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Observation and experiment as the main research methods in developmental psychology

The main research methods of developmental psychology and developmental psychology are methods of collecting facts, ascertaining trends, and the dynamics of mental development that unfolds over time.

At the initial stage of the development of child psychology (in the second half of the XIX - beginning of the X X centuries), it was primarily a method of observation. Researchers (including biologists and psychologists T. Tideman, I. Ten, C. Darwin, V. Preyer) tracked the individual development of their own children, sought to record the real course of child development in natural conditions.



So, in Russia in 1879, the magazine “Family and School” turned to parents and educators with a proposal to report their personal observations of the lives of young children and thereby contribute to the construction of child psychology. In response to this, materials were presented in the journal (observations of ten children, mainly from the first birthday to 5-6 years), which made it possible to determine some features of children's development and compare them with the data obtained by foreign scientists.

In the future, N.N. assumed the task of collecting parental diaries. Lange, who introduced his calendar of development of the mental life of the child. “In two ways, such notes would be useful,” he pointed out, “firstly, for the parents themselves, because in this way you can learn to accurately observe your child and correctly explain his mental life, and secondly, for the further development of the child’s scientific psychology ".
This appeal did not go unanswered. Some results of parental observations were published at the end of the XIX century. and developed further.

Significant attention to the issues of keeping diaries of child development was given by the Pedagogical Museum. ON THE. Rybnikov, editor of the Pedagogical Library series, noted with regret the "poverty of Russian pedagogical literature on the spiritual development of the child", the "unknown to science" of a child under 5 - 6 years of age. In one of the episodes of series 2, for example, notes are written by father N. Sokolov on the development of his son Boris from birth to 5 years. Rybnikov draws readers' attention to interesting factual data on the individual course of development, which indicate the uneven pace of early development, the combination of processes of progress and regression, the uniqueness of children's speech and thought, etc.

However, the drawbacks of the “unsophisticated” notes of parents who did not have special training are obvious — the lack of a pre-compiled program, the uncertainty of tasks, the unsystematic nature of observations and the incomplete notes, etc. The observations were carried out with different goals and were poorly comparable with each other, subjectively significant facts and lines of development were often emphasized.
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Observation and experiment as the main research methods in developmental psychology

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