Local and International Contexts
Edited By Jacqui O'Riordan, Deirdre Horgan and Shirley Martin
Section 3 Language and Culture: Working with Children
Mary Kellett 12 Research Methods with Young Children: Extending the Canvas Introduction Shifting attitudes towards children’s status in society are changing the way we undertake research with young children. Active participation of young children in research began to emerge around the turn of the twenty-first century. Prior to this, young children’s social and cognitive competences were regarded as barriers to participation. Research on and about children prevailed long before research with children gained recognition. A key message of the South African Child Gauge Report (UNICEF 2011) is that opportunities need to be created for children of all ages to participate in the spaces which impact on their lives. The responsibility falls on child- hood professionals to create supportive, child-friendly environments that facilitate participation. Respect and communication are two-way streets where children are entitled to be treated as equals. Their participation should be integral to any decision-making that af fects their lives, includ- ing the planning and evaluating phases, and not just the implementation. This requires a fundamental rethinking of children’s capabilities, experi- ences and contributions. Crucially, this necessitates a reappraisal of the research methods we employ with young children to ensure there is genuine engagement and active participation. This chapter explores the rationale behind this shift and maps some examples of research methods with young children from around the globe. 222 Mary Kellett First principles If we are going to research children and childhood in any meaningful way, careful consideration has to be given to the methodologies employed. We cannot...
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