Researching Children's Experiences

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Guilford Publications, Jan 1, 2009 - Education - 196 pages
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This accessible book presents approaches to planning, carrying out, and analyzing research projects with children and youth from a social constructivist perspective. Rich, contextualized examples illustrate how to elicit and understand the lived experiences of diverse young people. Data-collection methods discussed in depth include drawing, photography, the Internet, games, interviewing, focus groups, journaling, and observation. Also covered are strategies for fostering the active contributions of children in the research process; navigating consent and ethical issues; enlisting the support of parents, school personnel, and other gatekeepers; and interpreting data. Throughout, the authors emphasize the need to attend to the social setting in which research with children is done. End-of-chapter questions and exercises encourage readers to reflect on taken-for-granted conceptions of children and childhood and to try out the book?s ideas in their own research projects.

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About the author (2009)

Melissa Freeman is Assistant Professor of Qualitative Research Methodologies in the College of Education at the University of Georgia. Her research focuses on critical, constructivist, and relational approaches to educational research and evaluation; the role of dialogue in the construction of meaning and understanding; and the use of alternative elicitation strategies in interviewing and focus groups. She has worked with parents and young people in a variety of educational and youth services settings. Dr. Freeman's most recent research focuses on parents? and students? perceptions of accountability and testing in public schools.


Sandra Mathison is Professor of Education at the University of British Columbia. Her research is in educational evaluation, and her work has focused especially on the potential and limits of evaluation to support democratic ideals and promote justice. She has conducted national large-scale and local evaluations of K-12, postsecondary, and informal educational programs and curricula. Dr. Mathison's most recent research focuses on the effects of state-mandated testing on teaching and learning, especially the impact on the work life of teachers and the educational experiences of students. She is editor of the Encyclopedia of Evaluation, coeditor (with E. Wayne Ross) of Defending Public Schools: The Nature and Limits of Standards-Based Reform and Assessment and Battleground: Schools, and Editor-in-Chief of the journal New Directions for Evaluation.

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