In developmental psychology, research is often conducted using experimental meth
In developmental psychology, research is often conducted using experimental methods. Although many researchers use controlled experimental studies in a laboratory, some theorists simply observe subjects in their natural environments in order to develop their theories of development.
There are a number of well-known studies that have been conducted by both classic and more modern developmental theorists. For example, you should be aware of Piaget’s conservation studies and Bandura’s Bobo doll study. In addition, you may or may not be familiar with Walter Mischel’s Marshmallow test, which studies the development of the ability to delay gratification and to exhibit control over one’s own behavior.
Below, you will find links to Youtube videos demonstrating all three of these experimental methods. If you have any difficulty linking to these videos, please let me know.
After viewing these brief videos, you should have a fairly good idea of how developmental theories can be tested in practice. For this assignment, you will design your own methodology to test a developmental theory. You may test any concept related to developmental psychology using any age group (you are not restricted to using children just because the above videos did).
***I am not looking for a formal research proposal here (e.g., a lengthy paper/thesis outlining your proposed methodology and statistical analyses in detail). Rather, I’m looking for you to propose a “big picture” idea and to communicate it effectively and creatively.
Please use any of the following formats to report your observations: Power Point slides, narrated slideshow, or video diary (e.g., “vlog”). This assignment is not intended to be a formal writing assignment. Rather, the intent is to see you make connections between your readings and how the developmental theories we are studying in class can by tested experimentally using live subjects.
You do have some leeway in terms of the length of your submission. But, please, try to be succinct. If you’re doing a PowerPoint submission or narrated slideshow, aim for no more than 10-12 slides and no more than 10 minutes maximum (less than this guideline is acceptable as long as all the below points are clearly and fully addressed). For video blog submissions, aim for less than 10 minutes. Research demonstrates that viewers begin to lose interest if instructional videos are longer than 10 minutes (less than this guideline is acceptable as long as all the below points are clearly and fully addressed).
In your submission (whether it be in written form via slides/PowerPoint or video form), please be sure to clearly address the following topics:
1. What developmental topic of interest are you intending to investigate (e.g., cognitive development, aggression, emotional development, etc…)?
2. What population are you intending to investigate (e.g., address the age, gender, ethnicity, and location of your potential subjects)?
3. How will you recruit your subjects and obtain informed consent (from parents if the subject is under age 18 or from the subject him/herself if over age 18)?
4. Describe your hypotheses. What is/are your specific prediction(s) (e.g., Group A is predicted to be more aggressive than Group B)?
5. Describe your methodology. How will you test your hypotheses? Take the reader/viewer through the experiment step-by-step.
6. This step is optional, but encouraged. It cannot be required because of the number of deployed students for whom it may not be possible. If you can, use a “guinea pig” subject and video him/her going through your procedure. The Youtube clips above are examples of how to do this. If you choose to do so, you can either incorporate the clip into your submission or submit it separately as an additional attachment.
7. Finally, take time to ensure that your finished product is polished (no grammatical/spelling errors in written work, no grammatical issues or unclear language in video submissions), flows well, and looks professional. While you aren’t expected to submit Spielberg-quality films, your submission should be at least as professional-appearing as reasonable videos seen on YouTube or PowerPoint presentations made in a work setting.