1 - SCIENTIFIC METHOD READING

1 - SCIENTIFIC METHOD READING - “ma-arm. - A. : .. . ._ ....

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Unformatted text preview: “ma-arm. - A. : .. . ._ . ._,,,__ .. .22 :‘1' ,r— _. 20 H U MAN l‘) EV E l...( ) l‘ MEN T: A lN'l‘l-LGRNFE D STU 1) Y O F THE Ll SPAN standing as well as their lack of understanding about relationships between objects and the world. When compared to adults, young children appear to have cognitive limitations. In fact, these are not deficiencies but differences in the cog nitive structures adults and children use. Unlike adults, children may see things only from their own point ot‘view {egocentrism}, or they may focus on only one relationship at a time (centration). In the child‘s experience, things “on” some“ thing else are usually related. in a particular way. Therefore, their houses sit flat on the ground and their chimneys rise perpendicular to the angle of the roof. What about the “tadpole people”? Do children really think that people’s faces are on their abcloniens? “No,” say Piaget and some others. This is a repre- sentation of the important things about people (Freeman, 1980). The child’s drawing is not like a photograph; rather, it is the child’s symbolic representation of her thinking and understanding of the world. Not all researchers agree with Piaget’s interpretation of children’s drawings. But Piaget was able to demonstrate certain common features often found in the drawings of children at different age levels, and he was able to stimulate others to do systematic research on children’s thinking as expressed in their art (Winner, l986). -: l I THE SCEENTEFlfl METHOID Research activities serve diverse and important purposes in our daily lives, princi- g pally to help us assess the truth of our beliefs regarding others, the nature of the world, and ourselves. Developmental research, in particular, is a means of amass- _ ing a body of knowledge regarding child growth and development. It is the main ; vehicle for determining whether social and educational interventions really worlt. In short, research and its appropriate methodologies are the sole source of an effi- cient, verifiable, and accurate study of human development (Kermis, 1984). Research in child development follows the same scientific method used in any other branch of the social and behavioral sciences. Researchers may differ on what to observe and how best to measure it, but most research essentially consists of four steps: .fi'fi. . .:--Au2i-. 1. Define the problem Determine specifically what you, the researcher, are interested in studying; _ ‘- 2. Formulate hypotheses as to the suspected carrier of the prablrm Predict what you think is producing the behavior in which you are interested; 3. Investigate the hypothesis (3) Collect the data, and (b) analyze the data, using appropriate statistical measures, and 4. Draw Conclusions Demonstrate the causal relations suggested in the hypotheses you formulated initially. A brief discussion of these steps may help us to understand the way research is designed. Defining the research problem. The Study of child development is full of interesting questions. What does the newborn infant see? How soon does ‘ the infant see the garden in the way we see it? is adolescence necessarily a period of storm and stress, or can it be a smooth transition to adulthood? GHAPTER ONE ‘ CHILD l')EVEI.OPMENTI PERSPECTEVES, PROC ESSES, AND RESEARCH METHODS What are the differences in moral development demonstrated by middle? school boys and. girls? How do these differences manifest themselves in ado- lescent social behavior? Interesting as they may be, such broad questions are not effective research questions. Before we can conduct a study, we need to narrow the problem to something testable. “How do children learn lan— guage?” is too broad. “How does the child hegin to understand metaphor, sarcasm, or other forms of nonliteral language?” is a smailer question, but it is not yet testable. In a recent series of studies, the researchers were interested in how chili dren learn to understand sarcasm. Sarcasm is, after all, a very complicated language form. When the airline loses your luggage and your best friend says, “Well, this must be your iuclty day!” he is lacing sarcastic. The speaker does not literally intend what he says. There is subtlety, irony, and nuance to the meaning of the literal words. There may he humor or cruelty in sarcasm. Adults detect sarcasm using two cues: (1) the context contradicts what the speaker has said, and (2) the speaker often uses tone of voice to signal the meaning. But young children tend to miss these cues; they understand things literally. Researchers can ask, “Which of these cues does the child first understand, and at what age, and in what context?” The researchers have now formulated a testable question (Capelli, Nalcagawa, 8: Madden, 1990). Develop a hypothesis In most studies, researchers specify their expectations in the form ofa hypothesis. They make a prediction about what will happen in the study. In the study on children’s understanding of sarcasm, the researchers predicted that children would be able to use intonation or tone of voice much sooner than they would understand the contextual. cues. Even very young, children. listen to vocal expressions as a clue to emotions. But for them to understand the. contrast between the. context and the literai meaning of the speaker is a much more difficult task. Terr the hyper/law's To test whether the hypothesis is correct, researchers choose a specific procedure, decide on a setting, determine a measurement, and select certain aspects of the situation to be controlled. Researchers must be careful to design the observations so that they are measuring the behavior systemati» cally and without bias. In our study on understanding sarcasm, the researchers invented several stories. Each story had two versions: a sarcastic one. and a serious one. They tape-recorded these stories in two fashions: Sometimes the punch line was said. in a mocking, sarcastic way, sometimes it was said in a neutral tone of voice. Then they played these stories, some serious and some sarcastic, to third graders, sixth graders, and adults, and compared their reac~ tions on a systematic questionnaire (Capelli, Nal<agawa, 8: Madden, 1990). Drew canclzuiom Based on the evidence collected, researchers must draw conclusions that neither overstate nor undersrate what. they have found. In our study of sarcasm, the adults clearly identified all sarcastic responses whenever there were, context cues (lost luggage), or intonation cues (a mocking tone of voice), or both types of cues available. Sixth graders had considerable difficulty when. there was no change in intonation, and third graders alrnost never understood the sarcasm unless there was a sarcastic tone of voice. T he authors concluded that children initially depend much more heavily on intonation than on context to recognize sarcasm (Capelli, Naltagawa, 8: Madden, 1990}. 2i HUMAN DER-’E1_.(.)l’l\rll€NT: AN iN'i'ttma’rtn stem" or THE LIFE SPAN ME’E‘thDS {if i'liATA (JOLLEC'ETIUN Research studies produce widely differing findings, depending on the measure— ments used and the individuals selected for study. Subjects may be observed in real-life situations, or they may be tested. in controlled, contrived situations. They ‘ may talte written tests to determine their level of achievement, their ability to l solve problems, or their creativity. The researchers may observe their behavior 5 directly or aslt the participants to report on it. It may he helpful if‘ we examine some of the specific types of measurement. N IQ DIRECT OBSERVATION Perhaps the most common type of measurement used with infants and young children is to observe the child’s behavior directly in 1 a specific situation. The researcher may look at how the child. plays with a particur lar kind of toy or how the child reacts to a stranger. Children may be observed. in school settings to see how they WOle together to solve a problem. Researchers often use recording aids like videotapes to increase the accuracy of the observa- tion. As one begins to study older children, adolescents, and adults, it becomes increasingly difficult to design studies of direct behavior. Teenagers and. adults are less willing to be “on stage" for observation and more willing to report their thoughts and feelings to researchers. CLINICAL, OR CASE STUDY, RESEARCH Clinical research focuses on case studies of individuals evidencing abnormal behavior or some pattern of behavior in which the researcher is interested. The clinical study method. is basiA cally an inwdepth interview and/ or obseiyation of an individual. An openaended, exploratmy approach to assessing behavior, it has been used extensively in con ducting developmental research. One example of such research may be found in l the creation of the sowcalled “baby diaries.” Baby diaries represent a poorly con" trolled and. often somewhat haphazard technique The main method used in their 3 creation is that the observer records characteristics of the developing organism; l _ For example, a summary of one early diary compiled by Moore (1896) follows: “em-L- . 5th week: He recognized the human face. .,..:.t.;.. .,- wwwmwmm..am‘q 7th weelt: recognized the sounds ol‘the voice. 9th week: He recognized the breast when he saw it; and the face of his mother i2th week: He recognized his own hand. 16th week: He recognized his thumb and the nipple 17th week: He recognized the hall at a distance of some feet In the nineteenth century, Charles Darwin, the noted naturalist, kept-a detailed. account of his eldest son’s activities in infancy and early childhood, in i search of' some understanding of human nature. Part of his account was used 3 recently by John Bowlby (1990), an eminent psychologist, to prepare a detailed i retrospective case study of Charles Darwin. Bowlby’s intent was to analyze the i impact of parental loss in childhood. Case studies are rarely used in. research l l CHAPTER ONE ' CHILD DEVELOPMENT: PERSPECTIVES, PROCESSES, AND RESEARCH METHODS because they involve problems of subjectivity and uncontrolled variables, and they relate to one specific individual. Causemandeeffect relationships cannot be estab- lished, nor can generalizations be made to others. But, occasionally, a good case 'study can stimulate additional research. i in practical settings, such as medicine, education, social work, and clinical psychology, case studies are an important tool for diagnosis and prescription. Short—term case studies, such as the detailed analysis of a child‘s reactions to war or trauma, can be helpful in creating, further understanding. Therefore, although they must be used. with caution as a research tool, case studies provide a rich, clinical, descriptive picture of the changing, integrated. individual in an environ— mental context. ACHIEVEMENT AND ABILITY TESTS Written tests of achievement or ability are a common form of measurement. Yet it is not always easy to construct a good test. To be effective, a good test (or any measurement) must be reliable and valid. A reliable measure is dependable, consistent, and repeatable. For example, a test of artistic ability must be able to evaluate people in the same way - each time or it is useless for research purposes. An unreliable test of artistic ability might be easily influenced by the mood of the participant taking the test or that of. the judge assigned to look at the product. Tests also must have validitymthat is, they should measure what they intend to measure. in the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, for example, the child is shbwn a booklet containing pictures. For each item, the child hears a word. and is asked to point to one of four pictures on a page. This is simply a test of comprehension of English vocabulary, pre- sented orally. Yet researchers sometimes mistakenly employ it as a measure of “intelligence.” To do so would be an invalid use of this measure. ' SELF-REPORT TECHNIQUES Selfureport techniques consist of interviews, surveys, or questionnaires in which the resrzarcher asks questions designed to reveal the subjects feelings and behavior patterns. Sometimes, subjects are asked for information about themselves—as they are in the present or were in the past. .At other times, they may be asked to reflect on, or react to, statements or thoughts about themselves or to rate themselves on some personality traits. In each case, tl ey are expected to try to be as honest and. objective as possible. Sometimes such instruments have “lie scales“7 built in, which repeat questions in slightly different formats designed to “catch’1 the respondent. Lie scales detect {3155 responses by persons who may not believe the response originally given would be acceptable to the tester. Although interviews and questionnaires are commonly employed with ado~ lcscents and adults, these techniques need considerable adaptation when used With children. in one such study, the researchers wanted to know about chil— dren’s understanding, of themselves and. their family. T hey used a self-report tech~ Iliqus? Called interactive dialsgacs. One of these dialogues was called, “What l’rn 11;“ and What others in my family are like.” The interviewer brought a series of cards With pictures to the interview. Along with answering the questions, the chil- drcn sorted the cards, indicating which pictures were more like their family and which were less like their family (Reid et al., 1990). . PROTECTHUE TECHNIQUES Sometimes, the researcher does not ask the uestio ‘ a i .- . i . i - q n dm‘ml‘ 1“ 3 l“ Ult‘itlve technique. subyects given an ambiguous pic 23 reliability The extentto which a _' measun'ng techniquewill -.produce _ the same: results each time it is :used. I ' I ' " validity The accuracy with which = a _proeed_ure...n1_easures what it is supposedtonieasure. " " HUMAN DEVELOPMENT? AN lN’l‘h(..il{rarlihi) STUDY OF Tiiii LIFE SPAN tore, or task, or situation, Then they must tcli a story, interpret a picture, or guess the outcome of the situation. Because the task is ambiguous and there are no right or wrong answers, it is assumed that individuals wiil project their own feelw ings, attitudes, anxieties, and needs into the situation. Rorschach inkblots are probably the most famous projective technique. Another example may be seen in the TAT (Thematic Apperception Test), in. which individuals are asked. to create a story about a particular ambiguous picture. The tester then examines the themes created by respondents across a series of such pictures. W<:)rd~association exercises and sentencecornpiction tests are aiso used, Subjects might be asked to complete a thought, such as “My lather always...” Subiects might be shown a series oi‘pictures and asked to interpret, react to, ma lyae, or arrange them to construct a story. in one study, 4~yearolds participated in a game cailed the [rearr' picnic. The experimenter told a series of stories involv ing; a famiiy of teddy bears, The child was then handed one of the bears as “your bear” and invited to complete the story {Mueller 8: Tingiey, 1990i. SELECTIGN 9F AN EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN The design UTAIT)’ social science study structures and defines the type of. informa— tion that can be. collected as weli the manner in which it is analyzed. The grow" ing, changing human organism. develops within a changing environmental COB" text. Researchers never capture the whole story. instead, they must select. a particuiar setting, particular participants, and particular methods ot‘measurement and anaiysis to highlight the research question posed. This research plan consti— tutes the experimental design. NATURAL VERSUS EXPERIMENTAL SETTINGS Research settings may range from highly controiied, standardized. laboratories to homes, supermarkets, schools, piety/grounds, or hospitais. Some landmark dCVClOpmentai studies have been conducted in naturai locations like waiting rooms, athietic events, preschools, and nursing homes. Studies in naturalistic settings have a certain rm logical validity. They seem true to life. They invoive reai events and everyday set" tings. T hey may seem to be iess artificial or contrived. The ongoing interactions between friends or famiiy members can be examined as they reaiiy happen. Nev- ertheiess, natural iocations permit littie controi of individuals, events, or condi» tions, and they may cause some imprecision in measurement. It may be helpful if we look further at the strengths and weaknesses ()Feach approach. EXPERIMEij SETTINGS In a laboratory setting, the researcher can sys— tematicaily change some of the conditions (independent variabies) and observe the resultant behavior (dependent variables). For example, children Eearning vocabulary in the iabotatory can do it in a very systematic way. The amount of noise and distraction is limited. The difficulty of the word list is controiied. The expectations and instructions of the experimenter, the reward or punishment,ithc pace of the presentation, can ail be carefirlly monitored or controiled. Siniiiarly, the behavior being observed can be measured preciseiywwbe it the rate ofiearning, or forgetting, symptoms of anxiety, or anger. The laboratory is the ideai setting for testing a hypothesis and concluding a cause-and—eiiect teiationship between CHAPTER ONE ' CHILD DEVELOPMENT: PERSPECTIVES, PROCESSES, AND RESEARCH METHODS 25 the variables. Many studies of learning and memory have been conducted in just . such settings, with infants, children, and adolescents. NAIURALISTIC SETTINGS Studies conducted in natural settings are much less easily controlled. The independent variables are usually controlled. solely by selection. not manipulation. The researchers select a partictilar classroom in a par— ticular school, or compares teachers in lapan, Taiwan, and the. United States {Stevenson et at, 1989). Of course, teachers can be. trained to use a specific approach, or instructional. videotapes can be prepared, but rarely do the events in the classroom follow the script precisely. For some studies in a natural setting, the researchers must wait for the event to occur. In a studyr in class discipline, for example, they may need to wait until the Child misbehaves and then be there with the camera at the right time. Sometimes, in naturalistic studies, the researchers must rely on their notes or films3 hoping that they have selected the right details from an ongoing stream of potentially significant events. in some cases3 this method has resulted in imprecise observations and unsound conclusions. _ lust as some naturalistic studies may be considered uncontrollable and imprecise. some experimental Studies may be considered. artificial and narrow. [his may be due to the unfamiliar setting and isolated circumstances of the labo— ratory: or to the absence of a realistic context in which the behavior maltes sense. Egifieflbm‘lnnt‘fi [1979), has characterized American developmental psychology as L sciente or the strange behavior of the child in a strange situation with a Strange adult for the shortest period. of time (p. 19).” Because of his and other CUUCISHIS, researchers are increasingly attempting, to combine the precision of the laboratory With the ecological validity of the naturalistic setting. In the research sens“ @OIOE—‘iical validity refers to an understanding oft-ire multiple envircmmenr tal variables which affect behavior. Ecological researchers therefore create or Research conducted if? natural retro-{gr has been criticized fin” permit-raw tin-ii? tantra! {ifmdiridnalg stems, and arm-- tritium) remitting mmcl'imsr in imprrw tire memm‘ementt ofbelmrior. 26 HUMAN DEVELOPMENT: AN lNTEGRATE-D STUDY OF THE LIFE SEE-AN STUDY _ "David E D's; asterisg or Eat-1y,- iChildhood Education at the Univer— _' ":sity' of -Massa'c'husetts', has used a 'nattiraiistic Ist'ud'y} of children’s social- .beliaviorfto evaluate ; the effects of the: mtegi'atitiir.o-f specie-lanee'dsfchih _';l.r en -- an d g :‘5 not maif’.’ _ 'fl'presch'ool c'iassesz': The _ naturalistic j'sppi-Qach is'iéscd so that the experi— ' children _'.i n -5 king-g icirpgienci; including the number . meal to that the will not interfire With What-flag - children __nr5__e doing, __ wrongs; but the dbrzriznrtirin partied, the mm; the?teaches,Hflidifiiflfid:' bated-9n. physical sewer-#:1396937- '_isiblif}'g$,. "prio:r__., ' preschool experiences; [the "child’s ' medical history, the chiid’s family ' srructure, including parents’ .rea—_ _ sons; for enrol-ling the child in the program; the child’s special "needs, teal- _d_isability, recorded I'.tl1rcia_t'—I .mFiflt-Wlfl 121:0? int-€533 With-What "_}fi':'iecl,_abii's.e,sand emotional: stress:- I'§.tli_e._chiidten kite.doingfiThroughout Vat-ions-ideyelopnicntal_:indices,'-such_ is“? “amino? Ptr‘odrihc Wtdm 3mmmamas-mil merit-bf .-.sS.r-ti1sresultsIs?'deFlOP-m‘ml’We _,.._the‘teach.er s aides, and thechi-ldren . - __ - - :35,- -_ - -- '2‘ -_ - and. psychologists assessments, are interact the 'way they normally; Cit/“WWW: -.;-I_-~ ' - '; j' ‘ "sfalso'inciuded'j " _ j '_ p' _ inféhéj different. activitiesarlda II . ' __ I ‘I _ ‘ _ :Ohccltheprofilesarc-:CQnigletedl. iii-“:3 of til-c.3913?“5.F0<?m“"¢1‘€'block With the completion of'aiiprofile-“onj' 3th; 'ctntra-liactivitrafthsgstudyfieflm - '; $3312"? E”: “OF-3f immea- : each Ichildan"athei'ctas-Stooifnl Th6: -_.obsew'ation of the _c1"ri'l'drer_1—~'-statts. ‘ I ‘ hprofiii'e'inciudes Such-information: as. i" Bath;Clfiid-E$-‘_Qb§ci‘l¢§'_5§VC¥5¥'- mil-CS: = ahistory orient _'c_1iild"s _'s‘ociali;ing '..€%1_lring-'a._5~ION—day ohscii'vatien ' ' = --I'-': ' '- .pericid_i__:E_‘_a<ih tibScrvation"_iasts for change particular conditions within an ongoing realalife setting. For example, in a middle-school setting, researchers might want to study the efiect ofusing cooper- ative learning teams to teach science to {Ourth graders. They would study the per? formance of the children both before instituting teams and afterward in the ciass— room where science is taught. In this manner, the teacher’s Style, the motivation of students, and the physicai layout of the classroom, couid all be controiled (see the bOX “A Naturalistic Study of Children’s Social Behavior”). LONGITUDINAL AND CROSS-SECEYONAL DESIGNS As we mentioned earlier, development is a continuous, dynamic, and iifeiong process. Therefore, developmental studies, in contrast. to other types of research, focus on change over time. Any field of study concerned with timwnsratinteni or nye-nrtoriateri chm/rye is considered. a developmental discipiine. Dcvclnpmenml prytiiolagy, tigers:- flirt, farmer on the description, explanation, prediction, mad modification sf age; associated behavior damage. But it is not always an easy task to explain or predict behavior change. Why? Mainly because of the nature of “cause” and our differing definitions of agekage as determined by biology, society, history, and so forth. Consider the following example: CHAPTER ONE ' C'HlLD DEVELOPMENT: PERSPECTIVES, PROCESSES, AND RESEARCH METHODS 27 {jusr EEO-seconds, after which the i _.The behaviors codedfonro _the 'iflhad fairly-normal communication I ' behavior is'coded on a Behavior data sheerrhy the evalnators lare. :p'ateernsfiirirh other children) 11?“? ,Ch-cclclist. Data Sheet. The data derived from 'SCchl observations.:-_I:-ch;}d§-Cn with ‘mmmfipeech :_ ‘ sheet is divided into several behavior made over the-entire- program day 'igéms Ofmn'had musicicmbic .cfi‘f ' categories: ._Ta5!e bivalves/amt, (30011: to ensure. that. the behavioral profile Icfil'tyi-mj hem-hmhiémn'g; «Ntnim-giii " ;_ Marina; [later/wary, Verbal Inter-19:5" is a valid reflection oi‘vrharhas' hapg .ifdfi'l-dm-n' Whig had 66me_.disabléd" Irish; Uri: sf Materials; Maintenance pen-ed... The observation I‘data rare {dassfn'amg _'f-réqmmw - 0f Acriritjgz and .Camidrmtz'rm. The then summarized on a'inarrix, which in‘créas‘éd consiatmmm’fm 6mg“: sameda’ra sheet is used sci-study sevé provides avividpicrure of the fig. ..-Withlm re d' 13' Highs in firm] finch; dual different kmds. 0f Flucsmiims” dummy and lfmm‘ln flinch bah?“ . tion and ieai‘ninngav et a1. 1979: (such as: Do “normal”. children pay” 40:. Informationregardmg the actw— M ‘ __ ' , '. ‘5’ , .. - . - _ . - . - -. ; v . _ . . - . _uch more remains to be diseov .sarrcnrion t0 thCII‘TaSk, orgare they :ty or area. number of children; _ 'Ad Y B - d . E - ;-distracted by 'Speeialaneeds children? PYCSCHEI: 391d the r016 Of the staff in i' an. ' ' fit“ gage on t ' C86 pm? W I Are the children task—involvedi'Do' _ the activity is also recorded duri-i‘ig-f-llisuips’ 13-3mgramiprésghfohj- if-thEy’ finish the trade? Do they Show each 'SDs'second. observation} This {396C131 “ECdS'Wd Wplml ‘ ' consideration for other childréfl,’ "information thalS ti“:- ranssaad“ m the dags'gm-bfimmmg “.9” I j; .ryp'e of interaction among thegichiia 'wmmos- 596?.i.al'1,1€€'d5 “Ch-lid " ' ' ' Dinah-e:example-and F} i...- ,_z ,_. _ 1Dofi‘noriisal”;ehilcihen talk onlywith :' aFtlYitY_Qlu3¥§53-- K . .. __ _ . :An _._ahaiy'$is_- ofgrhe'd'araj'fromF/so' '_ physicallytodisabled children: Which procedure has 'pi‘oiddced bothispeciaimneeds and “normal”? _ _ Milne-is their verbal interaction like: ' dre-n and the adult'ifplfl- in each renal-mar --.'ch:iiai~es_> Do physically} ' ' ‘ ‘j disabl=ed§hildren talk "can; with 3: ? o'f'rhe-prelirriinar';j girdles-"using thi : inrerlere most. withhofiau of interesting- findings Sonie'ich f_ malfiriteraction'? ' ' ' : " diet; with severephys' 'al‘ 'abiiin liar) is 20 years oid. He was born and grew up in Ohio. In high school he barely passed his courses but did well in two Sports, wrestling and football. He was accepted into a four-year college in Pennsylvania as a Special admit student in need of remedial courses and as a starter on the football team. lim’s college has a policy of “academic redshirting” adiieres who are at risk for academic difficulty. So he was forced to sic out his freshman year and obtain a C average in his courses in order to play football as a sophomore. lirn attained a B— overall grade—point- average and started to play football on the Division Hi team. He has maintained a B average overall and is beginning to talk about going to graduate school for athieric training. I There are many unSIions we can ask about Tim. For example, what will he bC like at 303 40, or 80 years of age? What factors have influenced. his academic or. metal development? Why has he suddenly improved his academic performance? How did the factors that influenced his behavior change as he grew older? We can from these. questions and concerns that the design of research to answer developrnen‘cal questions is often challenging at best. But even the most 28 Spence is time. l-I‘LFMAN l’)li‘v-"El..()l’l\zliiNT: AN {N'TFGRATEIJ STUDY O? "l." UPI-l SPAN challenging quesrion begins to find its answer in the basic research designs used by developmental researchers: the longitudinal, cross—sectional, and sequential designs. Table l—2 contrasts these designs. Longitudinal Designs. in a longitudinal design, scientists study the same individuals at different points in their lives. T hey are measured repeatedly over an extended period of time and compared with themselves. Researchers can plot growth curves, or learning curves, in such areas as language development or cog- nitive development or physical skills. Children can be followed through adult— hood to see which personality characteristics persist and which disappear. Researchers can follow the impact of key life events on the later life course or tra— iectory (see the box “Personality over the Life Course”). In contrast, a crossAsec- tional study compares different groups of individuals at different ages at one point in time. In the study of sarcasm presented earlier, for example, the researchers studied third graders, sixth graders, and. adults on their understanding of the . story dialogues. Both research designs have advantages and disadvantages, and both are necessary to the study ofchild development. Longitudinal designs are especially appealing to the developmental psycholfi ogist. Because individuals are compared with themselves at different points in time, test subjects do not have to be sorted Out and carefully matched. Some developmental processes can he looked at very closely by studying these individu— als every week, or even every day. In the study of language development in the second or third year of life, for example, a small group of children can he studied every week for a detailed picture of their emerging language. But longitudinal studies also have several drawbacks. They require a great deal of time from both TABLE Zim2 Common Developmental. Research Designs CHAPTER ONE ' CHILD DEXELOPMENT: PERSPECTIVES, PROCESSES, AND RESEARCH. METHODS researchch and subjects. Subjects may become ill, go on vacation, move away, or simply stop participating in the research project. Some subjecrs become used to taking the tests and tend to do better than those being examined for the first time. Subjects who Stay in the sample tend to he the most cooperative and stable. It has been Suggested that subjects who participate in longitudinal studies are healthier, Wealthiet, and wiser than their peers in society (Friedrich 8e Van Horn, 1976). The researchers, too, may move away, lose interest—«or even die if the study continues for a long enough period. of time. The Berkeley Growth Study, for example, has gone through various principal researchers in its over fifty—year his— tory. Longitudinal studies often require extensive funding; moreover, the original purposes of the study may no longer be considered relevant to today’s research. needs. As theories and techniques change, it. is difficult to incorporate new tech— niques and ideas into the ongoing design. Crosstectimal Designs. Cross-sectional designs have the advantage of being quicker, cheaper, and more manageable than longitudinal studies. To ensure that the groups at different age levels are reasonably comparable, cross— sectional designs require careful sampling of participants. in studies of adults of widely ranging ages, for example, it is frequently difficult to find. a sample that is matched on variables such as health, education, or cuiturai and socioeconomic background. Studies of adult intelligence have been plagued by problems of com parable samples. is the sample of 60—year—olds, for example, as healthy or as wellr educated or from the same cultural or socioeconomic background as the sample of those aged forty? Finaliy, in. either longitudinal or cross~sectional designs, it is difficult to separate the effects of chronological age from those of the historical period in which the individual has lived. Our earlier examples ol‘Al and ludy indiu care the tremendous impact of historical events on individual development. Sequential Designs. Some researchers combine both approaches in a sequential/age cohort design. Whitbourne (1991) used such a design in a study of personality in young and middle adulthood. in 1968 and again in 1976, she surveyed college seniors on aspects of their scifAimage, social relationships, and values. She repeated this study in 1984 and 1990, with new groups of‘college Seniors; she also rewsurveyed those subjects studied earlier. Each of these age stomps was considered an age cohort. The earliest age cohort has now been studs led {our times. That group can be analyzed for age differences in the same fashion as in a longitudinal design. How did these individuals change as they moved from wilch students in the late 1960s to starting their careers or marriages in the mid-39705 to parenting in the early 1980s and to re—examining their lives as 40— Yfiat-olds in 1990? But this group can also be compared to the other three age CUhOITS at each age level. in many ways, this group differs from the other three cohorts in their attitudes and values as college students. Perhaps these differences can be attributed to the politically turbulent college campuses of the late 1960s. All Cohorts showed a strong interest in achievement and productivity the second “me dig} WC“: Surveyed, in their late twenties. This is perhaps an age-appropriate role, both for men and women, as they buiid their careers. We can see the basic sequential design in Figure 1‘3, Mam :‘Slc‘i‘onihined design is almostflessential in. the study of adulthood. to sep— _ y ects of chronological age from the effects of the particular historical if Cills?”Chishogical reality of adolescents, ‘or oi? the parents .of adolescents, ‘ a “Pcnoing on whether that person is living in the midst of conflict Lone 'r..tnore_s_amples f'indiindu' E toque Hal/age cohort design A i combination of crossmsectional "-and-___loii_g'itndinal research designs _ I 'in-Vvhich individuals (sf-several clif- ; Iferent ages :are observed repeat— ‘ . . . attended of 29 30 FIGURE 1—3 The longitudinal, cross-sectional, and sequential/age cohort research designs. The diagonal rows (we {rattan/i raw circled in real) represent imagimdinal studies, rmn' the vertical columns (sec lift column circled infirm) represent tron-recran studies. The complete illmr‘mrion is afflac sequential/age cohort design, and it 51579er fimr age: (IO/40735 rider rm: lacing steadied preform” dfisrmr times. HUMAN DEVELO?MENT: AN INTEGRATED STUDY ()1: THE LEFE SPAN «mu-— Sequentiai/ age cohort design -—-— Cross-sectional design ' mf- Longitudinal-design 1960 1970 1980 1990 Data coliected in over Civil Rights and the Vietnam War in the iate 19603, or amidst renewed Civil Rights issnes and the strong patriotism of the Persian GnlfWar of 199}. INTERPRETENG THE EVHBENQE Three Witnesses to a robbery, or to the same research study, may submit three different reports. We do not all interpret evidence in the same way. In the scien tific study of Chiid development, it is necessary to establish dependable, repeat- able, and consistent procedures that lead to similar conclusions. Otherwise, it becomes impossible for the field to progress and knowledge to expand. BLOCKS TO GOOD OBSERVATION Observer bins. Many of us see what we expect to see or what we want to see; this is called subjectivity. We either do not notice or refuse to believe whatever conflicts with our preconditions. Whether it results from cuiturai assumptions, prejudice, stereotyping, or inexperi- ence, a bias will invalidate the conclusions of an observation. Observing without a bias is caiied objectivity. An observer of female athletic siciils, for instance, may he incompletely objective if convinced that women either cannot or should not be skilled in this area. In another example, an observer from the United States may report that Finns are highly unfriendly and avoidant when in reality their cuitnre encourages shyness and introspection. CHAPTER ONE ' CHELD DEVELOPMENT: PERSPECTIVES, PROCESSES, AND RESEARCH METHODS Inwmitivity. When we. observe the same thing every day, we often become so accustomed to it. that we fail to recognize its significance. For example, the seat locations that students choose in a classroom may teil us something about their popularity, leadership, feelings of isolation, and the social groups to which they belong. But il~ We see these students in the classroom several times a week, we may overlook this readily available inlbrrnarion. Another example may be found in our inability to recognize signs of distress in those to which we are close est, or most intimate. Limits of the hypothesis. Another obstacle to good observation is the ten-- dcncy to look at too large or too small or too arbitraty a piece of behavior. If, for example, we want to ltnow something about memory in children or adt'ilescents> we can choose a number of different approaches, We may observe some individtt als in this group following the routine of a typical day, noting how many times they forget things. But this method is too arbitrary to measure memory functions precisely. Such observations would not reveal, for example, how well the subjects had learned the things they had forgotten or What they did know. A laboratory setting might provide more accurate results. In some early memory studies, researchers had individuals of dificerent ages (for example, ages 20, 40, 60, and 80) learn lists of nonsense syllables. Then they measured how many of these nonsense syllables subjects could recall 30 minutes later, 30 minutes later, and 24: hours later. In most cases, the older individuals had much more difficulty learning and remembering the nonsense syllables than did the younger subjects. In more recent studies, researchers have asked young adults and oider adults to listen to and remember the important facts from selected material. in dealing with this ldnd of material, the performance of older subiects is much - closer to that of younger ones. It seems that older people generally learn to use their memory abilities more selectively. They can learn and remember a good deal of information, provided. it is meaningful and useful. In. contrast, they apparently screen out useless information (Botwiniclt, 3984). While these examples deal with adults, they illustrate one type of problem we will find in studies of young children. LIMITING CON€LUSXONS It; g5; easy to go beyond the data in an attempt to conclude more than was actually found in a study. This can happen in a number of Walls: but We might be‘ particu" larly on the alert for three of them. PROBLEMS OF DEFINITION In research, we normally have two dif‘ferent kinds of definitions: a theoretical definition and an operational definition. A. throw rattan/3 definition of a particular variable is based on the theorist”s hypothetical construction. For example, a theoretical definition of intelligence might be “the abill-t3: to adapt to one’s environment.” In contrast, an operational definition SPCCIhes the particular variable in terms of how it is measured. In this case, an OPttanonal definition of intelligence might be: “those behaviors that the Stan- fordrlliinet intelligence test measures.” Researchers with different ideas of what thIthHCC means get different results when interpreting the same material. If the researchers want to be sure they are talking about the same thing, they need to agree on a definition that describes the techniques of observation and measure- 31 32 f'rhc chit as '; Wrote "the-English poet" William \Wordswor-th it; i802. Nearly every-_ ..one has heerd a grdiidpsi'eiit._comw.:__ Emerita} "the continuity ' of some iei—' it -:_.‘='at_ive’s tempera. Stubborrlriess-[or ,3o'thet personalitytrzut. 'But social-15:5 scientist, looks for proof-of the _ ity‘ “or truthfuinessof such _s-t:ite5_ meritsr Is there essential stability. 05' ' personality traits over-the life course for-mow peofiie? .Ifsog whit are the Circumstances, processes, and . infl'uL ences that "make: thisstat'emen't more _ :0: le'ss‘truei'f ' .. 21m; i '- wam-demd ‘i-flétemjpered . -' childrew 'fizchmie ;j'.‘z'_ll~'rk3m4 -. pied? : feted -' 2: become -ifl'biéitéd'wfllfia’5- .3 -: ' e; _Ioihs.'t'ac§..es to :_' _'s_‘v_'ste-rri eitng research I on {the life‘course are than? sable; Suppose) some; researchers- : simpirwanttoskvow Whether not; of the irniinff ‘ HUMAN DEVEZI.,()PMi-3N'I": INTi-ZCiIL-‘YI‘ED STUDY 014 THE LIFE SPAN owe ‘CQURSE . i ~-.shy-:ci=1__iidr_etiil Varer'ii-kei-yj: to iii-Se ; fas adolescents. and devoting-adults. 'Th-ey might try to design a test of : shyness that is appropriate 'forheaeh age ieve1-, give it-to some children, and wait. to test these same. individu— ltingitu'dina] desigri._But what-if the researchers sis-o want to know why ' _shyn‘ess- persists or what-the rife? course consequences of this behav— ioral style 'sre? more complicated. and extensive longitudinal. study, - conducted over- severai decades,-' ' ' 7 would redt1.ii‘ed_in.__7 ' " ' " ques- ti-o'n s. stitch study-fifhé "every ,yea'r'sz. 1aJs-agaihlater-Ion. This is a standard Bei‘iteley Giiidzince 'S'tudjrmemtracked' the tie-vehement of every. t-hitd.c__iui'd ‘ _ inordin Berkeiey, .GaiiforniaQi-n - "1928-. In childhood, .th-ese' children '_ and their parents were‘monitored .on'_ annual-basis Fromsdolescence on, they were - interviewed. extensiVeiv '_ .‘Rentirritablyg ' 'es'eii-rchers ‘ shie Stsyn' in- touch' I with 239- of the dimer 20's. timer-j; subjects-Over a period-of Thefindividuais iri this-“age cohort-J were chiidreri'during the-“Great; _, Depression ,_ teens during World 3 IL and young adults in .the' ' boom. Yet, as in-dividuzds, they crepe ,i rie'nced these worid'events very-dd . ferendy. Why? What'vvere so'niezof'f ' the key factorsi'n determining their; "deveioyment over the life course? There have been _ many studies - using: these data to' examine econoni-icfao f _ _ [tors-5 'parehtai'attitudes;personality , =1 ' - Parameters" for sweep-titres: factors, s'd-tititiofié? --913P(=5ituni_t§¢5a I '.resenr:cher_s,.':£lj few. extensive zind -complex-‘Jongitudhi-al studies-that- ' were started-inanywyears ago héi'v'e' _.'2imas_se_d a: body 0? information for- ' ' and family. crises.- 'iLet’s-lo'ok tit one of .- I'th_esijc.studi_es, " 1 .. _ : {caspi -a_i1d_-_E_id"ei_-( 51988) won:- detect if F‘i-li~teinpered”..'chilidreri {the examination of somehiiFe-coume f 5539.311“: “Kl-‘tCmPC'er’i- Mimi-t5: and-if ' I I H i I " “inhibited-Children- hecame inhibited . '_ adults. :What-Were' the tidal: consew ' queii'ces of the'se-_ hehsviorzii Istylestz; ._What-.were -'the--1ife«co-urse patterns " for the. espiosiriIe'phildt-en and for -' the withdrawn-children,es scorn—i” paredito their pe_ers?__' '- ' these qiiestioils_-,"Caspi'. garid- Eider selected the individuals i " merit to be employed in their study. That is an operational definition. But their work is more meaningful ifthey aiso provide a theoretical definition. To illustrate7 let us consider the probiem of studying aggression. We might be able to agree on a theoreticai definition of aggressioa as “behavior that is intended to injure or destroy.” But how do we measure intent? What do we observe? To aeswer these questions, we need an operationai definition of out research topic. One researcher might measure hitting7 kicking, punching and other physical acts against another person. A second researcher might measure verbal insults A third might measure a teacher’s rating of the child’s aggressivew mess on a five—point scale from high to low. A fourth might measure the aggresm CHAPTER ONE I _ the sample who ages 8 to Il}'_'Were reported try-teachers and parents as" Iiiei'ther the ‘ii’icht explosive Cir tlre. 'mosr inhibited. These {were the 33 “under—cr.)ritrolleci”_ children, who ' had. frequent outbursts of temper, ; or-rlie “over—controlled” .childreii, 'who'were anxiously inhibited in - their ability to initiate actiirityf. Did. '_ these, explosive or inhihited behavior] patterns persist into adulthood; even . j though the 'beliaviorhilvasiofi‘ten malv' ; adaptive? For the most partsthe'y' 4 did-,airhough there weij-e-'se.veral_'-_ 1 _r excepdohs. More importantly, how- 3" lever, "the. researchers focused on the life trajectory;- forthe' pattern of. _ 5 events over the life‘eonrsegifor indi— '-viduals with ..the'se two different " childhood behavior styles.~_' - ' I ' Children who e'xhib'ie p.rr->'Ib-l.em_ ‘- 3- behavior like an expiosiire swinger or severe. Withdrawal-at age-IOIHdo riot f experience the same err-vironnaent.:as_‘_ {Iti‘ieir age mates. Teaelaers,_pares-1:537. and. peers. react to them . differently, ._ " y are adults. ‘Explosive ‘hje-rhier e-xpi‘essEd in "lirar'y service, in; the 'ers. Consequentl ' marriage, or a career. .Coriseguently, the adult-roles of marriage-and . _ . stabie "career were Shy"; :"who were _.yourig adults .19505, were flier" 'liely...‘ I peers to acceptn ' .ti‘onalrparter“ CHILD DEVELOPMENT: PERSPECI‘IVES1 PROCESSES, AND RESEARCH METHODS 7y, “the lfeiiplosive? children in the Berkeley Guidance- .Studjr; especially theimalesg‘fared less well than did other children in inanjr settings. As .a group; their; attended s'chool‘for fewer years and earned fewer degrees than did their : peers. They Were less able. to adapt to the educational system‘s demand '; 'for suppression of emotional espres- '_ .s-iori. adults, themen' heldiowera' level jobs in {lie'wiorlcplace and I sewed; iii: loWer ranks . in the military than did'rheir lie'esssf’Ihey changed jobs more frequently "and were more likely to divorCe'. The women main, f ried'rnen With lower. job status, were "more likelyto divorce, and became _ .il1_-'tem-peredf mothers-{Caspi et all, '_T hose individual-Sadie) were shy ' ‘. nth-Withdrawn children had-a Quite: 5diffeirent life—course" pattern. Shy. zilm'ysnrere likeiy‘to sixfold or delay deciSio-ns about 'educa'tion, dating, enthood and the estabi.ishnieii_t hair -' .. rearing, and holiiemalcing _:a=i., 198.8). ' ‘ ' in both the explosive. __ ‘ .xiei'thdrawn patterns, the rypic'aljlife IT-cour'se shoals a progressive sees-mgr; ‘j'lation of the coiisequerieesii 'l " early behavioral style. Thelii. ..course ti'aiectories across 30 ori'iiioie; .numerous situaiions and the cun‘iu . lative consequences of these eve: sion's made inworl;1 marriage parenting (Caspi B: 'Elcler,' 1988’) ' findings. Professor 1. VV( liflarif ' lane and. her team at Berkeleyfoiir "Whoi-were hostile. . .irr childho 33 (Caspi; er 7 d3 sea: years area result of both the eon-"tins uing interpersonal behavior in as well as ofparticular' adult. (‘1' 1 Although Caspi and Elder sins-cit; :ings are impressive, these are. in :1Q58, '“A number z-[of individua town ups to become friend. "’“Soine explri” sive content in a child’s storytelling. But the child who scores high in fantasy aggf 3391011 may be quite low in actual physical aggression as measured by the first researcher. fliese researchers are measuring different things. GENERALIZING BEYOND THE SAMPLE Research is conducted in a partic- ular setting and under particular conditions, with particular individuals from a par— ticular sociocultural context. The results ofany study, therefore, must be limited to similar individuals in similar situations. For example, children who experience a great deal of sarcasm in their daily life may learn the cues for this behavior much more qurckly than those who grow up in families where sarcasm is a rare event. Dar: height cause weight or might cause height or are they each the remit of‘rame combination affirmed; and cnvimnmmmlflzrmrt? To measure the relariamkip between these two vari— ables, researchers are the technique of carrelarion. ll UMAN l.)EVELIEPMEN'IY AN lN’l‘EGRATEl} STUDY OF THE HFE SPAN CORRELATION OR CAUSALITY It is very difficult to establish with any degree of certainty the cause ol’specitic behaviors. For example, 8—year—old boys who watch a lot of television engage in more aggressive play with their peers (Liebert 8t Spraken, 1988). Did the television watching cause the aggression? Perhaps aggressive children watch more television because they like aggression. Several studies indicate that aggressive behavior and seeing acts of aggression on television are related, but we are not sure which causes which or whether the two are, in fact, influenced by a third factor. For instance, height and weight are related. to each other. Does height cause weight, does weight cause height, or are they both the result of the genetic plan that interaets with the environmental con— text provided for growth? Researchers use a statistical technique called correlation to measure the relationship between two variables. In the case of the relationship between televi- sion watching and aggression, one might first measure the number or“ hours a child spents watching violent television shows and then measure her aggressive behavior. Children who view more violent television shows tend to be higher in aggression, while children who view very few violent shows tend to be very low in aggression. When both these factors are found to occur, there will be a strong, positive correlation between watching many hours of violent programming and acting aggressively. If children who watch many violent shows are less aggressive, the correlation would be negative. When two variables are correlated (either positively or negatively), it is tempting to conclude that one causes the other. For example, parental spanldng is positively correlated with children’s aggressive behavior; that is, children. who are spanked a lot tend to be more aggressive than those who are not. It is logical, on the one hand, to conclude that the child’s unruly behavior causes the frequent spanking. Conversely, if one believes that parental behavior usually causes a child’s behavior, then. perhaps physically aggressive behavior like spanking earner the child to imitate such aggression. Both conclusions are logical but not neces- sarily correct. Correlation does mt mean causation. It hardly needs to be said that researchers should follow ethical principles when conducting research with. human beings. They should never knowingly harm any- one, nor violate basic human rights. This is especially important when conducting research on dependent groups such as children, the aged, or prisoners. Neverthe— less, issues of individual rights and what may be harmful to research participants are more complex than they may appear-mos the following hypothetical research situation. illustrates. Threesyeareold Emma, who is newly separated from her mother in her ' first preschool class, sits in a room with an unfamiliar adult in a white lab coat. The researcher aslcs her to sit on a high chair and place her head into a helmetlilte device through which she will look at some pie tures. In order to hold her head still, she must place her mouth over a hard rubber bite bar. Emma ballts, frowns, and begins to tremble. CHAPTER ONE ' CHILD DEVELOPMENT: PERSPECTIWES, PROCESSES: AND RiiSl-{ARCli-i METHODS Despite the urging of her teacher’s aide to do what the “doctor” says} she seems unable to foilow the instructions. Soon tears appear on her cheeks. This scenario could he an example of a research study comparing eye move- ments and visuai pi'ticessing in preschool boys and giris. T he anxiety created by any test situation is familiar to ali of us, but it may he more problematic for a chiid who is relatinliy unfamiliar with evaluative situations. Such a study raises broad ethical questions. Are the results of this kind. of experiment important enough to iustify putting vulnerable persons under stress? is it ethical to tesr per- sons without giving them information which they can understand about the pun poses of the experimentation? GUEDEJhENES FOR ETHECAL RESEARCH PRACTICE Most of us agree that some experiments using human beings as research subjects are necessary if we are to understand and control the impact of potentiaily harm— ful environmental events. These potential benefits must be balanced with the rights of individual research participants. One of the most basic recommendations needs to he considered in every research. project in child. development: ...(is there)...a negative effect upon the dignity and welfare of the pan ticipants that the. importance of the research does not warrant. (Amen ican Psychological Association, 1.973, p. ll) It is unclear from Emma’s story if that research would warrant the potential harm to the young subject. The basic principles espoused by the Society for Research in Child Develop— ment (1.990) are fundamental rules that would guide any reputahie and honest researcher. They include the following principles: > Protectiw from Harm No treatment or experimentai condition given to the chiid as part of the study should be mentally or physicaily harmful. > Informed Consent Informed consent of the child7 it old enough7 or from the parents or Others who act on the child’s behalf (such as school officials) Should he obtained for any research. involving chiidren. Adults and children Should be free to discontinue their participation in the research at any point in time. 3‘ Privacy Confidentiaiity of the information obtained in the study must be preserved. No agencies or individuals outside of the researchers will have access to the individual participant’s records. > Knowledge qf‘Remirs Children and their parents have the right to he informed of the results of research in terms understandable to them. > Beneficial Treatments Each child who participates in the study has the right to profit from beneficiai treatn'icnts provided to other participants in the study. For example, if a child is in a control group of a study to devciop a new vaccine he is entitled to that vaccine at a later time. 35 36 HUMAN DEVELOl‘h-lENT: AN [NTEGRA'ETED Srl‘UDY OF LIFE. SPAN A close look at several oi“ these guidelines will help in understanding the ethical principles involved in research with children. THE RIGHT TO INFORMED CONSENT All major professional. organiza— tions hold that people should participate voluntarily, should he hilly informed of the nature and possible consequences of the experiment, and. should. not be offered excessive inducements such as large amounts of money. Infants and young children do not offer their consent—their parents do. It is hoped that par- ents have the best interests oi" their children in mind. Children over the age of 8 and adults should give their own consent. Researchers should be sensitive to other forms of inducement. How easily, for example, can a 9-year—old in school, or a 7U-yearold in a nursing home, say “no” to someone who looks like a teacher or an administrator (Thompson, 1990)? THE RIGHT TO PR1 VAC? OR CONFIDENTIALITY We all. have a right to privacy; therefore, we have a right to expect researchers to keep confidential information about our private lives, thoughts, and fantasies. Also, test scores must be protected from inappropriate use by those outside the research project. Test scores may be categorized using phrases like “duliinormal intelligence,” or “preu delinquent,” Or “weak ego ctmtrol,” or “impulsive.” Such lahels shared with par- ents, teachers, or employers can easily be misinterpreted. Labels can become self- l'hltiliing; if teachers are told that a child has limited. intelligence, they may treat the child in a way that makes that description come true. THE RIGHT TO PROTECTION FROM PSYCHOLOGICAL HARM Everyone agrees that researchers should never knowingly harm their subjects. While physical injury is easily avoided, it is often difficult to determine What is psychologically harmful. For example, in studies of obedience, is it reasonable to give children orders just to see if they will follow them? In the numerous studies. of infants’ responses to novelty, is it reasonable to expose children for long peri- ods to increasingly novel items? Another example concerns test failure. Sometimes a researcher wants to demonstrate that a 7~year—old can understand a particular concept but a 5~year— old cannot, All the S«year~old children, knowingly or unknowingly, experience repeated failure. Should children have to go through the needless confusion of trying to solve what, for them, are unsolvabie problems? How does one debriei‘ such children or make them feel that they did well no matter what the outcome? Most research organizations currently have screening committees to make sure that their studies are not harmful to the participants. Federal guidelines for social and psychological research with children specify that the study should have only minimal risk: that is, risk of harm no greater than that experienced in daily life or in the perlbrmance of routine psychological tests (HHS, 3.983). These screening committees are becoming more stringent in their protection of the par— ticipants. Many committees, for example, feel that they have a responsibilityto protect people’s rights to seliiiesteem and. to expose them only to test situations that will enhance their self-concept (Thompson, 1990). BENEFITS TC) THE PARTICIPANT it may not be enough for researchers to seek the voluntary informed consent of their participants, respect their confiden~ CHAPTER ONE ‘ CHILD DEVELOPMENT: PERSPECTIVES, PROCESSES, AND RESEARCH METHODS 37 riality, and protect them from physical and psychological harm. Perhaps researchers need to supply some positive benefits to individuals in return for their participation. At the very least, perhaps researchers should try to make participa— tion hm, interesting, or informative, or to create a positive situation in which the person can be heard, supported, understood, and respecte d. The rights of partici— pants in research are still being explored and defined. Indeed, many studies con! i “The goal. of studying child development is the discovery and understanding of common processes and major influences from conception through adolescence Those of us who study child development consider the impact of historical change, socioeconomic factors, and cross cultural factors on the children who are exposed to them. But the process is complementary. Not only do cultural and social factors affect the children who are exposed to them, but they also help to shape attitudes toward the children. Attitudes toward children, and the child—rearing practices associated with them, have not only changed historically, but vary across different cultural and socioe— conomic groups. Both biology and environment influence develop- ment to produce change in the structure, thought, or behavior of a person. Development occurs in three differ ent domains of a child’s existence: the physical, cognitive, - and psychological domains. Some of the changes are pri4 marily biological in nature, while others are more strongly environmentally determined. In practice, how- ever, much of development involves an interaction between heredity and environment as we shall see in Chapter 3. Pet its to be able to fully understand develops flight, we must systematically study it using the Scien— UIIC Method. Measures must be reliable and valid to “Sure that the results of research are dependable and conststent. Various measures have been used to assess various aspecrs of development. These include self“ “Ports, such as interviews and questionnaires; such l3roicctive techniques reveal an individual’s inner feel— ”?g5 and attitudes by asking the person to respond to Situations, pictures, and so forth. Case studies have also bell“ found. to reveal rich material on development. sidcred permissible even two decades ago are no longer viewed as ethical. Problems with all of these techniques include the. sub- jectivity of their responses, the lack of control of vari— ables, and the fact that they are limited to the study of one individual. Research designs which allow precise measure ment of behavior have evolved in the laboratory and naturalistic settings. Various sorts of designs have evolved to study development: crossmsectional designs, which test people of different ages at one time; longitu- dinal designs, which test the same people repeatedly at different ages; and timeulag designs, which test people the same chronological age in different years, for exam- ple, 5~yearwolds in 1950, 1970, and 1990. Sequential/age cohort studies present a combination of these three approaches. Despite the greater control possible through experi- mental design, certain barriers still exist to interpreting the data correctly. Factors serving as barriers to good research include the researcher’s objectivity, sensitivity to detail, and the selection of an appropriate level of analy4 sis. Furthermore, unless the variables have been operav tionally defined, conclusions may not be replicable. We must also be careful to avoid confusing correlation ( the relationship between two variables) and causation. Some- times two variables may he very closely related, yet nei— ther causes the other. Finally, in testing vulnerable individuals such as children, it is essential to keep in mind generally accepted ethical principles. Such principles include. voluntary con sent, the right to privacy or confidentiality, the freedom from psychological harm, and the right to receive any beneficial results because of the experiment. W’e need to always safeguard the cognitive, emotional, and physical health of those children we study. ...
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