Developmental Methodology


I would love to see another Developmental Methodology special topic meeting, covering advances in the field which have occurred since

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I agree! I think having methods meetings helps disseminate the newest techniques as well as the type of research that is being done using developmental methods. There is a strong developmental methods community and it often get relegated to workshops at the larger meetings instead of the substantive issues–like longitudinal measurement problems.


Developmental methods include qualitative methods, and mixed methods - the integration of qualitative and quantitative methods in a study to broaden and deepen our understanding of a topic. Pluralism in the definition of what is a “method” and in the use of methods, is growing in the social sciences and in child development as well. This can also include conceptualization of a topic, exploration and discovery phases of a study, samples, design, analysis plans, and publication and dissemination of findings.


I appreciate this point, especially given the role of qualitative research in theory-building and the role it can play in developing solid quantitative measures, e.g., the instrumental role of Ainsworth’s fieldwork in developing the Strange Situation Procedure.


Yes, and I think the longitudinal measurement issues you mentioned themselves could be enough for their own special topic meeting, with attention given to issues like the ones in the two articles referenced below:

  • Edwards, M. C., & Wirth, R. J. (2009). Measurement and the study of change. Research in Human Development, 6 (2-3), 74-96.
  • Curran, P. J. (2014). Commentary: The critical role of measurement (and space elevators) in the study of child development. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 39 (2), 258. doi:10.1093/jpepsy/jst145

I’d like the idea of a meeting focused on longitudinal measurement issues, grappling with how to handle achieving longitudinal measurement invariance when the construct cannot be measured the same way across childhood. To tackle this issue, we need methodological advances statistically, but we also need to be thinking about how we can do a better job adjusting our measures in a developmentally appropriate manner in a way that is truly measuring the same construct across childhood on the same metric, so that the scores we’re producing are appropriate for use in a growth curve model.