Site MapHelpFeedbackGlossary
(See related pages)

scientific method  The use of measurable and replicable techniques in framing hypotheses and collecting and analyzing data to test a theory's usefulness.
sample  A group of individuals who are representative of a larger population.
representativeness  The degree to which a sample actually possesses the characteristics of the larger population it represents.
national survey  A method of sampling in which a very large, national representative group of people are selected for a particular study.
self-report  Information that people provide about themselves, either in a direct interview or in some written form, such as a questionnaire.
direct observation  A method of observation in which researchers go into settings in the natural world to observe behaviors of interest.
speciman record  A technique by which researchers record everything a person does within a given period of time.
event sampling  A technique by which investigators record subjects' behavior only when an event of particular interest occurs, not at other times.
time sampling  A technique by which researchers record any of a set of predetermined behaviors that occur within a specified time period.
structured observation  A form of observation in which researchers structure a situation so that behaviors they wish to study are more likely to occur.
correlational method  A research design that permits investigators to establish relationships among variables as well as the strength of those relationships.
correlation coefficient  A numerical measure of how closely two factors are related to each other.
laboratory experiment  A research design that allows investigators, through controlling variables and treatments and assigning participants randomly to treatments, to determine cause and effect.
experimental group  In a formal experiment, the group that is exposed to the treatment, that is, the independent variable.
control group  In a formal experiment, the group that is not exposed to the treatment, that is, the independent variable.
random assignment  The technique by which researchers assign individuals randomly to either an experimental or a control group.
independent variable  The variable, or factor, that researchers deliberately manipulate in a formal experiment.
dependent variable  The variable, or factor, that researchers expect to change as a function of change in the independent variable.
ecological validity  The degree to which a research study accurately represents events and processes that occur in the natural world.
laboratory analogue experiment  An experiment in which investigators try to duplicate in the laboratory features or events of everyday life.
field experiment  An experiment in which researchers deliberately create a change in a real-world setting and then measure the outcome of their manipulation.
observer bias  The tendency of researchers-observers to be influenced in their judgments by their knowledge of the hypotheses guiding the research.
natural experiment  An experiment in which researchers measure the results of events that occur naturally in the real world.
case study method  A form of research in which investigators study individual persons.
ABAB design  A technique in which an experimental treatment is administered, withdrawn, and readministered in order to measure its effects. Also called a reversal design.
cross-sectional method  A research method in which researchers compare groups of individuals of different age levels at approximately the same point in time.
longitudinal method  A method in which investigators study the same people repeatedly at various times in the participants' lives.
age cohort  People born within the same generation.
sequential method  A research method that combines features of both the cross-sectional and the longitudinal methods.
informed consent  Agreement to participate in a research study that is based on a clear and full understanding of the purposes and procedures of that study.

Child PsychologyOnline Learning Center

Home > Chapter 2 > Glossary