Developmental Psychology provides student readers with essential help in all aspects of their first course in developmental psychology, including advice on revising exams, preparing and writing course assessment materials, and enhancing and progressing their knowledge and skills in line with course requirements on a developmental psychology course.

Research Methods in Developmental Psychology

Research methods in developmental psychology

Core Areas

  • Case study
  • Cohort effects
  • Cross-sectional research
  • Dependent variable
  • Ethics
  • Experimental method
  • Experiments
  • Independent variable
  • Interviews
  • Longitudinal research
  • Matched pairs
  • Observation
  • Questionnaires
  • Reliability
  • Scientific method
  • Validity

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section you should be able to:

  • define the key research method terms;
  • acknowledge the advantages and disadvantages of using these various methods to investigate child development;
  • understand the ethical issues involved in researching children.

Running Themes

  • Ethics
  • Transformational change
  • Variational change


Research with children can be conducted using a cross-sectional or longitudinal method.

Cross-sectional research is that which studies children of varying ages simultaneously. Cohort effects should be allowed for, since social change experienced by a group of varying ages may alter what is found.

Longitudinal research, on the other hand, studies data from each individual over a longer time period.

As in other areas of psychology, research in the ...

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