By Carol Brown
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Additional info for Developmental psychology
Since the essay does not simply require a list but needs you to expand upon why the research you have covered supports the given argument, you should not only report the study but go on to reflect your understanding of its relevance. Some evidence for nature comes, for example, from Fantz’s work, that of Gibson and Walk and from the stages of early development. qxd 1/10/2008 4:23 PM Page 45 PERCEPTUAL DEVELOPMENT studies. Notes of caution about the ecological validity and ethics of such work can be mentioned before drawing an overall conclusion which should reflect the interactionist viewpoint that innate abilities are developed as a result of interaction with the environment/experience.
The difficulty comes, however, with generalising findings from an individual more widely, and here reliability and validity can be questionable not least because the researcher-participant relationship is often closer than would be the case for other research methods. qxd 1/10/2008 4:23 PM Page 27 RESEARCH METHODS IN DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY Questionnaires A questionnaire uses various types of questions to make a quick and efficient assessment of people’s attitudes. It may contain the following question types: Fixed choice/closed-ended Questions These are questions for which limited answers are available, for example, ‘yes’/‘no’, or on a scale from ‘strongly disagree’ to ‘strongly agree’ (a Likert scale).
Participant Observes participants in their natural environment but observes and participates in the group being studied. High ecological validity as researcher truly experiences the situation. Ethical issues as above. Subject to experimenter effects as researcher will find it harder to remain unbiased if a participant in the situation. Handy Hint! Data collection Can be done using notes, tape recordings, video recordings or oneway mirrors. These methods vary in their usefulness because, for example, notes are easy but other important information may be missed while writing.