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Exploring Social and Communicative Development in Infancy and Early Childhood through Process-Relati

Paper Goals

Paper Goals (Please read this carefully)
1. Present ideas from the course in an accessible and engaging way to a general audience. For example, you may think of your paper as an article for a parenting magazine or for teachers.

2. Apply the theoretical concepts and/or debates that you learned about in the course to real life.With this aim, we strongly encourage you to make an observation out in the world and discuss this observation within the context of your selected topic. Observation is important in this assignment because we want you to learn how to see what is going on around you in terms of ideas about human development discussed in this course, and this means applying the ideas. If it is not possible for you to make an observation in public, you may analyze a publically available online video as long the interpretation is your own and that the video is not already presented as an illustration of the theory or concept you are discussing.

3. Take the perspective of the course (i.e., the process-relational perspective) when presenting your topic and using theoretical concepts to describe and explain your observation. This means that some of the material discussed in this course will not be suitable for the paper. Only write about material that can be written about from a process-relational perspective.

4. This is a course about development. The focus should be on explaining development, not just describing what children can do at different ages.

This project is best suited for the topic of social and communicative development in infancy and early childhood. This is because of the nature of the observations and that no use of particular tests are required, and also because these topics are covered in the course before the paper is due. However, you may choose from any of the major topics covered in this course (for clarification, see the syllabus), as long as you bring in ideas from the course in your approach to the topic. If you choose to write about any of the Vygotsky content, please ensure that your observation is one that would be illustrative of his general theory. That is, Vygotsky is interested in the development of higher mental functions, not learning purely physical skills. If you are unsure whether your topic or observation is appropriate, you can always ask me (Beau).

? Remember that your intended audience is the general public. Therefore, you must explain and define the terms, concepts, and arguments you use in simple language.
? Make sure that you explain clearly how your observation illustrates or relate to the theories/concepts you are explaining. Your observation should help your reader to better understand the theoretical content.
? In addition to the course readings, make sure you cite at least two scholarly references published in peer-reviewed journals or scholarly books, which you have read (do not cite textbooks or blogs).
? Because of the length of the paper, we advise taking on one or two related ideas/concepts from the course and exploring these in depth. If you want to write about two ideas/concepts, make sure they’re closer related within development. A useful heuristic might be whether both ideas/ concepts are present in the same observation.


? Length: approximately 1,200 words of text, not including references. Papers which are 100 words under or over will be penalized.
? Use APA format: Times New Roman, 12 pt, and double spaced, with a title and reference section, but no title page, abstract, etc. is required.
? Feel free to get creative with the paper format. You may write it as a conversation, an interview, an article, etc. Or, you may write it in a typical paper format.
? Pay attention to how you organize your paper and that it has good flow. It is best to provide a “road map” in the intro and then follow that in the rest of the paper. It is generally inadvisable to leave your reader in the dark regarding your intentions for the paper.


? Make sure that you know what plagiarism is and don’t do it (see links in the syllabus).
? Unless the specific wording is necessary, avoid using quotes. Quotes should be explained, and their implications explored, not used in lieu of explanations. Paraphrase instead. When consent is required for the observation(s)
? Observations can be made in public places, such as at playgrounds, on the street, or on the bus, as long as appropriate distance is maintained.
? You should remember your training in ethical principles from your methodology course. There must be no intervention or direct interaction with the individuals observed, and the observation should not allow identification of specific individuals.
? In some cases, it might be possible to use retrospective observations from a past experience if you can remember enough detail. In this case you should check with your TA or instructor.
? If you wish to use an observation of children who you know, or the context is not in a public space and the parent and child could expect privacy, then you must first discuss this with the instructor or TA because this requires permission from the parents.
Ingredients for a Good Paper (aka what you will be graded on)


? Additional References
o Have a reference page with 2 additional references from peer-reviewed articles or chapters in scholarly books.
o References add something beyond what has been discussed in course material
? i.e., not merely references for ideas discussed in class
o Well integrated with the paper
? i.e., not merely tacked on at the end or unrelated to the central focus of the paper


? Writing
o Good spelling and Grammar
o Proper APA formatting (see above for requirements)
o Good composition, organization, and flow of the paper
o The paper is well focused and coherent


? Observation
o Make sure the observation is a good illustration of the concept/idea/theory you are presenting. That is, if someone were to ask you to provide an example of what you’re talking about, would this be an appropriate and good example?
o Make sure to identify the characteristics of the observed interaction that are theoretically relevant while providing a detailed description of these characteristics based on objective behavioral criteria


? Analysis
o Make sure to analyze the observation within the framework of the theory/concepts selected in a way that is appropriate (i.e., consistent with the theory/concepts) and with depth.
o Make sure to use concepts correctly.
o Make sure to explain the theoretical/conceptual framework in a way that is correct and informative, and in a way that is accessible to a general audience without losing any depth or nuance

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