Glossary of Child Development: Chapter 2 (Studying Child Development)
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- Age-history confound
- In longitudinal studies, the co-occurrence of historical factors with changes in age; affects the ability to interpret results.
- Case study
- In-depth description of psychological characteristics and behaviors of an individual, often in the form of a narrative.
- Clinical method
- Flexible, open-ended interview method in which questions are modified in reaction to the child’s responses.
- Cohort effects
- Characteristics shared by individuals growing up in a given sociohistorical context that can influence developmental outcomes.
- Correlation coefficient
- Statistical measure, ranging from +1.00 to -1.00, that summarizes the strength and direction of the relationship between two variables; does not provide information about causation.
- Correlational study
- Study that assesses whether changes in one variable are accompanied by systematic changes in another variable.
- Cross-cultural study
- Study that compares individuals in different cultural contexts.
- Cross-sectional study
- A study in which individuals of different ages are examined at the same point in time.
- Providing research participants with a statement of the true goals of a study after initially deceiving them or omitting information about its purposes.
- Dependent variable
- Dependent variableBehavior that is measured; suspected effect of an experimental manipulation.
- Set of methods, including observations and interviews, used by researchers to describe the behaviors and underlying meaning systems within a given culture.
- Experimental design
- Research method in which one or more independent variables are manipulated to determine the effect on other, dependent variables.
- Field experiment
- Experiment conducted in a "natural," real-world setting such as the child’s home or school.
- Independent variable
- Variable manipulated by the experimenter; the suspected cause.
- Informed consent
- Participant’s formal acknowledgment that he or she understands the purposes, procedures, and risks of a study and agrees to participate in it.
- Longitudinal study
- Research in which the same participants are repeatedly tested over a period of time, usually years.
- Statistical examination of a body of research studies to assess the effect of the common central variable.
- Naturalistic observation
- Study in which observations of naturally occurring behavior are made in real-life settings.
- Negative correlation
- Relationship in which changes in one variable are accompanied by systematic changes in another variable in the opposite direction.
- Observer bias
- Tendency of researchers to interpret ongoing events as being consistent with their research hypotheses.
- Operational definition
- Specification of variables in terms of measurable properties.
- Participant reactivity
- Tendency of individuals who know they are under observation to alter natural behavior.
- Positive correlation
- Relationship in which changes in one variable are accompanied by systematic changes in another variable in the same direction.
- Study in which the assignment of individuals to experimental groups is determined by their natural experiences.
- Set of standardized questions administered to individuals in written form.
- Random assignment
- Use of principles of chance to assign participants to treatment and control groups; avoids systematic bias.
- Degree to which a measure will yield the same results if administered repeatedly.
- Scientific method
- Use of objective, measurable, and repeatable techniques to gather information.
- Sequential study
- Study that examines groups of children of different ages over a period of time; usually shorter than a longitudinal study.
- Single-case design
- Study that follows only one or a few participants over a period of time, with an emphasis on systematic collection of data.
- Structured interview
- Standardized set of questions administered orally to participants.
- Structured observation
- Study in which behaviors are recorded as they occur within a situation constructed by the experimenter, usually in the laboratory.
- Stable, early-appearing constellation of individual personality attributes believed to have a hereditary basis; includes sociability, emotionality, and activity level.
- Degree to which an assessment procedure actually measures the variable under consideration.
- Factor having no fixed or constant value in a given situation.
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