1st Edition

Research Foundations of Human Development and Family Science Science versus Nonsense

By Kathleen D. Dyer Copyright 2022
    308 Pages 21 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    308 Pages 21 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) is an interdisciplinary and applied field that draws from developmental science, family science, and other social sciences. Research Foundations of Human Development and Family Science is a textbook that provides an introduction to the diverse scientific research methods that form the foundation of scholarship and practice in HDFS.

    In Part I, Kathleen D. Dyer explores science. She distinguishes empirical scientific research from common sense and from knowledge gained from personal experience. This section also includes a discussion of the strategies used by pseudoscience to exploit the well-deserved credibility of science, providing relevant examples. Part II examines systematic empiricism through sampling and measurement. HDFS scholars use a wide array of measurement tools, including self-report (interviews, questionnaires, and self-report tasks), observations (participant, naturalistic, and structured), objective tests, physiological measures, and several types of archival records. Part III introduces the use of study design to achieve falsifiability in scientific research, including an overview of various orientations to time used in research as well as four different study designs: qualitative, prevalence, correlational, and experimental. Finally, Part IV addresses the public verifiability of science, including how scientific consensus is developed, the use of literature reviews to identify convergence of evidence, and how scientific literacy translates into evidence-based professional practice.

    Illustrated throughout with studies foundational to the discipline as examples of the strategies described in the text, Research Foundations for Human Development and Family Science is a comprehensive, accessible core textbook for undergraduate research methods classes in HDFS. It introduces the discipline of HDFS and challenges students to understand the limitations of common sense and the threat of pseudoscience for those work professionally with children and families.

    Part I: Human Development and Family Science 1. Isn’t it Just Common Sense? Professional Expertise in HDFS 2. My Hairdresser’s Cousin’s Kid: Evidence from Personal Experiences 3. Skeptically Interrogating the Universe: Science as a Verb 4. Stealing the Good Name of Science: How Pseudoscience Fakes It Part II: Systematic Empiricism Through Sampling and Measurement 5. It Depends on Whom You Ask: Study Subjects and Sampling Issues 6. What Do You Mean by That? Conceptualizing the Variables 7. Tell Me How it Is: Self-Report Measures 8. Just Act Natural: Observational Measures 9. More Than One Way to Cook an Egg: Other Measurement Strategies Part III: Falsifiability Through Study Design 10. First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage: Orientations to Time 11. What is That All About? Qualitative Designs to Produce Insight 12. How Often Does That Happen? Prevalence Research Designs to Describe Variables 13. Where There is Smoke, Is There Fire? Correlational Research Designs to Identify Relationships 14. We Just Want to Know if it Works: Experimental Designs to Determine Causation Part IV: Public Verifiability for Evidence-Based Practice 15. On the Shoulders of Giants: Convergence and Consensus 16. Scientific Literacy for Professional Practice in HDFS


    Kathleen D. Dyer is professor of child and family science at the California State University, Fresno. Her research is in the areas of parenting and infant sleep, as well as critical thinking in higher education.

    "Written in an accessible and thorough style, Dr. Kathleen Dyer’s Research Foundations of HDFS is well suited for undergraduate and graduate students, practitioners, and family scientists in a variety of disciplines that seek to answer pressing research questions about human development, families, and interpersonal relationships. Dyer offers a truly interdisciplinary overview of the history and guiding epistemologies of family science, as well as the various approaches to research design utilized by family scientists. Using detailed practical examples, Dyer describes in a truly balanced way the strengths and goals of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods approaches to the scientific study of human development and families. Highly recommended for methods, research design, and logic of inquiry courses in any field that centers the scientific understanding of family life!" Jennifer Randles, Professor of Sociology, California State University, Fresno

    "Research Foundations of HDFS needed to be written and thankfully Dr. Dyer has fulfilled this mission.  To my knowledge, this is the first research methods textbook written about HDFS by an HDFS-trained scholar.  And, what a book she has written!  Dr. Dyer lays out research methods, always with a focus on HDFS, in a most engaging manner.  As I read through the book, I could not put it down, as the examples and case studies, in particular, are extremely interesting, engaging, timely, and informative.  What makes this book so unique and special is her willingness to so clearly distinguish between sound science and pseudoscience, and her ability to show how damaging pseudoscience can be and has been so often in the past.  This book should be required reading for all HDFS students, particularly undergraduates, although the book would also be useful for students from other disciplines as well."  Mark Fine, HDFS, University of North Carolina, Greensboro

    "This engaging book provides a creative, original, and witty foundation for understanding research methods in HDFS. It covers a wide range of methods in just the right amount of detail. Especially valuable are the chapters that guide students toward learning to distinguish valid research from pseudoscientific nonsense, a skill that is essential in our time. Students will learn from this book both how to do research and how to read research with a critical eye." Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, Psychology, Clark University


    "Sometimes what seems like common sense is actually common nonsense. In Research Foundations of HDFS, Kathleen Dyer teaches how to think critically, and think better. Her book is a smart and pleasing way to gain important scientific literacy." Elizabeth Loftus, Psychological Science & Criminology, University of California, Irvine