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Research through Play

Research through Play
Participatory Methods in Early Childhood

Edited by:
  • Lorna Arnott - University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK
  • Kate Wall - University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK

September 2021 | 256 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Doing research with young children can be challenging for many reasons, but this book provides clear guidance on how to engage in appropriate methods. Focusing on researching through play, careful consideration is given to:

·         the founding principles of playful research

·         understanding young children’s perspectives

·         prioritising the rights of the child and the voice of the child

·         examples of innovative research methods

Real life examples and research projects are presented, to enable common challenges to be anticipated and to showcase successful creative approaches, and to inspire new paths in research.

Part I: Founding Principles to Playful Research Approaches
Elizabeth Wood & Liz Chesworth
Chapter 1: Framing and Defining Play in Early Childhood
Jane Murray
Chapter 2: Young Children’s Play, Voices and Rights in Research
Sue Dockett
Chapter 3: Ethical considerations: Play for fun and play for data collection
Part II: Theoretical and Conceptual Frameworks for Playful Research
Kate Wall, Lorna Arnott & Elaine Hall
Chapter 4: Practitioner-enquiry: A Reflexive Method for Playful Pedagogy
Alma Fleet & Jane Merewether
Chapter 5: Pedagogical Documentation as a Thinking Companion
Cathy Nutbrown
Chapter 6: Analysing and Interpreting Data from Research with Young Children: Faithfulness, Integrity and Trustworthiness in Eliciting Meaning
Part III: Adapting Play-based Pedagogies as a Research Method
Lorna Arnott, Kate Wall, Loreain Martinez, Caralyn Blaisdell & Shannon Ludgate
Chapter 7: Approaches to informed consent with young children
Pauline Duncan
Chapter 8: Using drawing as a playful research encounter with young children
Lorna Arnott, Jonathan Delafield-Butt & Timothy J McGowen
Chapter 9: Observing and interpreting embodied interactions: Interpreting Voice from Birth to 3 years
Ioanna Palaiologou, Elisabetta Biffi & Franca Zuccoli
Chapter 10: The use of pedagogical documentation and artistic languages in research with young children
Marilyn Fleer
Chapter 11: Frame, explain and theorise: Using an App as a tool to interpret imaginary play with children and teachers
Pekka Mertala
Chapter 12: Using playful methods to understand children’s digital literacies
Part IV: Research Resources from Early Childhood Education
Kate Wall & Lorna Arnott
Introduction to Part IV
Rhona Matheson, Starcatchers
Project 1 : Facilitating voice with our youngest children
Heidi Sairanen
Project 2: Being an Investigator in Our Learning Environment
Triona Stokes
Research Proposal 1: Investigating the perceptions of young children in school-based pretend play
Maddie Broad
Research Proposal 2: Playing and Being, Here and Now: adults using improvisation to join children aged 0 – 5 in free-play

Research about children’s lives should always include the child’s own voice. This book encourages students to think about what they can do to ensure a child is enabled to tell their story and how they view the world, offering valuable insights into what it means to be that child.

Dr Caroline Leeson
York St. John University

This book offers a broad perspective on the possibilities of play for research. Particularly useful for dissertation students completing early years degrees. The case studies are a useful addition to complement the complex issues. Inspiring chapters offer thought-provoking ideas about how play research can be used in individual contexts.

Mrs Carly Blackburn
Social and Community Practice, Bradford College
November 22, 2022

This book will support the students wider development of understanding how research can be done with children. It will complement other research books that concentrate on structure. However this will bring a richness as it promotes the child's voice and allows students to think deeper to the importance of capturing this when researching with and alongside children.

Mrs Michelle Bramley-Brookes
School of Social Sciences, Nottingham Trent University
December 6, 2022

Excellent resource for early childhood studies students, generating rich discussion around participatory methods and ethical engagement with children and families.

Miss Louise Stafford
Department of Education, Oxford Brookes University
May 23, 2022

The book is filling a gap in the enlightning participatory approaches to research in ECEC

Dr Adrijana Visnjic Jevtic
Department for Early Childhood Education, University of Zagreb
January 6, 2023

Sage College Publishing

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