Early Childhood Research

Early Childhood Research

Discussion Assignment: Gathering Data—Interviews or Observations?

You learned this week that researchers need to make a variety of decisions when designing a research study. One of these noteworthy choices involves deciding on particular ways to obtain information, collect data, from the participant(s). Chapters 14 and 18 offered you examples of two different data collection methods, i.e., the interview method and the direct observation method, and both methods are discussed in early childhood milieus.

In the light of the information acquired from these readings, consider these questions:

What kind of relationship should researchers have with the children they interview and/or observe? What should researchers know about children in general, child development, and/or children’s families before collecting data from children through interviews and/or through observation?

What knowledge and/or dispositions should researchers possess related to listening to and/or observing children?

What additional skills do researchers need to be effective objective interviewers and/or observers?

Are there topics in early childhood that in your opinion lend themselves clearly to the use of interviews or the use of direct observation?

Considering your specific research question, might either or both of these two data collection methods be appropriate for your research simulation?


Doing Early Childhood Research: International Perspectives on Theory and Practice

Chapter 14, “Interviewing Young Children”

Chapter 18, “Direct Observation”

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