From listening to understanding: interpreting young children’s perspectives

Yeshe Colliver*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)
    6 Downloads (Pure)


    As young children’s perspectives are increasingly ‘taken seriously’ across disciplines, the pursuit of authentic and ethical research with young children has become the subject of recent discussion. Much of this relates to listening authentically to (or understanding) young children, focusing on research design, ethics, theory, methods and data analysis. However, the literature on data analysis provides insufficient guidance to help researchers move from listening to young children to truly understanding them. To illustrate the deficit, this article draws on data from a study of young (two- to five-year-old) children’s perspectives on their learning. The argument is supported with a discussion of the challenges of analysing data. The article concludes by suggesting how a robust theorisation of the key concepts of a study is one way all adults can move from ‘adultist’ assumptions towards more valid understandings of young children’s perspectives.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)854-865
    Number of pages12
    JournalEuropean Early Childhood Education Research Journal
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • research with young children
    • methodology
    • data analysis
    • young children's perspectives
    • learning through play


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