Children’s real behavior vs.What they interpret to be preferred behavior
“Legitimate adult-childinteraction depends on adult authority.”
Just as there are several distinct theoretical perspectives used inTheories explaining children’s experiences, several & distinct methodological approaches also existMETHODS for researching children’s lives – and all involve ethical issues.
Experiments ResearCh SurveysApproaches: Interviews Ethnography Other Methods
ETHICS OF RESEARCH with CHILDRENInformed Consent: Issues of Age &• Parental consent Development• Child assentReview Protocols:• Description of Research• Description of subjects• Description of beneﬁts and risks
EXPERIMENTSResearchers routinely use experimental designs to evaluate children’s development andperformance, to decide whether speciﬁc social conditions are harmful, and to determine the success of intervention programs.
Goal: ControlExperiments Setting, test Involve... interventions Focus: Individual differences among children Concealment and deception are common practices
Hypothesis: Changing familyExperiments in process leads to decreased Mediating symptoms in the children. Mediating variables: Children’s parental demoralization, Grief parental warmth, stable positive events and negative stress events in the family Findings: Interventions were successful for older children, but not for younger children – Sandler et al., 1992
SURVEYSSurvey research on children has often been carried outwith parents about children.
Questionnaires or SURVEY InterviewsRESEARCH Sampling andInvolveS... Statistical Controls Issues of Privacy, Conﬁdentiality, and Parental Inﬂuence
Semi-structured interviewsSURVEYS OF with children at 4 months, 1Children’s year, and 2 years after death of a parent Grief Surveys using Competence Scale and and Locus of Control Scale Findings challenge traditional ideas about children’s grief being expressed through periods of prolonged crying, aggression, or withdrawal and creating family dysfunction – Silverman and Worden, 1992
ETHNOGRAPHY Ethnography has been developed with the goal of acquainting the researcher with aculture or subculture and in recording andinterpreting the everyday life of a group “on their grounds and on their terms.”
ETHNOGRAPHIES Goal: Understand children’s culture(s)WITH CHILDREN Focus: Access, Involve... acceptance, and determining limits Authority, Adult-as-Friend’, or ‘Least Adult’?
Deliberately refrain fromETHNOGRAPHIES OF formulating hypotheses Children’s Collect drawings and comments on death from Grief over 300 children, ages 4-19 Findings: Younger children provide “immature” representations of death; grade school children present emotions, beliefs, and ritual; adolescents focus on the “essence of death.” – Wenestam & Wass, 1987
The Private Worlds of Dying ChildrenMyra Bluebond-Langner, 1978
With The Boys: Little League Baseball andPreadolescent Culture Gary Alan Fine, 1987
Gender Play: Girls and Boys in School Barrie Thorne, 1993
Can adults ever reallystudy children’s lives in a valid way?
Adult Biases: CulturalChildren as Biases:unﬁnished Validatingproducts children’s perspectives mayChildren’s be negativelyknowledge judged sanctionedas ﬂawed orunreliable
If we proceed from the standpointthat “child” is a socially constructed category, then we can examine the expectations of the child category and how these expectations shape children’s lived experiences.
Suspending the ‘Adult’ role Giving up authority and privilegeTreating ‘child’ and ‘adult’ as socially constructed categories Suspending adult-centric biasesRecognizing our own limitations of understanding