This week’s post is slightly different to usual because we are celebrating. Our first book, Introducing Research in Early Childhood, has been published by Sage Publications. We first had the idea for the book back in March 2016, when we couldn’t find a comprehensive text that talked about how research with children is conducted, how people have carried out studies on children in the past, what areas people have to think about when planning a piece of research and what things people reading studies have to be aware of when considering others’ work. 32 months later and we’ve written the first drafts of chapters (six each), had them reviewed, revised them accordingly, submitted the final versions and checked through the proofs. We finally saw our book in real life for the first time last month and felt incredibly proud.
We’ve put a lot of work into producing a text that we think is going to be really valuable to people who want to understand how and why research in early childhood takes place. In the book we recognise how research practices in relation to children have changed, like from the ethically-questionable conditioning experiment by Watson and Rayner (1920) (better known as the Little Albert Experiment) to how now researchers use the Mosaic Approach (Clark and Moss, 2011) to listen to children first-hand. We reflect on the difference that research findings can make to children’s lives, for instance as we’ve done in a previous blog post about the experiences of children in hospitals. We think about cross-national and longitudinal studies, for instance those conducted by Unicef and UCL’s Centre of Longitudinal Studies. We consider how research in early childhood can be designed, the ethics of conducting research, how researchers need to think about the beliefs and truths they hold about children when planning their study and also how creative methods can be used to find out more about children and their childhoods. And we also introduce strategies to help readers critically examine pieces of research that they read about and not take them on face value.
We are really pleased with the response that we’ve had to the book so far. Deborah Albon, co-author of the brilliant Research Methods in Early Childhood with Penny Mukherji, has described it as “a useful book for the beginner researcher” and that the book’s “inviting and accessible style will support the novice researcher, and the development of criticality in relation to research.” The wonderful Kathy Brodie, well-respected Early Years Professional, consultant and trainer, has also spoken to us about the usefulness of our book for those studying early childhood. You’ll be able to see an interview we filmed with Kathy about the topic of one of our chapters, The Language of Research, in February 2019 as part of Sage’s Early Years Masterclass called Doing Your Early Years Research Project (which you can sign up to for free before 4th February 2019).