The Use of Observations in Early Childhood Research

Musgrave, Jackie (2019). The Use of Observations in Early Childhood Research. In: Brown, Zeta and Perkins, Helen eds. Beyond the Conventional: Using innovative methods in early years research., Volume 1. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 188–201.



The aim of this chapter is to describe and evaluate the use of childhood observations as a tool for educational research. Whilst the focus of the chapter is educational research, the content can be applied to how observations can be used in early years practice. The chapter starts with an overview of how observations have been used historically by the pioneers who have helped us to learn about children’s learning and development. I will draw on how I used observations as a tool for my doctoral research which explored how practitioners create inclusive environments for young children with chronic health conditions. The ethical considerations that need to be considered in relation to observing young children will be discussed in detail.

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