Social Development Research Seminar

Intermediate—Spring

The goal of this course is to have each student propose and conduct an original piece of research within the broad sphere of social development in childhood and adolescence. It is intended for students who have done a previous conference project in the social sciences that raised interesting questions for them, questions that could be addressed by taking the next step of conducting their own study on the subject. The work could be done, for example, through quantitative testing, observation, direct interviews, or questionnaires. The course will be divided into three parts: First, we will read a range of past studies that exemplify different types of research approaches to the study of children and adolescents and discuss the strengths and possible weaknesses of each approach; at the same time, in conference, each student will begin the planning process for her/his own study. Second, each student will take turns serving as the facilitator of class discussion by assigning the readings for that particular week (on studies relevant to her/his own project) while sharing with the class the current progress on her/his research ideas; in turn, the rest of the class will serve as a “working group,” providing feedback and helpful suggestions on each project. The third and final portion of the course will involve students presenting the findings of their studies. Prerequisite: a prior course in psychology.

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