The CDL provides a research environment that fosters research and professional inquiry. Our intent is that through research conducted at the CDL, significant contributions can be made to education.

Thoughout the CDL's existence, research has been a vital component of our program. Our lab school is here to support faculty, staff and students in their research endeavors.

On-going research includes teachers developing theories from their observation and classroom practices. CDL teachers systematically undertake teacher action research and learn from and with young children and their families.

Research projects utilizing the CDL have been led by faculty and graduate students in a number of departments within the Colleges of Education, Arts & Sciences, and Family & Consumer Sciences. Information on specific research projects are listed twice a year in the Research Corner of the CDL Quarterly. While not all projects are listed in this publication, the descriptions provided serve as samples of projects undertaken each semester.

Current Research

  • Social Communication—Jennifer Brown (Associate Professor, Communication Sciences and Special Ed, College of Ed, UGA) and Bhairvi Trivedi, MA, CCC-SLP (PhD student CSSE, College of Ed, UGA)— This project will investigate the effects of peer-mediated intervention on young children's social communication. We will build on previous research on peer-mediated social interventions by examining specific engagement, play, and communication variables; exploring ways to support feasibility (such as including technology-based training supports); and including participants with varied demographic characteristics (we will not exclude participants based on primary language used at home or other variables).
  • Effects of Technology-Supported Peer Coaching on Infant-Toddler Teachers’ Responsive Interactions—Cynthia Vail (Department Head, Communication Sciences and Special Ed, College of Ed, UGA), Rebecca Lieberman-Betz (Associate Professor, CSSE, College of Ed, UGA), and Jennifer Brown (Associate Professor, CSSE, College of Ed, UGA)—The purpose of this project, Early Childhood Responsive Interactions, is to explore ways to support responsive teacher-child interactions within typically occurring school activities. Responsive interactions have been associated with increased communication and social-emotional development in young children, which lays the foundation for academic success. The primary objective of the proposed project is to develop and test a professional development program to support and increase teachers’ use of responsive practices with young children in their classrooms. The professional development program is designed to equip teachers with evidence based responsive interaction strategies that they can embed in typical class activities to promote students’ frequency and complexity of oral language. The program’s focus on peer coaching is designed to teachers with methods and practices to support each other to increase and improve their use of responsive interactions. Collecting and analyzing the data from this program will allow for an examination of the program’s effects.
  • Multilingual Socialization of a Child with Rett Syndrome—Usree Bhattacharya (Assistant Professor, Department of Language and Literacy Education, College of Ed, GA)-- This study will seek to investigate and document language socialization of 1 toddler's multilingual literacy practices at home and at McPhaul Center at UGA in one year. Data will be collected within the home and the center. The goal will be to learn more about how a minimally verbal child with Rett syndrome is socialized into and through multiple languages.

Completed Research Studies

Title of Study: The development of directional understanding
“The Use of Arrow Cues to Direct the Attention of Young Children”
Primary Investigator: Krisztina Varga
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Janet Frick

Title of Study: Rough and Tumble Play
“Rough and Tumble Play”
Primary Investigator: Brandi Broker
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Melissa Landers-Potts

Title of Study: Improving Prekindergarten Children's Comprehension of StoryBooks
“Comprehension Study”
Primary Investigator: William Mira
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Paula Schwanenflugel

Want to do research at the CDL?

Faculty or students wishing to conduct research at the CDL need to submit a research proposal application to the program director. Research proposals will be reviewed by a departmental advisory committee. The goal(s) of the research study, its relationship to the mission of the CDL as well as the number of active research projects with the proposed population will all be considered. Proposals for research projects must be approved by the departmental advisory committee and the University of Georgia’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) before their inception. Consent forms included in children's registration information permit their observation during naturally occurring classroom activities. Families' written consent must be secured if researchers plan to interview, photograph, or remove children from classrooms. Please review the policies and procedures if interested in conducting research at the Child Development Lab at the McPhaul Center.


Our teachers have presented at regional, national, and international conferences. In addition to presentations at conferences governed by such organizations as National Association of Education for Young Children (NAEYC), Georgia Association on Young Children (GAYC), Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI), and International Reading Association (IRA). Teachers have also collaborated with various faculty members, including Dr. Mariana Souto-Manning and Dr. Diane Bales, to write research studies and book chapters.

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