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Research and Design Methodology Essay

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Research and Design Methodology Essay

In the subject of lifespan and development, there are several different theories and methods of research. Three designs for studying development are longitudinal, cross sectional and sequential designs. Each of them has strengths and limitations. Scientists interested in human growth and development require information about the way research participants change over time. They must extend correlational and experimental approaches to include measurements at different ages to answer questions about development. Longitudinal and cross sectional designs are special developmental research strategies. In each, age comparisons form the basis of the research plan. (Berk 34.) Longitudinal design is when participants are studied repeatedly, and changes are noted as they get older. This approach has two major strengths. The first one is since it follows the performance of a person over time; the scientist can identify common patterns as well as individual differences in development. The second is that the researchers are permitted to examine relationships between early and later events and behaviors. An example of this would be The Guidance Study; where it tracks to see if children with extreme personality styles retained the same dispositions as they became adults. (Berk 34.) There are also problems when conducting longitudinal research participants might move away or drop out of research. Also due to the repetition of the study; people may become aware of their own thoughts, feelings, or actions and revise them in ways that have little to do with age related change. The most common threat is cohort effects. This is because different decades have different actions and values; these groups that are influenced by particular cultural conditions. Now researchers are using a more conventional strategy for studying development. Cross sectional design can be described as groups of people differing in age are studied at the same point in time. It is an efficient strategy for describing age related trends. Participants are only measured once. Problems with cross sectional research are that is does not provide evidence about development at the level at which it actually occurs: the individual. (Berk 36.) Like longitudinal they are both affected by cohort effects. There are improvements to developmental design. Researchers have devised ways of building on the strengths and minimizing the weaknesses of longitudinal and cross sectional approaches. (Berk 36.) One of the modified designs that resulted is sequential design. In this study they conduct several similar cross sectional or longitudinal studies at varying times. This is proven to have two advantages. They can find out if cohort effects are operating by comparing participants of the same age who were born in different years. Also they can make longitudinal and cross sectional comparisons. If the outcomes are similar, then the finding are more secure. Several similar research methods are systematic observation which is observation of behaviors of children and adults can be made in different ways. One approach is to go into the field, or natural environment and record behavior of interest. A method called naturalistic observation. Another type is self reports which ask participants to provide info on their perceptions, thoughts, abilities, feelings, attitudes, beliefs, and past experiences ranging from unstructured to highly structured interviews, questionnaires and tests. Clinical method brings together a wide range of information on one person, including interviews, observations, and sometimes test scores. Ethnography is similar to the clinical method, research is descriptive, qualitative technique, but instead of aiming to understand a single individual, its directed towards understanding a culture or a distinct social group through participant observation.

Berk, Laura E. (2010). Development Through the Lifespan. 5the edition. Pearson Publishing

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