Part One: Introduction
In Part One, you will be expected to introduce the topic of your essay, describe the purpose of the paper, briefly introduce the theory that will be used, and describe naturalistic observation. There is no need to describe the history or background of the theorist. The introduction should be clear, concise, and briefly outline the main sections of the paper.
Part Two: Developmental Theory - Infancy to Middle Childhood
In Part Two, you will fully examine one developmental theory applicable in this age range (e.g., Erikson, Bandura, Piaget, Kohlberg).
1. Choose one theorist from the textbook and describe this theory in full, including all relevant stages or concepts applicable to this theory.
2. Make sure to include references to three scholarly sources.
3. Complete this section of your draft paper before beginning Part Three
Part Three: Naturalistic Observation Exercise
In Part Three you will observe multiple children at play in a PUBLIC environment (e.g., community playground, Prince’s Island Park, Edworthy Park, Calgary Zoo) or at a family event.
1. You should carry out your observations at a distance and not interact in the play; try to stay seated and do not follow or approach the children.
2. Make notes of any observations over a 45- to 60-minute period. These can include differences in play styles, sensorimotor skills, social interactions between children or parents, language ability, etc. Pay attention to any child who may be reacting outside of the norm.
3. Once you have compiled this information, write a 2-3 page section in which you logically describe all of your observations. The identities of the children must be kept confidential, and do not use any physical descriptions of the children in your paper. Simply code the children using letters or numbers (e.g., Child A, Child B).
© Bow Valley College, 2014
Part Four: Discussion
In Part Four, you will integrate the developmental theory you discussed in Part Two with the naturalistic observations you made in Part Three. You must discuss how your observations did or did not conform to the theory. This section should also be 2 -3 pages in length. Some of the questions you should address are:
1. Were any observations/behaviours consistent with the theory that you described?
2. Did you observe any behaviour that may contradict this theory?
3. What (if any) difficulties did you experience while trying to collect your data?
4. Did these difficulties effect your final conclusions?
Part Five: Conclusion
Your conclusion must be a brief summary of what you learned in the paper. Did this assignment help you to better understand the theory? What are the benefits or negatives of naturalistic observation in research?