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Research Papers on Child Development

Research papers on child development approach the topic from a variety of different psychological avenues. Often, students will find that their child psychology classes require research papers that observe child development. Since it is such a broad topic you will want to narrow it along the lines of some of the issues you read below.

One way to approach a research paper is by focusing on one theorist in the field of child development. If you write on this, you will include data from Jean Piaget and Erik Erikson, just to name two. Custom psychology research papers are Paper Masters specialty. The thesis statement and topic you see here is just a SAMPLE research paper of what we can provide you in research.

How to Write a Child Development Research Paper

Child Development

You will have to begin your research paper by noting the broad category of human development. Human development is concerned with every aspect of the life cycle whether directly or indirectly, and its foundation is based upon the attitudes, feelings, thoughts and behaviors of individuals and the ways in which they operate in society. The changes that occur throughout the life cycle are based upon four premises: 

  1. Development is continuous, occurring not just in early childhood, but in adulthood as well
  2. Maturity is relative
  3. Development occurs within social context
  4. Developmental influences involve biological, cognitive and emotional factors, as well as the social context and related interactions

Using the life cycle approach one must address the contribution of heredity and the environment to individual development.  Critical thinkers such as Bandura, Bowlby, Bronfenbrenner, Erickson, Piaget, and Vygotsky have paved the way for future thinkers to further develop current theories and introduce novel ones as well.   

Child Development Theorists

Prior to understanding the ways in which human development theories can be applied to child development, it is necessary to possess an understanding of the most prominent of these theories and the ways in which the concept of culture are addressed.  These theories include those defined by Bowlby, Bronfenbrenner, Piaget, Vygotsky, Erickson, and Bandura.


You will need to explore, in depth, theorists such as Brofenbrenner. Bronfenbrenner was a leading scholar in developmental psychology, child-rearing, and human psychology.  He recognized that humans do not develop in isolation, but rather in response to the interactions and experiences involving family, peers, and society in general.  His research led to the design and creation of programs aimed at addressing the well-being and emotional health of children and families, such as the well-known Head Start program.


Piaget also recognized the importance of social interaction within the environment upon the development of children.  He was a biologist trained in scientific methods who sought to investigate the acquisition of knowledge as a process rather than an end-point.  His theory of constuctivism explained that the nature of human knowledge originates from inside the child.  One main tenet of Piaget’s theory was that an object cannot be understood as it exists in reality, but instead must be assimilated into an individual’s schema.  The schema represents a structure by which each human’s unique experiences are organized and processed.   


Erikson also classified human development into a series of discrete stages.  Unlike Piaget, however, Erikson’s eight stages of development encompass not only infancy and childhood, but also adulthood.  Each stage of life is also concerned with a corresponding crisis that must be resolved in order to create emotional well-being.  The first three stages, Oral-Sensory, Muscular-Anal, and Locomotor occur through age six and culminate in a sense of independence and a desire for responsibility and assertiveness.


Vygotsky, in contrast to Piaget and Erikson, believed that human development was too complex to fit into a series of stages and occurred throughout an entire lifespan, encompassing a non-linear series of experiences.  Vygotsky, influenced by psychology, linguistics, and enculturation developed a sociocultural theory that highlighted classroom interactions among youth.


Albert Bandura proposed a modification of the social learning theory, which examines human behavior and development in light of the interactions among cognitive, behavioral, and environmental components.  Like Vygotsky, Bandura’s theory emphasizes the role of social learning and believes that peers play an important role in refining children’s self-appraisal abilities.  Unhealthy peer relations can negatively impact upon a child’s sense of self-efficacy, which in turn can prevent future development of healthy peer relations

Related Research Paper Topics


Erik Erikson Theory - Erik Erikson Theory essays discuss the creator of the Eight-Stage System of Identity Crisis and look into the studies that influenced his theory.

Sensorimotor Stage - This stage is seen in children from birth to around two years.

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Birth Order - Stages of Intellectual Development research papers discuss birth order.

Wilhelm Wundt and Psychology - Wilhelm Wundt and Psychology Research Papers discuss the father of child psychology, respectively.

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Cognitive and Psychosocial Development Case Study - Case study involving two toddlers.

Oedipal Phase - Freudian study of the oedipal phase in child development.

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Development of Adolescence - Developmental psychology; Human Development; Social Development.

Freud Latency Stage - Freud described the latency stage as a relatively stable period during which the child has resolved or repressed the psychological and sexual challenges.

Oral Stage - Child Developmental Research Papers discuss child development and developmental issues in early childhood psychology.

The Origins of Intelligence in Children - Vygotsky points out that after Piaget, psychologists began thinking about cognitive development in terms of quality.

Physical Development in Children - Child Psychology Research Papers discuss the developmental psychology and physical and mental health of developing children.

Latency Stage - Because the unconscious urges repressed and latent, the child finds these asexual feelings.