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Ethical Research Involving Children

Children’s perspectives on their learning: Exploring methods.

Smith, A., Duncan, J., & Marshall, K. (2005). Children’s perspectives on their learning: Exploring methods. Early Child Development and Care, 175(6). pp. 473-487.

This paper reports on efforts to access four-year-old children’s perspectives on their learning experiences. Interviews with children in various contexts were carried out using photographs of recent activities to stimulate discussion and recall. Small group interviews with a researcher or teacher; one-to-one interviews between researcher and child; researcher interviews with target child and a friend; researcher interviews with target child and a parent; and informal conversations between a researcher and child in the context of play and activities were the varying methods used. All contexts elicited useful information on children’s perspectives, although the focus groups were difficult to manage. Photographs were an effective way of locating the conversation in the child’s experience and adults were able to provide a supportive framework to encourage children to interpret their interests and involvement in learning. Children’s perspectives are an important source of information about what engages them in learning and why. (Abstract © Taylor & Francis, reprinted by special permission from Taylor & Francis Group, a division of Informa UK, http://www.tandf.co.uk).

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