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Ethical Research Involving Children

Researcher positionality in eliciting young children’s perspectives.

Patton, K., & Winter, K. (2023). Researcher positionality in eliciting young children’s perspectives. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 21(3), pp. 303-313.

Abstract: Research that uses innovative approaches to elicit the views of young children has grown hugely over the last 20 years. Against a backdrop of a greater acceptance of children’s rights and sociological approaches to understanding children and childhood, with their combined emphasis on the competences and capacities of children, it is now accepted that young children can be engaged with to seek their views, experiences and perspectives as part of research studies. The range of methodological approaches is extensive including arts and play based methods, digitally based games, the use of photography and recordings. This article focuses on issues connected with researcher positionality that arose in a research study that sought to elicit children’s views about their early childhood settings using a teddy bear called ‘Ted’. The article draws attention to contingent and contextual nature of children’s engagement in research processes and methods and therefore the critical importance of researchers developing detailed reflexive accounts of their positionality, so that the contextual and relational aspects of methodological processes and the findings that emerge, are as transparent as possible. Implications for other similar types of research are considered. (Abstract reproduced with permission. The final, definitive version of this paper has been published in the Journal of Early Childhood Research, 21/3, 07/2023 by SAGE Publications, Ltd., All rights reserved. © SAGE Publications, Ltd.).

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