Below are some suggested readings from a lifespan development perspective on methodologies used in aging research. Feel free to add your favorite methodology articles, bookchapters, etc. (and please include links to the articles if applicable).

For the purpose of our class we will be reviewing and discussing the following two articles:

Hoyer, W. J., Rybash, J. M., & Roodin, P. A. (1999). Appendix A: Developmental research methods. In Hoyer, Rybash, & Rodin (Eds.), Adult Development and Aging (pp. 493-521), Boston: McGraw-Hill College.

This is actually an appendix in a classic psychology of aging textbook. It makes a great primer for getting into many methodological ideas related to lifespan development. In addition, it covers basic / general / fundamental methodological issues. This would be a great place to start learning about developmental methodologies and to review basic methodologies. The outline for the appendix follows, as well as, some slides for presenting this subject matter. Feel free to remix the slides and use them.


Basic Issues of Measurement
  • Reliability of Measures
  • Assessing Reliability
  • Ways of Improving Reliability
  • Validity of Measurement

Basic Techniques Used for Collecting Measurements
  • Interviews and Questionnaires
  • Behavioral Research
  • Behavioral Research in Lab vs. Field Settings
  • Laboratory Research with ANimal Models
  • Standardized Tests
  • Physiological Research

Basic Strategies for Describing and Interpretting Measurements
  • Measures of Central Tendencies and Variability
  • Correlations between Variables
  • Multiple Regression
  • Factor Analysis
  • Significance Tests

Basic Strategies for Research Design
  • Correlational vs. Experimental Strategies
  • Manipulations Between and Within Subjects
  • Quasi-experimental Strategies in Developmental Research
  • The Problem of Internal Validity

Quasi-Experimental Designs for the Study of Adult Development and Aging
  • Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Designs
  • Cohort-Sequential Designs
  • Time-Sequential Designs
  • Cros-Sequential Designs
  • Shaie's Most Efficient Design

Problems of Samplign in Developmental Research
  • Nonrepresentative Samples in Cross-Sectional designs
  • Nonrepresentative Samples in Longitudinal Designs


(ppt slides)

(pdf of slides)

Hertzog, C. & Dixon, R. A. (1996). Theoretical issues in cognition and aging. In F. Blanchard-Fieldds and T. Hess (Eds.), Perspectives on Cognitive Change in Adulthood and Aging (pp. 66-121). New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

This article is for more advanced students that have had a quality methodology and design class or two. To get the most out of it you probably also need some statistics classes under your belt to appreciate the discussion of complexity (multidimensionality). I appreciate the care that the authors take to explain many of the ways we can use to gain knowledge and advance the science of learning about development across the lifespan. This book chapter does a lot of work to integrate and compare the various theories used to study cognitive aging.


Theoretical issues in Cognitive Development
  • Universal versus Differential
  • Directionality and Dimensionality
    • Directionality
    • How (Multi)directionality Relates to (Multi)dimensionality
  • Plasticity and Reversability
  • Gains versus Losses versus Maintenance
  • Consistency versus Variability

Interplay Between Theories and Methods in Cognitive Aging
  • Metatheories, Methods, and the Search for Why

Current Collectives of Theories and Cognitive Aging
  • Differential Approaches
  • Experimental Approaches
    • Theoretical Utility of the Slowing Hypothesis
  • Contextual Approaches
    • Practical and Social Cognition
    • Conditions of Maintenance and Improvement
  • Organismic Approach