How do researchers study human development?

State in a few sentences what the issue is. For example if the issue is genetic testing, you might talk about why one would or would not choose genetic testing.
Instead of producing an essay that supports your point, next you will include links to one or two resources that deal with this issue. The resource(s) could support your point or be sources of more information; one source could take the opposite point of view than the one you stated; they could provide more information on the topic in the form of a video, text, or a demonstration. One resource may be sufficient for answering a question; however if there are multiple sides to the issue or it is complex, you may need to reference two sources. Wikipedia and are never acceptable sources; however you do not need to use academic peer-reviewed sources, either. You may use a youtube video, for example, as long as you evaluate its content and reliability (see #5, below). Your textbook is an acceptable source, but I encourage you to also find sources beyond your textbook. Do not use your textbook for every topic; using it for more than two topics in a portfolio may affect your grade.
The reference for each link should be in APA citation format. See
After each reference, you should provide a few sentences describing the resource. Include a summary of what the resource contains, why it’s helpful or useful, if it supports or opposes your point, etc. You might want to think of this as an annotated electronic bibliography or an exam-review sheet that you have notated so that you can study from it. For your reference, here are some example responses from previous students.
Finally, at the end of all of the questions for the portfolio, reflect on the information you have gathered. Write a paragraph or two evaluating what you have found, what ideas were useful or inspiring, what ideas bothered you or you disagreed with. You can evaluate the quality of information you found, as well.
Questions and Topics for Section 1: Beginnings through Birth
What is the science of human development; what does it attempt to understand?
How do researchers study human development? What are some ethical issues or other complications surrounding developmental research, particularly with infants and children? What methodologies are effective
How does culture influence development? Can you give an example?
Development is also multicontextual. What are some ecological contexts that influence development.
In Erikson’s psychosocial theory of development, what determines development? Is this a helpful way of examining development?
How do theories of behaviorism (classical conditioning, social learning theory, operant conditioning: reinforcement/punishment) explain development? Are they helpful or useful?
How would Piaget characterize development? Are his ideas or more modern ideas of cognitive theorists a helpful way of examining development?
Vygotsky (sociocultural) emphasized scaffolding and the zone of proximal development. In what ways might you apply his ideas?
What is unique about stem cells? What are some of the issues surrounding stem cells?
How do nature and nurture interact to determine what genetic traits are expressed?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of genetic testing? Why do people need genetic counselors?
What are some assisted reproduction technologies/procedures? What are some ethical, emotional and financial issues surrounding them?
Address teratogens or birth complications. You could discuss prevention, types of complications, impairments, etc.
How is the age of fetal viability determined? What are the risks associated with such early births? Premature infants are surviving at younger and younger ages; what are some of the ethical issues surrounding this?
Where, how and when does birth happen? There are many answers to this question. Explore some of the options or address one particular issue in this arena. Some possibilities include C-sections, homebirths, elective inductions, and birth attendants.
What are some things that newborns do to aid their own survival?
What are ways to support the new family – parents and baby? What kind of support is important? Who can provide support? What are potential risk factors?
Rubric for Section 1 Portfolio:
Excellent (3-4 points)
(2 points)
(1 point)
Missed the Mark (0 points)
Statement of each issue (1 point each)

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