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Research Methods in Early Childhood

Research Methods in Early Childhood
An Introductory Guide

Third Edition

January 2018 | 440 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Research is something many Early Childhood Studies students struggle with; for many it’s intimidating and something 'other people' do. When we asked the authors what common problems students struggle with they said:


  • Students find it hard to understand research methodology and theoretical frameworks within which to conduct research
  • Sometimes students struggle to come up with an appropriate research design 
  • Students often find it hard to come up with precise research questions
  • Analysing research data and presenting it clearly for the reader are also areas students find difficult


As a result, the authors have designed this book with their early childhood student in mind to help them through the research process. The book covers the whole research journey both in terms of understanding the different methodologies & principles and in actually undertaking a research project. It follows a linear and progressive structure that logically helps students work through their course.  In this new edition, the chapters have been reorganized to better suit the learning journey and a brand new reader guide to research at the start of the book has been added to aid navigation. A new chapter on research proposals as well as more on alternative ways of presenting research have also been added.

The book assumes no prior knowledge and really introduces the topics to beginners in simple terms. The supportive writing style and the way difficult concepts are clearly explained is often feedback we hear from both lecturers and students. Once students have gained confidence, they are able to delve into the further reading suggestions and the topics and content covered extend into enough depth for those who want to go further in their studies. This means students really can use it throughout their whole course.

  • Research in Focus boxes look at international published examples of research to show what it looks like in the real world and understand the effects and implications. (Countries covered are USA, Canada, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, England, Norway, Sweden, Finland, France, Italy, Belgium, South Africa, India, Singapore, Australia & New Zealand.)
  • Activities for students to work through help them cement knowledge and understanding.
  • Case Studies give examples and scenarios of real student research. These demonstrate best practice and show students how to present their findings in a way that conveys the decisions they have made in their own personal style rather than rather than regurgitating textbooks.
  • Extended glossary which gets students familiar with complicated terminology.

This new Third Edition includes:
  • Videos pre-chapter relating to chapter outcomes
  • Flashcard glossary to consolidate learning
  • MCQs to test understanding

Penny Mukherji and Deborah Albon will be discussing ideas from Research Methods in Early Childhood in the SAGE Early Years Masterclass, a free professional development experience hosted by Kathy Brodie. To sign up, or for more information, click here.

Chapter 1: Research Design
Chapter 2: The Research Proposal
Chapter 3: Reviewing the Literature
Chapter 4: Positivist Research
Chapter 5: Beyond Positivism: Interpretivism, 'Critical' Paradigms and Post-structuralism
Chapter 6: Ethics
Chapter 7: Listening to Young Children
Chapter 8: Surveys
Chapter 9: Ethnography
Chapter 10: Case Studies
Chapter 11: Action Research
Chapter 12: Observation
Chapter 13: Interviews
Chapter 14: Questionnaires
Chapter 15: Using Documents and Visual Texts
Chapter 16: Journaling as a Research Tool
Chapter 17: Creative Methods for Listening to Children in Research
Chapter 18: Analysing and Presenting Data
Chapter 19: Writing Up and Sharing Your Findings

Selected this text for our newly verified Dissertation Module and it has proved very useful with positive feedback from students

Mrs Terrie Blaszczyk
Froebel College, Roehampton University
February 12, 2018

I love this book, it's perfect for my childhood studies course. Great detail on how to plan and organize childhood studies and how to do research in infancy!

Mrs Franziska Vogel
Institute of Psychololgy, Otto Friedrich University of Bamberg
January 15, 2018

A fantastic update to a very popular resource. Flying off the shelves in the library!

Miss Louise Stafford
Early Years Department, Solihull College
September 11, 2017

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Chapter 7 Listening to Young Children

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