Development is an action verb that means “to grow or progress.” It can refer to a number of things, from growing crops (farming) and raising livestock (ranching) to creating a website and developing the software that runs it. Development also refers to the changes that occur in the brain and behavior of children and adults as they learn new skills. These processes are often studied by researchers who study child psychology, but are also of interest to people in many other fields, including business, education, and the law.
Development is sometimes used to describe economic growth, which can lead to increased wealth and improved standards of living. It can also refer to the process of moving from a culture of agriculture to one of industrial production and trade. Various international organizations rate countries’ level of development using the Human Development Index, which measures a country’s life expectancy, literacy rate, and standard of living.
Development studies is a field of research that explores global issues, such as poverty, inequality, climate change, and conflict. It seeks to understand these challenges, and develop solutions that are grounded in day-to-day reality. Development studies is a broad and interdisciplinary field, incorporating concepts and ideas from many different disciplines, such as sociology, geography, anthropology, history, political science, and law. There are several types of meta-theories that guide the development of theories about the nature of humans and their development. Some of these are mechanistic, comparing people to machines, while others, like contextualist or systems meta-theories, assume that humans can only react to environmental forces.