Essay Sample on Research Methods in Developmental Psychology

Published: 2023-04-01
Essay Sample on Research Methods in Developmental Psychology
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Research Developmental psychology
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 996 words
9 min read

A research method is a procedure or technique utilized by researchers to select, organize, and analyze data while research a specific topic. Many research methods can be used in psychology in general as well as in developmental psychology. The type of techniques used varies depending on the epistemological approach adopted by the research, the nature of the study, and the subject of study. In most cases, when the subject of study involves human beings, research methods such as interviews and questionnaires. These methods are used when the affected individuals are required to respond. The problem with these methods, however, is the fact that it cannot be used among infants and young children's development. Child development is an exciting field to study; however, the care must be taken to study them effectively. This essay, however, provides solutions to these problems by giving alternative research methods that can be used to study development among children and infants.

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The reason for picking this chapter is because it provides critical knowledge and skills on how to deal with infants and children. Living with infants calls for constant investigation of their conditions and behavior in their developmental stage to provide children with the best welfare. Since infants are not able to communicate with adults using a universal language, it is critical to understand the best way of understanding them. Secondly, the reasoning level of adults and children differs at a great length, thus making it necessary to look for a way of understanding their behaviors and logic behind those behaviors. Besides, selecting children to be used in a study comes with its challenges (Curran, 2019). The chapter gives adults and researchers valuable knowledge and insight on various research methods that can be used in dealing with children.

Before deciding on the research methods, a researcher should first develop a research design. Due to the uniqueness of children compared to adults selecting the way of collecting and analyzing data is quite complicated. Since research design is the blueprint of research, it dictates the methods in collecting data. Two types of research designs are typically used by researchers: longitudinal and cross-sectional research designs. The reason for using this research design is because of the apparent changes in the developmental behavior of children over time (Curran, 2019). The two research designs used, therefore, allow researchers to categorize children based on their similar characteristics such as age and gender. The two research designs can also be combined to come up with an additional research design: sequential research design. It is these three research designs that determine the methods of collecting data in research involving infants.

The same research methods cannot be used to study both adults and children. There special research methods that are used to study children. These researcher methods are categorized into three types, namely: psychophysiological responses, obligatory or involuntary responses, and voluntary responses.

The involuntary or obligatory response is a technique of collecting data by observing the way children respond involuntarily to stimuli in their environment. Children react to stimuli without making a choice. An example of a method that relies on obligatory responses is habituation. Habituation is a method where a stimulus is presented to infants until he/she gets bored. The method is used to research the perception of children on a realistic and unrealistic phenomenon. Children tend to be more intrigued by things that are impossible (Curran, 2019).

Voluntary responses research methods involve the observation of children's voluntary responses. For instance, to study recall memory of children, scientist relies on their voluntary responses. An example of research that depends on voluntary response is when a child is required to recall specific steps or information (Curran, 2019). Psychophysiology, on the other hand, is a research method that does not rely on behavior but scientifically measurable activities such as brain activity, hormone levels, and heart rate. Event-related potentials (EPRs), used fitted to the infants so that the sensors in the gadget will record psychophysiological data about the child in response to stimuli. EPRs provide critical information on how infants understand the world. Data about infants can also be collected by involving an adult who knows about the infant (Curran, 2019). These methods include the use of parent-report questionnaires and interview techniques.

The research design adopted by the researcher determines the research method be used. The longitudinal research design involves studying the same group of children over different periods, to examine the change in their behavior. However, when research is studying infants of various ages for comparison, the cross-sectional research design is used. However, in cases where infants of different ages are studied together under one sample of the study, a sequential research design is used (Curran, 2019). Each of the three research design has its advantages and disadvantages.

Researching infants, however, have its share of challenges. These challenges arise from factors such as recruitment issues, ethical concerns, and participant attrition. In terms of ethical concerns, in all other research that involves people are participants, these respondents must be informed about the reason for the study while seeking their consent. For infants, however, it is not possible to seek their approval, therefore, posing an ethical problem. In terms of recruitment, it not easy to recruit infants to participate in research (Curran, 2019). The reason is that it is not possible to find a group of infants who are gathered together, especially after they have been discharged from the hospital after their birth. Lastly, it is difficult to determine if allowing an infant or a young child to participate in research is attrition, especially in terms of the pressure that is exerted on the participant.

From the above discussion, it is evident that research methods used study the psychological development of children varies from those used in studying adults. For infants, research methods such as involuntary response, voluntary response and psychophysiology research method are used. However, for research methods, longitudinal, cross-sectional, and sequential methods are commonly used.


Curran, P. (2019). Extra chapters from NOBA 2.1a: The supplemental chapters. DEF Publishers.

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