Child Psychology and Research Methods

How science works in child psychology

You need to be able to decribe all the methods below and evaluate them with regard to their use in child psychology, reliability, validity and ethical issues. You should also be prepared to compare them with each other. Remember, when answering questions on Paper 3, always ensure that your answer is within the context of the application, i.e. “IN CHILD PSYCHOLOGY, …”
Have a go at completing this little revision acitivity to get you going, three bulletpoints on each method, why the methods are useful IN CHILD PSYCHOLOGY and an example with a quick summary: HSW methods summaries.doc

Working with children

Cast your mind back to when you watched the children in the nursery and when the mums and babies came in, think about how it is different studying children to adults and what special issues are going to be involved, this will make your answers more thoughtful and engaged.
Here are some ideas to get you thinking; this was a quick list and a little tongue in cheek but not too bad! working with child pps.doc

Observations in child psychology (naturalistic and structured/controlled observations)

Please find here a powerpoint about observations in child psychology: observation powerpoint.ppt
PGS Nursery Observation
Naturalistic Observation
Give this extract question a go; it involves reading about an example of a naturalistic observation and answering some questions about the method in general and also about this specific example. This could also be used as an example of an observation for Paper 4. You can compare this example of a naturalistic observation with Ainsworth and Bell (1978) which is an example of a structured observation. melhuish extract question NOs.doc
Structured observation
Use Ainsworth and Bell (1978) as your example here.
Example of past question and examiners mark scheme on structured observation: past questions strcutred observation.doc
Narrated powerpoint for revision: structured and naturalistic observation

Case studies in child psychology

We studied the case study method in the psychodynamic approach although don’t forget that Freud used many specific methods in his case studies which are not part of the method as used by other psychologists and approaches (e.g. free association, dream analysis).
In this topic we examined Curtiss’s case study of Genie (1977) and watched the film “Secrets of a Wild Child”; I encouraged you to read the book “Genie: A scientific trajedy” by Russ Reimer.
You also studied two other case studies Koluchova’s twins and the Freud and Dann war orphans plus Little Hans (Freud 1909) and Dibs (Axline 1964) in Year 12. All of these children were unusual in some way, suffering either from a clinical condition or from severe consequences of neglect/privation.
There are, however, other types of case study such as those conducted as part of the EPPE study on 12 day-care settings where children were judged to be particularly advanced and the centres were deemed to be examples of excllent practice requiring further exploration to investigate the factors which determined such positve outcomes.

Cross-cultural studies in child psychology

Within the topic of attachment we will look at many cross cultural studies. Ainsworth began her studies in Uganda and compared her observations within this culture to her subsequent work in Baltimore, USA. We will also look at the work of Grossman and Grossman in Germany, Sagi and also Fox who completed studies of attachment on children being raised in Kibbutz communities in Israel and Takahashi’s work in Japan. We will also look at several other studies completed in a variety of African counteries including Tronick’s study in Zaire (now known as Democratic Republic of Congo) and also work completed in China. Finally we will consider Van Ijzendoorn and Kroonenberg’s meta analysis of 32 different cultures.
This sheet describes the use of cross-cultral studies in child psychology but you must revise indvidual studies as example as well, there is a separate page about this in the content section: Cross cultural studies in child psychology[1].doc
Sample question and mark scheme from Jan 2010: past questions cross cultural studies.doc
Powerpoint: CC studies
More information about the charity featured at the end of the powerpoint:

Longitudinal studies in child psychology

We will look in greater detail at two examples of longitudinal studies, Schaffer and Emerson (1964) and Hodges and Tizard’s study of privation. We looked at longitudinal studies in year 12 and there are some sheets below that you will have had which compare cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. You will see that cross-cultural studies are in fact a form of cross-sectional study.

Do you have an example of each research method in use in child psychology?

methods and examples table.doc Use this sheet to identify exmaples that you could use to elaborate on your descriptions of differentr research methods as used in psychology. In the quick reminder section focuson making sure that you donl;t just say what they found but actually show how the researchers put this particular research method to good use to achieve their aim.

NB: In examination, you may be asked about the methods used in the application and asked to describe and evaluate, drawing on other methods both within the application and the five psychological approaches in AS.
In examination, you may be asked about the methods used in the application and asked to describe and evaluate, drawing on other methods both within the application and the five psychological approaches in AS.

Top Trumps

Create top trumps cards for each of the research methods for this topic: naturalistic observation, controlled observation, case study, cross cultural studies and longitudinal studies; cut the cards out from the worksheets below and stick onto coloured card, one card per method; on the front you will describe the method and give examples (do this in no more than 7 bulletpoints), on the back you will give the method a rating out of 50 for each of the following
  • generalisability
  • reliability
  • applications/ usefulness: (think about any practical problems that make it difficult to conduct these studies or reasons why they are really useful, e.g. natural experiemnts can be used when it would be unethicla to do the study in any other way)
  • validity (both internal and external)
  • ethics
Once you have a score for each area, add them up to give a final score for that method. When we look at these in class you will need to justify why you have given the method the rating and so you will probably want to create traditional revision notes for your evaluation as well.