Before I started this class on Building Research competencies, I had a very vague idea of what research entails. This class has taught me a lot about research. Research in early childhood is described by Mac Naughton & Rolfe(2010) as “ a tool that helps us answer important questions about early childhood – questions that would remain unanswered were it not for the willingness of academics, practitioners and participants (children and adults) to engage with the research process”(p.3). I learned that research is a tool that I needed to learn how to use.
This class taught me that doing research requires that one must use the right sources. I now know that not all websites are credible sources of knowledge; to ensure that the sources used are credible we have to use the five criteria for evaluating the web pages; Accuracy, Authority, Currency, Objectivity and Coverage. I learned that we must maintain ethical standards in research. This taught me the importance of, among others, ensuring that there is informed consent of the participants, confidentiality and privacy and to avoid deceiving the participants because then their consent is not informed.
I have studied how to design research based on the specific matter that is the focus of the investigation and gained a lot of knowledge. I now know that in order to design a research project I would first have to find a topic , and make it a researchable question and then decide how that research will be undertaken. I also learned the different data collection methods and when to use them.
It has been a very interesting class because there are so many issues in research that I had never given thought to such the ethical issue of the risk/benefit equation and how research on children can include psychological risks and therefore decisions on whether to carry out a study involving the child must factor all these issues.
As an early childhood professional I have gained so much from this class. I am more knowledgeable in how to interact, how to get information from the children and parents in ways that are ethical and just and it has also strengthened my observation skills where my students are concerned.
I would like to thank all of my colleagues for all your wonderful and informative discussions and Dr. Parrish for her wonderful guidance and direction. Good luck in your future classes!
Mac Naughton, G., Rolfe, S.A, & Siraj- Blatchford, I., (2010). Doing early childhood research: International perspectives on theory and practice(2nd Ed.) New York, NY: McGraw- Hill