Sunday, April 15, 2012

What I learned about Research

I have learned a great deal about research through this class.  I had always thought of research as something done my scientists in a lab somewhere or in a foreign country studying a lost tribe of indigenous people.  It was exciting to do our own little mini research projects.  Walking through each step of the project I learned the different ways that the design affects the outcome and which types of studies are best for certain types of questions. 

While the research project I designed was very simple and compact, I learned that there were still a lot of steps to be taken and information to be gained, even in a small project.  I was very interested in the ethics behind the research process.  When you look at the relationship between researcher and participant, you do see the power the text talks about.  I was impressed that current research included people to strive for equity in that relationship.

The greatest challenge in my own research was validating the results.  In quantitative research findings are subject to validation through man aspects, one aspect is reductionism.  This means breaking everything down to its simplest form so that all of the terms used are completely understood by all and the researchers are all able to get the same results.  Because my project was about prosocial behavior, I needed to define exactly which behaviors would be used for the purpose of this project.

I don’t know that my perception of early childhood professionals has changed, however I now have a deeper understanding of how research is used in our profession.  I also realize that there are many career opportunities for child development professionals in the research field.  I don’t that is a path I personally will take, but you never know!