Children as participants in research. Playful interactions and negotiation of researcher–child relationships

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Abstract

The paper explores issues of child perspectives, participation, play, and adult-child roles in early childhood education research. A micro-scale, qualitative study was conducted that aimed at taking children seriously as participants in an inquiry regarding their views on adjacent adult professionals. Based on an empirical example from the study, I argue that improvisation, share of control, and playful interactions with children are important elements to consider when a researcher engages in participatory early childhood research because it is crucial in forming a research relationship with young children. The intention was to research young children’s perspectives by involving them in the research as much as possible. Children were encouraged to express themselves through drawing and stories while the researcher strove to follow child-led initiatives along the way. In the process, the children started to generate crazy stories, to laugh, and experiment with the researcher’s authority and role and engage in playfulness. This lead to an analysis showing how adult researcher-child relationships are negotiated in research, suggesting that the professional adult needs to engage in playful interactions with children in order for true participation and sharing of perspectives to take place.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEarly Years
ISSN0957-5146
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2019

Keywords

  • research designs, theory and method
  • children and youth

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