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To enrich your learning experience with , a final paper is assigned. For this paper, you will first find a topic of interest (see the “Project Ideas” document for more information about potential topics), conduct your observation, interview, and/or experiment on an infant or a child (no older than middle childhood, around age 11), record the results of what you had them do, and complete the instructions below. This paper should be double-spaced and 4 to 6 pages long (title page and references do not count toward the page count).
Topic choice and subject of observation
The topic for observation, interview, and/or experimentation is flexible. Any aspect of child development is suitable. If you do not have any idea, you can take a look at the “Final Paper Ideas” file (attached to this module and also available in Dropbox). You can pick one child (e.g., children in a kindergarten or a young relative) or group of children. However, you should obtain permission for your observation from the guardian of the child unless it is public behavior (e.g., playing at a public park). You may interact with the individual(s) you observe. The interactions should be carried out in an appropriate, non-intrusive manner and should be agreed by the guardian or teacher. If you are unsure about the situation, you should discuss your project with the professor.
If you are observing, interviewing, and/or designing an experiment, be sure to take detailed notes for your writing of the paper.
How to write your report:
The following points describe the essential information and the discussions that you should address in your paper. Failing to addressany of them will result in point reduction.
(1) Introduction: State your topic of observation, interview, and/or experiment. Review the literature on this topic by referring to at least two academic journal articles you find from Psycinfo. (5 points)
(2) Methodology: Describe the nature of your observation, interview, and/or experiment, including (15 points)
- Time and place of observation, interview, or experiment (3 points)
- The age, gender, and ethnicity of the child (or a group of children) you observed, interviewed, and/or conducted an experiment on. If you are unsure, take a guess (especially in the case of an observation), but base your guess on evidence (e.g., height). (3 points)
- The environment in which the child lives. If you are unsure (such as if you are observing the child), you could also use indicators of the surrounding area to provide some information, like the socioeconomic status of the area. (5 points)
- Briefly describe the instruments (e.g., measure, interview questions) you used for the study. Detailed description of the instruments can be put in an appendix at the end of the paper. (4 points)
(3) Results: Describe the results of your observation, interview, and/or experiment (20 points)
- Describe in detail the results of the interview, what behaviors you observed, and/or the results from the experiment.Organize your results and present them in a clear fashion (20 points)
(4) Discussion: Discuss your observation, interview and/or experiment (45 points)
- Compare your results to those published in journal article(s) and discribe the similarities and differences. For example, if you interviewed a child about a topic, you would then compare what he/she had to say about the topic to what someone else (i.e., researcher) has to say about the topic. There may be the chance that the results are similar and in this case you would just compare. (15 points)
- How do environmental factors benefit or hinder the child’s development on your topic? This may be supported by research findings or be speculative. You should be able to at least attest to environment factors even if the only information you have is about how well dressed or what type of neighborhood the child lives in. (15 points)
- Discuss your thoughts on how to enhance the child’s development by implementing changes to the child, the family and/or the society. Even when the child’s development is normal or typical, some changes to the environment may potentially make their development better. (15 points)
(5) Writing and reference (15 points)
- Include a title page.
- Include a subtitle for each section (introduction, method, results, discussion, and reference).
- Abstract is optional for this paper.
- Provide citations in APA style in your paper (5 points)
- Include a reference page in APA style at the end of your paper. (5 points)
- Proof read your paper before submitting it. Your paper should be written in a clear and coherent way. Poorly written paper will result in point reduction. (5 points)
Tips for the final paper:
- Find at least two academic journal articles from Psycinfo as your resources. You may include additional sources to support your arguments, but do not use website information as your source.
- No quotations from your references in your paper are allowed in this paper. Any usage of quotations from your references will result in 5 point reduction per quotation. It is only okay to use quotations from your participants in the results section but not from your references. However, please use quotations from your participants sparingly and no quote should be over 8 words.
- Write the facts or mention what an author has to say and then provide a citation. For instance, write something like “Author1, Author2, and Author3 (year) explained that x relates to y.”
- Children for this paper include the ages of 0 (newborn) to 11 years old (5th grader).
- Be sure to link your findings to class topics and research findings. Your linkage (and citation) should not be disjointed, i.e., you shouldn’t just throw in a citation because it seems good. Link the information you will put in your paper to your observation/interview/experiment.