer Hardware Recommendations for CSU, Sacramento Students for more information about equipment.

Computing Recommendations

Comfortable using the computer and browsing the Web

Windows compatible Pentium running Windows NT,or Windows 95/98 or Macintosh compatible with System 8

32M RAM (preferably 64M)

28.8K or faster modem - preferably 56K

Microsoft Internet Explorer or NetScape 4.0 (or higher)

SacLink or other Internet Account

Word processing skills

Online class participation on the Web assignments and electronic discussions.

Benefits of Online Learning

  • Enhanced Learning: Time saved traveling to and from campus (and looking for parking) can be redirected to learning!
  • Increased Interaction with Classmates: Web-based communication tools can actually increase interaction among students by permitting group work that would be difficult to arrange if students had to meet in the same place at the same time.
  • Virtual Office Hours: Electronic communication between students and the instructor can actually increase the degree of our interaction, since you can e-mail me at your convenience, rather than find time to get to my office or reach me by phone.
  • The Web's the Limit (not the instructor): The World Wide Web has a wealth of resources from which you can learn a great deal more than I can teach you. Everywhere, the role of the faculty is being reconceptualized as that of "coach" rather than "instructor". Students are perfectly suited to take advantage of coaching to get out of the course what will be of most value to them.
  • Electronic Competency on the Job: The competence in dealing with electronic environments that you develop in this course will be of great value to you in your workplace.

Successful Student Characteristics

  • Discipline to complete projects by deadlines instead of waiting until the end of the semester.
  • Motivation to read, write, and particpate fully in class activities.
  • Time to devote approximately 9 hours a week to a 3-credit course.
  • Ability to work independently and in teams.
  • Flexibility in dealing with technology problems. 


 More information is available on Dr. Davis O'Hara's homepage. You may contact the instructor via e-mail at


Send problems, comments or suggestions to:

California State University, Sacramento
Child Development Department
College of Education

Updated: January 22, 2004