1997-1998, Volume 1, Journal Articles

NZ Research in ECE Journal Volume 1 (1997/8)

early childhood research journal


Introducing Computers to Preschoolers

Claire Fletcher-Flinn
University of Auckland
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 1, 1997/8, pp. 7 - 14.

In this paper two studies in which preschoolers used computers are discussed.  In the first study children used a touch screen with an interactive story-book and gender differences and attitudes were investigated.  The second study involved intervention in placing computers in children’s homes and studying outcomes for social metacognition.  The findings suggested that if children are given the opportunity to interact freely with computers they need to be given some instruction and a knowledgeable adult needs to be on hand to correct any problems that occur.  There are individual differences in children’s computer interest and not all take to it ‘naturally’.  Some children need time to build up confidence. This has implications in a group setting such as a preschool where children may feel somewhat intimidated by those who have greater skills and who are inclined to take over.

The Use of Group and Individual Interviews with Young Children

Joy L Cullen
Massey University
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 1, 1997/8, pp. 15 - 22.

Changes in interview methods over time are reviewed. The pros and cons of using an individual or group interview approach with young children are discussed, including using photographs as a stimulus, tasks and displays, children’s own spontaneous and initiated stimulus. Types of questions useful to elicit understanding or recall about learning tasks or play activities include: open-ended questions as a conversation starter; an explicit prompt if the child does not respond to an open-ended question; and a contextualised prompt involving the direct use of resources. 

Ethnographic Research: Are there Easier Ways to Collect Data?

Eileen Ledger
Universityof Otago
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 1, 1997/8, pp. 23 - 29.

The ethnographic approach to researching is briefly introduced in this paper.  A study of the transition to school of 16 preschoolers, looking at the child in the contexts of home, preschool/kindergarten, and school.  The joys and tribulations of using an ethnographic approach to study are discussed including recording problems, technical issues to be considered and managed, practical issues in observing/talking/meeting with children and adults in their different settings, relationships with others related to the children and families and within the settings, getting ethics approval and public relations.  Given the difficulty of the approach, the benefits for gathering richly contextualised data are considerable and for the researcher it means doing meaningful research with real children and really getting to know them.

Ethical Issues for Early Childhood Researchers

Valerie N. Podmore
NZRECE Journal, Vol. 1, 1997/8, pp. 30 -35.

Notes from the forum chaired by Valerie Podmore and compiled for this article provide: (a) a definition of ethics along with a conceptual framework, (b) a list of some different codes of ethics available to the researcher, (c) issues for the researcher to consider including the Privacy Act, ownership of data, and issues around funding and reporting.  A list of general ethical principles relating to research participants, research staff, and to research reporting are provided.

Research Priorities and Areas for Research in the Next Decade

Participants at the 1st NZ Early Childhood Research Symposium in December 1997, discussed and brainstormed what the areas were in which research was needed.


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