ChildForum Office of Pre-Primary Education

ChildForum Office of Pre-Primary EducationLead advisor on early childhood care and education 
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Interviewing Young Children: A Socio-Cultural Approach


Shoes and Ships and Sealing Wax - Taking a Sociocultural Approach to Interviewing Young Children. By Jill Robbins. Published in NZ Research in ECE Journal, 2002, Vol. 5, pp. 13 - 30

Abstract

When conventional interviewing methodology is employed with young children there appears to be a tendency to overlook or avoid the 'talk of many things' in order to focus on the topic of interest to the researcher. The consequence of this is that the researcher may gain an inaccurate picture of children's real understandings, ideas and abilities. If, however, a sociocultural viewpoint is brought to the interview context, then extended conversation (the 'talk of many things'), and the cultural tools that children might use during the interview, can provide a greater insight into their thinking and the activities in which it is embedded. This paper will provide examples from research in which a sociocultural perspective has been applied to the data and data-gathering methods, thus providing greater insights into young children's ideas than conventional methods might reveal.

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