Directed Research

Directed Research

CDV 498 - Directed Research

The Directed Research course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to integrate their knowledge of child development from different courses through their work as an undergraduate research assistant with a faculty mentor. Students will review the theoretical and empirical grounding for a research project, develop research skills, and gain insights into how we build knowledge in the field of child development. Students will learn research techniques, how to write a research report, and how to present their findings to different audiences. Students interested in Directed Research should contact faculty members directly regarding the availability of research assistantships. 

Who should take this course? This course is designed to be relevant for all child development majors. It would be especially useful to those who are planning to acquire a graduate degree and/or want to learn more about conducting research and develop research and communication skills.

*Students must meet with an instructor at least one semester ahead of the intended capstone enrollment semester. The student will send the instructor the Directed Research Enrollment Form with their information section completed. The student and the instructor will collaborate to prepare a summary of their shared research plan and submit the plan with the completed form to the department.

Prerequisites: upper division standing; 2.5 GPA, “B” or better in CDV 320 (or CDV 420, and instructor consent)

  • For Directed Research (CDV 498), you must coordinate with an instructor one semester ahead of your intended capstone semester. Submit:
    • Capstone Enrollment Form
    • Directed Research Enrollment Form (pdf): click to download the form. Fill out and email the completed form to the instructor. They will need to prepare a summary of your shared research plan and email it with the completed form to the department at
  • For Seminar in Child Development Research (CDV 492), please note that the course is only available to a cohort of 12 or more students coordinated by a faculty member. You may not be able to enroll.

Please contact the department if you need assistance using forms at 

Faculty Research Projects

The following are ongoing research projects in the Child Development Program. Not all research projects will be available each semester. Please contact faculty directly to find out which projects will be available during the semester you plan to enroll in your capstone course.

The Origin and Nature of Cultural/Ethnical Differences in Young Children’s Cognitive Development

This project examines potential cultural and ethnical differences in cognitive development (e.g. attention, perception) in young children (preschoolers). This project compares Japanese and U.S. preschool aged children. The goal is to identify how early in what task(s) we could see cultural and ethnical differences in cognitive development and what the implication of these differences might be to other developments.

Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Megumi Kuwabara

The Potential Transmission Vectors of Cultural Differences in Cognitive Development

This project examines how cultural differences in cognitive development may be passed down to younger generations. This project compares visual environment (e.g. books), social interactions (e.g. parent-child communication), language, and other potential vectors that might influence cognitive development.

Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Megumi Kuwabara

Identity Formation in Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood

This project examines emerging adults’ ideas of social class and the processes through which they come to perceive social class as an aspect of their own identity. The focus is on identifying the experiences that trigger emerging adults’ awareness of their social class status and whether and how they explore and come to a resolution about the meaning that their class status has for their own sense of self.

Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Kimberley Radmacher

Close Relationships in the Transition to College

This project examines the role that close relationships (e.g., family and friends) play in emerging adults’ development during the transition to college. A focus is placed on the associations between the quality of these relationships and the emerging adults’ developing sense of self and mental health. Gender, ethnic, and social class variations in these relationships will be examined.

Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Kimberley Radmacher

Children’s Conflict Resolution with Friends and Parents

The way children resolve conflicts with their peers is closely related to their adjustment in the peer group. This project examines the conflict between schoolage children and their friends and children and their parents. The primary purpose is to investigate how children resolve conflicts with their friends and whether this related to how the children’s parents’ resolve conflicts with them. In short, what are the connections, if any, between how conflict is resolved between children and their parents and children and their friends?

Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Anupama Joshi

Child Custody and Family Adjustment

This project connects psychological and legal dimensions to investigate individual and family adjustment processes during and after child custody litigation. Currently, the research is focused on understanding the impact of procedural justice and distributive justice on families in child-custody litigation. This means whether and how fair court procedures matter to families in terms of their psychological adjustment, their health, their compliance with court orders, and their re-litigation rates. Because justice has been found to be important to people's motivation when dealing with others, the social psychology of procedural justice - the fairness of rules and processes – is used as a conceptual framework. The ultimate objective of this work is to contribute to an improvement of the policies and practices that govern the design and delivery of court services to families. This research has been funded by the National Science Foundation.

Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Cornelia Brentano

Project on Cross-cultural patterns in marriage and divorce trends

The objective of this cross-cultural research is to advance current understanding of how important social variables (e.g., economic conditions, religion, political stability and freedom, literacy rates, gender equality) influence prevailing patterns in the marriage and divorce trends of 70+ nations. Over the past century, the probability of divorce or separation among married or cohabiting couples has increased. Concurrently, marriage rates have decreased or marriage has been delayed to older ages in many countries. However, such changes are more pronounced in some countries than others. The present study offers a systematic presentation of the variables that influence the differences in trends among countries. For more information please see my Faculty website.

Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Cornelia Brentano

Children’s Self and their Conflict Resolution Strategies

This project investigates the link between children’s self-concept, social self-efficacy, emotion expression and conflict resolution strategies. In other words, do children’s ideas conceptions of themselves, whether children think they can successfully interact with their peers, and whether children can express their emotions are all related to how they react to conflict situations.

Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Anupama Joshi

Narrative Study of Women’s Childhood Relationships

This study examines the autobiographies written by young adult women describing childhood relationships, neighborhoods, school experiences, peer relationships, dating and aspirations for the future. A strength of this qualitative approach to studying childhood relationships is that it provides us with the individual’s interpretation and meaning-making of her own experience. These perceptions are an important contributor to overall adjustment.

Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Anupama Joshi