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Critical Issues in Infant/Toddler Development
Research Paper Assignment Guidelines
Assignment Overview
The Infant/Toddler period is a time of rapid growth and development across all major domains of
development. Infants and toddlers interact directly with others (e.g., primary caregivers) within social
contexts, and these interactions in turn are influenced by broader, indirect influences (e.g.,
availability of media). For careers in the field of child and adolescent development, it is important to
understand the principles of development in each major domain (e.g., cognitive, social, emotional,
and physical) as well as how these domains are inter-related, and how they are influenced by (and
influence) the environment, during the earliest years of life.
Preparing this 10-page term paper will give you an opportunity to search for, synthesize, and write
critically about current research related to an aspect of infant/toddlers’ development or their
context/experience. Some possible topics include: effects of prenatal exposure to drugs or alcohol;
relationship between maternal depression and child development; relationship between early media
exposure and child development; the role of father involvement in development; the role of gesture in
early communication; effects of early deprivation (or intervention) on development; implications of
cross-cultural variation in infant caregiving on development, etc.
For the paper, you will choose a topic or question that interests you, and identify empirical studies on
infants/toddlers that relate your topic to four major domains of development (physical, cognitive,
social, and emotional). For each domain, you will need two empirical studies from peer-reviewed
journal articles. Each study should involve infants/toddler (prenatal through age 36 months) or their
caregivers. Studies may examine 1) development/experiences of children during the prenatal period
or during infancy/toddlerhood (0-36 months), or 2) longer-term effects of experiences during these
time periods on later development (e.g., relationship between early caregiving qualities and behavior
during the school years). Examples of topics include:
Effects of prenatal exposure to drugs or alcohol
Relationship between maternal post-partum depression and child development
Relationship between early media exposure and child development
The role of father involvement in development
The role of gesture and emotion in early communication
Effects of early deprivation (or intervention) on development
Implications of cross-cultural variation in infant caregiving on development
Early signs of Autism Spectrum Disorders
Early development of school readiness skills
Effects of breastfeeding
Effects of caregiver sensitivity/responsiveness
Effects of early childcare quality / early Home environment
Differences / Similarities between girls and boys under age 3
If you would like to propose a different topic, contact the instructor to confirm that it meets the
requirements. If you plan to use a topic that you have used in a past or current class, please contact
the instructor to discuss it.
Based on the information that you collected and your critique of it, you will draw conclusions
regarding the topic and discuss how the domains are inter-related. To further demonstrate your
learning, you will also consider implications of the research findings for practice, as well as areas for
future research.
Learning Objectives
This assignment assesses the ChAD Department’s Program Learning Outcome: “Define and
understand basic elements of the four domains of development and draw on multiple
perspectives to understand the interrelationships among these domains.”
Upon successful completion of this paper you will be able to:
• Find empirical studies on prenatal/infant/toddler development using electronic databases.
• Summarize and integrate the studies presented in each of the articles into a cohesive paper.
• Draw conclusions from this research, about development within and across domains.
• Discuss implications for practice and future research.
Research Paper Assignment #1: Paper Proposal
To help you write the paper, you will submit a brief typed proposal, following the template posted on
Canvas. The proposal will include a statement of your topic, references for eight empirical studies
(two for each domain of development) in APA style, and a brief statement (1 -2 sentences) with each
reference, summarizing a key finding from the study in your own words. To follow the proposal
template, you will need to identify which references will be used to reflect each domain (physical,
cognitive, social, and emotional). In your final paper, you will have four main body sections,
including one for each domain. Remember that each journal article must report on a study; look for a
sample, methods, and results section to confirm that an article is an empirical study. The instructor
will give you feedback on this proposal.
Research Paper Assignment #2: Domain draft (Two pages)
Once you have reviewed your proposal feedback, choose one developmental domain (physical,
cognitive/language, social, or emotional). You will prepare a two-page draft for this section of your
final paper. Include your name, paper topic, and domain at the top of the draft. No title page is
needed.

  1. In the first paragraph, summarize one of your two empirical studies for this domain. Identify
    the purpose of the study and how it relates to your topic, and use the in-text citation (Author,
    year) to identify the source. Briefly describe the sample of participants (e.g., number, age),
    the data sources used (e.g., parent interviews, laboratory observations), important
    characteristics of the study design (e.g., longitudinal, experimental, correlational; use of
    comparison groups) and the key findings from the study. Finally, discuss what these results
    tell us about your topic.
  2. In the second paragraph, summarize your second empirical study for this domain. Include the
    same information about the study as in (#1).
  3. In the third paragraph, integrate the findings from the two studies. Discuss how the findings
    of the two studies either complement, support, or contrast with each other. (e.g., How do the
    two studies differ in the perspective they take on the topic? How might one set of findings
    help to explain the other? If the findings across the two studies conflict, why might that be
    the case?).
  4. Include a Reference page, with the references for both studies in APA format.
    The instructor will give you feedback on this summary through Canvas, to help you prepare your
    final paper.
    Research Paper Assignment #3: Peer Feedback on Introduction & Domain
    This mini-assignment gives you the opportunity to work with one other student to give each other
    input on your introduction and domain draft to ensure that they are clear and meet the paper
    criteria. You are responsible for writing your own introduction and domain. However, you will
    discuss with your partner how you are each meeting the following requirements for this part of the
    paper (from Assignment Guidelines):
    v Introduce topic; Provide background (cite sources); Define any key terms
    v Provide a clear thesis that you seek to support or question that you seek to answer
    v Identify whether the prenatal, infancy, or toddler period will be discussed
    v Succinctly describe the sections of your paper, including how each domain will be addressed
    Coming up with an introduction section can be a challenging step in the writing process. An
    Excellent Introduction will meet the following criteria (from Grading Rubric): Clear and thoughtful
    statement of paper goals. Defines key terms and related issues. States specifically, but briefly, how
    each domain will be addressed. Presents overview of the paper content (e.g., this paper will
    examine). Indicates whether pre-natal, infancy, or toddler period is being discussed.
    As you draft your introduction, you have access to additional writing resources. Links are available
    on Canvas: SJSU Writing Center video on “How to Write a Killer Introduction” (14 minutes), ChAD
    guide for APA style for help with citations, and Criterion for checking writing mechanics.
    In addition to your introduction draft, you will include a draft of a domain. This domain must be
    different than the domain you chose for our earlier Research Paper Assignment #2: Domain draft.
    You will share your draft introduction and domain with your partner (e.g., via email or Google
    Docs). When you receive and read your partner’s draft, prepare some ideas to offer as feedback using
    the guide listed below. Feedback can be given either using text, video or audio.
    When providing feedback for the introduction draft, use the questions below:
    • Clarity: Is the first statement clear and interesting? Is the topic of the paper clear to you? At
    what point, if any, do you get unclear as to what your partner is trying to say?
    • Background: Does your partner provide background information and/or definitions of key
    terms? In other words, does your partner include information that is “good to know” in the
    middle lines? Should more information be added? Are there additional key terms that should be
    defined or explained?
    • Developmental period: Does your partner clearly state whether the prenatal, infancy, and/or
    toddler period will be discussed?
    • Paper Overview: Does your partner provide a paper overview (e.g., this paper will examine)
    which indicates the paper topic? Does the overview go on to briefly indicate how each domain
    will be addressed (e.g., what aspect of social behavior will be discussed?).
    When providing feedback for the domain draft, use the questions below:
    • Domain: Does your partner present the domain, using research that fits into the domain and the
    developmental stage correctly? Do they effectively integrate the findings from two references? Is the
    topic specifically linked to the research findings?
    • Use of Primary Source Research Studies: Does your partner accurately present current research
    findings; succinctly describes the goals of the study (1-2 sentences) subjects (age, gender, ethnicity,
    etc.), data sources (standardized tests, parent questionnaires), and key results? Do they specifically
    demonstrate how the results are related to the topic, and the broader context (e.g., what do the results
    mean for the topic)?
    • Use of APA Style (References, citations, headings, etc.) Does your partner provide consistent and
    accurate use of APA style throughout the domain in citations, and headings?
    Remember to be respectful by offering fair and constructive feedback and suggestions. Respect each
    other’s privacy by sharing feedback in a way that will only be accessible directly by your partner.
    You do not need to submit your draft Introduction for this assignment. Instead, respond to the
    following prompts EITHER using text (approximately 200 typed words) or as a video or audio
    recording of yourself (approximately 1.5 minutes).
    • How will you use your partner’s feedback to edit (or not edit) elements of your introduction?
    • What is something that you learned from reading and/or providing feedback to your partner
    about their draft introduction?
    • Include your partner’s first and last name in your response.
    Research Paper Assignment #4: Final Paper
    Your final paper should be 10 double-spaced pages using APA (6th edition) formatting. Use this
    checklist and the rubric below as you write the paper.
    Title page (does not count in page limit)
    Introduction
    v Introduce topic; Provide background (cite sources); Define any key terms
    v Provide a clear thesis that you seek to support or question that you seek to answer
    v Identify whether the prenatal, infancy, or toddler period will be discussed
    v Succinctly describe the sections of your paper, including how each domain will be addressed
    Body
    v Organize your discussion of the literature so that ideas connect with one another and the
    paper flows coherently. Use sub-headers to organize your paper by domain.
    v Describe the purpose, sample, and data sources/methods, and key findings for each study.
    v Use in-text citations for all sources using APA format (6th edition).
    v For each domain, integrate the findings from the two sources by either discussing how the
    findings complement, support, or contrast with each other. (e.g., How do the two studies
    differ in the perspective they take on the topic? How might one set of findings help to explain
    the other? If the findings across the two studies conflict, why might that be the case?).
    Conclusion
    v Summarize the important findings from the research studies, addressing each domain of
    development.
    v Integrate the findings across the studies, discussing the inter-relationships across domains.
    Discuss how the findings across domains complement, support, or contrast with each other.
    (e.g., To what extent do researchers reach similar (or conflicting) conclusions about the topic,
    across domains, and why might this be the case? How might findings from one domain help
    to explain findings in another domain?). Be sure to address each of the four domains in this
    discussion.
    v Describe applications that your conclusions may have for infant/toddler non-parental
    caregiving, parenting, or public policy. That is, how might caregivers, teachers and other
    practitioners, and/or policy makers use the findings of this research to support positive child
    outcomes?
    v Describe some areas for future research; What additional questions or aspects of the topic
    would be useful or interesting to address in a future study?
    References in APA style (does not count in page limit)
    Version Updated 6/21/2018
    Chad 173 Research Paper Rubric
    Component Poor Fair Good Excellent Point Value
    Introduction No statement of paper
    thesis/goals/objectives.
    No overview of content.
    Limited statement of paper
    goals. Very brief, broad
    overview of content.
    Adequate statement of
    paper goals. Defines key
    terms and related issues.
    Presents overview of the
    paper content (e.g., this
    paper will examine).
    Indicates whether prenatal, infancy, or toddler
    period is being discussed.
    Clear and thoughtful statement
    of paper goals. Defines key
    terms and related issues. States
    specifically, but briefly, how
    each domain will be addressed.
    Presents overview of the paper
    content (e.g., this paper will
    examine). Indicates whether
    pre-natal, infancy, or toddler
    period is being discussed.
    Excellent 5-6
    Good 4
    Fair 2-3
    Poor 0-1
    Use of Primary
    Source Research
    Studies
    Uses personal opinion
    or relies on books, webpages, and literature
    reviews. May also
    present the research
    findings inaccurately.
    Uses research articles, but
    only discusses the results
    and/or they are outdated
    (more than 10 years old);
    may use a lot of direct
    quotes or ‘cited from’
    formats. Lists the findings
    without integration.
    Accurately presents current
    research findings; describes
    the goals of the study (1-2
    sentences) the subjects
    (age, gender, ethnicity,
    etc.), data sources (parent
    questionnaires,
    standardized tests), and the
    key results.
    Briefly discusses how
    results fit into the broader
    topic.
    Accurately presents current
    research findings; succinctly
    describes the goals of the study
    (1-2 sentences) subjects (age,
    gender, ethnicity, etc.), data
    sources (standardized tests,
    parent questionnaires), and key
    results. Specifically
    demonstrates how the results
    are related to the topic, and the
    broader context (e.g., what do
    the results mean for the topic).
    Excellent 9-10
    Good 7-8
    Fair 5-6
    Poor 0-4
    Use of APA Style
    (References,
    citations,
    headings, etc.)
    There is no evidence of
    APA style. References
    and citations erratic. No
    headings used, or
    headings have
    formatting errors.
    Limited use of APA style.
    Some errors in references
    and citations, or in
    headings.
    Few (or minor) errors in
    APA style. Minimal
    problems or errors in
    references, citations, and
    headings.
    Consistent and accurate use of
    APA style throughout the paper
    in references, citations, and
    headings.
    Excellent 4
    Good 3
    Fair 2
    Poor 1
    Version Updated 6/21/2018
    Component Poor Fair Good Excellent Point Value
    Cognitive /
    Language
    Domain
    Does not present the
    domain OR the topic is
    not connected to the
    domain OR the research
    does not fit in the domain
    or does not fit the
    developmental stage.
    Only uses one reference.
    Presents the domain, but
    only has one reference for
    the domain OR some of the
    references do not fit in the
    domain or the
    developmental stage.
    Vaguely or generally links
    the domain to the topic.
    Presents the domain, using
    research that fits into the
    domain and the
    developmental stage
    correctly. Has two references.
    Links some findings to the
    topic. Integrates some
    findings together.
    Presents the domain, using
    research that fits into the
    domain and the developmental
    stage correctly. Effectively
    integrates the findings from the
    two references. The topic is
    specifically linked to the
    research findings.
    Excellent 5-6
    Good 4
    Fair 2-3
    Poor 0-1
    Social Domain

Does not present the
domain OR the topic is
not connected to the
domain OR the research
does not fit in the domain
or does not fit the
developmental stage.
Only uses one reference.
Presents the domain, but
only has one reference for
the domain OR some of the
references do not fit in the
domain or the
developmental stage.
Vaguely or generally links
the domain to the topic.
Presents the domain, using
research that fits into the
domain and the
developmental stage
correctly. Has two references.
Links some findings to the
topic. Integrates some
findings together.
Presents the domain, using
research that fits into the
domain and the developmental
stage correctly. Effectively
integrates the findings from the
two references. The topic is
specifically linked to the
research findings.
Excellent 5-6
Good 4
Fair 2-3
Poor 0-1
Emotional
Domain

Does not present the
domain OR the topic is
not connected to the
domain OR the research
does not fit in the domain
or does not fit the
developmental stage.
Only uses one reference.
Presents the domain, but
only has one reference for
the domain OR some of the
references do not fit in the
domain or the
developmental stage.
Vaguely or generally links
the domain to the topic.
Presents the domain, using
research that fits into the
domain and the
developmental stage
correctly. Has two references.
Links some findings to the
topic. Integrates some
findings together.
Presents the domain, using
research that fits into the
domain and the developmental
stage correctly. Effectively
integrates the findings from the
two references. The topic is
specifically linked to the
research findings.
Excellent 5-6
Good 4
Fair 2-3
Poor 0-1
Physical
Domain

Does not present the
domain OR the topic is
not connected to the
domain OR the research
does not fit in the domain
or does not fit the
developmental stage.
Only uses one reference.
Presents the domain, but
only has one reference for
the domain OR some of the
references do not fit in the
domain or the
developmental stage.
Vaguely or generally links
the domain to the topic.
Presents the domain, using
research that fits into the
domain and the
developmental stage
correctly. Has two references.
Links some findings to the
topic. Integrates some
findings together.
Presents the domain, using
research that fits into the
domain and the developmental
stage correctly. Effectively
integrates the findings from the
two references. The topic is
specifically linked to the
research findings.
Excellent 5-6
Good 4
Fair 2-3
Poor 0-1
Version Updated 6/21/2018
Conclusion

No statement of paper
thesis/goals/objectives.
No review of key content.
Limited statement of paper
goals. Very brief, broad
overview of key content.
.
Adequate statement of
paper goals. Presents
comprehensive overview
of the key findings.
Generally demonstrates
the inter-relations among
the domains. Offers good
insights about the topic:
Lists some implications for
prenatal/infant/toddler
development OR some
future research questions
Clear and thoughtful
statement of paper goals.
Presents an organized but
concise overview of the key
findings. Specifically shows
the inter-relations among the
four domains and links it to
the topic. Offers valuable and
original insights about the
topic. Effectively describes
the implications for our
understanding of prenatal/infant/toddler
development AND future
research questions.
Excellent 7-8
Good 5-6
Fair 3-4
Poor 0-2
Structure and
Organization
No organization of the
paper (paper is difficult to
follow).
Some evidence of
organization (paper may be
difficult to follow).
Paper is clear, with logical
organization/structure.
Paper is well-organized, clear
structure.
Excellent 4
Good 3
Fair 2
Poor 1
Quality of Writing
(Grammar, spelling,
clarity)
Many grammatical,
spelling, or punctuation
errors. Writing is awkward
and unclear. May use first
person/subjective voice.
Lacks paragraph
transitions.
Some grammatical, spelling
or punctuation errors.
Some instances when
writing is unclear. Some
evidence of paragraph
transitions, but they are
simple, add-ons (e.g., next
…). May occasionally use
first person/subjective
voice.
Few grammatical, spelling
or punctuation errors.
Writing is generally clear
and understandable. Has
generally smooth
paragraph transitions and
does not use first
person/subjective voice
except in introduction
paragraph or conclusion.
No grammatical, spelling or
punctuation errors. Writing is
clear and understandable.
Paper has good paragraph
transitions and uses third
person /objective voice,
except the introduction
and/or conclusion may use
first person /subjective voice
judiciously.
Excellent 5
Good 4
Fair 2-3
Poor 1
Paper Criteria Is not 10 pages of text,
double-spaced with 1-inch
margins and 12-point
Times New Roman font.
Title page is missing or not
formatted in APA style.
Paper is missing 2 of the 3
required elements: 10
pages of text; doublespaced with 1-inch margins
and 12-point Times New
Roman font; Title page in
APA style.
Paper is missing 1 of the 3
required elements: 10
pages of text; doublespaced with 1-inch margins
and 12-point Times New
Roman font; Title page in
APA style.
Paper has all 3 required
elements: 10 pages of text;
double-spaced with 1-inch
margins and 12-point Times
New Roman font; Title page
in APA style.
Excellent 4
Good 3
Fair 2
Poor 1
Late penalty: There is a 1/2

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