Child Development Research
Child development faculty, often in collaboration with the teaching faculty at the MSU Child Development Laboratories, are currently engaged in research around two core, scholarly themes:
Language and Literacy Development in Early Childhood
Drs. Bowles, Gerde, Skibbe, and Vallotton are implementing programs of translational research in language and literacy development in early childhood including the contexts of schools and families, with a particular focus on at-risk populations. As part of this emphasis, faculty and students work to implement and evaluate intervention programs that advance instructional techniques and educational opportunities for children at risk for reading difficulties. These faculty are affiliated with the Literacy Achievement Research Center (MSU College of Education), which puts students and faculty in touch with more than a dozen other faculty studying this area.
Social Emotional Health and Well-Being in Infancy and Early Childhood
Drs. Brophy-Herb, Johnson, Stansbury, and Vallotton have programs of research investigating aspects of early social and emotional development and the early biological, psychosocial, behavioral and contextual processes, including cultural contexts, which influence development in these areas. Their scholarly work includes both basic and translational research models. HDFS is also a co-leader (Brophy-Herb, co-Director) in the Interdepartmental Graduate Specialization in Infancy and Early Childhood. This program provides a multidisciplinary forum for students to gain competencies across key areas such as research and evaluation and policy and advocacy, as well as provides students access to faculty from a variety of units across campus.
We expect and actively encourage graduate students to become immersed in the research process. Our graduate students will have opportunities to participate in multiple aspects of research including grant proposal preparation, data collection and coding, data analyses and interpretation, and dissemination. Faculty and students in the child development area meet on a monthly basis. We all share interests in developmental studies in infancy and early childhood. Our monthly meetings provide time for us to discuss current research efforts, plan new endeavors, and build relationships with each other. In addition to this experience, the Department of Human Development and Family Studies offers a number of scholarly activities with which students may become involved. Learn more about research experiences in the Human Development and Family Studies here.
The HDFS department promotes active research programs by providing child and family research observation laboratories, coding and data analyses stations, and a meeting area for graduate students to network and collaborate. Child development faculty are actively involved in research collaborations with faculty across campus, across universities, and across communities in the states.
The MSU Child Developmental Laboratories offer excellent resources both for applied research and training in early development and education. The CDLs offer NAEYC-accredited early childhood programming to infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. In-classroom videotaping and audiotaping capabilities, one-way observation booths, and research databases result in an excellent research environment. The CDLs also serve as a training laboratory for early childhood educators. Working alongside master teachers, students have opportunities to engage in first-rate early childhood practices.