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Dissertation Idea - What Do You Think?


Clare
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I am in the process of choosing a topic for my dissertation and I know (kind of) that I would like to look at the school starting age, maybe something to do with summer born children, particularly boys (as I have a summer born boy!). However, I am stuck for a starting point. I have been out of academic study for just over a year now and my head is starting to hurt with it all again :o (well that, and a case of pregnancy brain lol).

 

What do you think to this as an initial idea? Is it too big, too small? Will there be enough info on it do you think?

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This strikes me as a very wide topic, but perhaps you can narrow it down to make it more manageable. How long do you have to carry out your research? This may well have a bearing on the kind of research question you choose.

 

It is an interesting topic, and there must be lots of issues that make up the whole subject. You need to decide which particular bit interests you most and offers you the opportunity to gather enough data in the time you have.

 

Good luck!

 

Maz

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I know that there was a long term study that reported recently, I think they had followed children right up to GCSE and found a substantial difference for the summer born.

 

How about looking at interventions that might impact on this negative effect? Things like later starting for younger children, or interventions such as reading recovery.

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I am in the process of choosing a topic for my dissertation and I know (kind of) that I would like to look at the school starting age, maybe something to do with summer born children, particularly boys (as I have a summer born boy!). However, I am stuck for a starting point. I have been out of academic study for just over a year now and my head is starting to hurt with it all again :o (well that, and a case of pregnancy brain lol).

 

What do you think to this as an initial idea? Is it too big, too small? Will there be enough info on it do you think?

 

 

Hi Clare

 

Just spotted an article in last Friday's TES - you can still buy it as I only got mine at the supermarket yesterday.

 

It's entitled "Psychiatric fears for summer-born kids" - a tad dramatic but might be interesting to lead off from for that very reason!

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Thanks for the feedback!

 

I think my interest lies with the PSED side of summer borns starting school. Working in a school for the January intake, I noticed that many of the children seemed to struggle with this area and this appeared to have a knock on effect in all other areas. I didn't do any formal obs/research on this, it is just something that I noticed.

 

Now I am working in pre-school and we have a few children getting ready to go to school in January and again, I don't 'feel' that they are ready in terms of PSED. That's not to say that they will all not be ready...

 

And then I look at my son (I know he is only 16 months lol) and I just can't imagine him starting school, a couple of months after he turns 4. My daughter was more than ready for the school day - she was 3 months off her 5th birthday when she started and I do think it makes a difference. Maybe I'm letting my personal feelings get in the way but I am really interested in it.

 

Now I just need to think of a suitable question and methods of data collection! My initial thoughts were to speak to the parents of the children I worked with in January (my daughter now attends at the school I was working in) as I know them well and I think they would be willing to participate. I'm just not sure what else.

 

Still, at least I am halfway there with a vague idea :o

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Off the top of my head [never good!]:

Interviews/questionnaires with the parents you mention

Similar with Reception teachers who may be able to give you data on how various groups of children scored on the Profile PSED - maybe data from more than 1 year to make sure it's not a 'one off' year? Presumably you'd be able to keep any such data confidential as it would be mainly figures?

Comments from Reception teachers about how the current cohort are doing if no firm data available

Comments from preschool staff about their perception of the cohort who've recently started school and those who are soon to start - maybe using something like Progress Matters or your own tool?

Observation

Over what time-frame are you looking for effects? To the end of EYFS? KS1? and so on.

How will you determine what effects are due to birth date & eliminate other possible factors?

 

It's a bit different here in that there's only one school intake in September each year. Is that something else worth looking at? So some are nearly 5, some a day or two over 4.

 

Hope I'm not too way off target!

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WRT data, I had to input the data onto a school spreadsheet for the teacher in June so I know she has a copy. We are also good friends, so enlisting her help, I don't think is going to be a problem! The teacher I worked with for the Jan intake is now teaching the new Sept intake so gaining a comparison from her should be manageable too.

 

How about getting in touch with the EYAT connected with the school? I have worked with her in the past and was wondering if she could maybe help in some way (presuming she would like to and is in a position to?)

 

Thanks for the ideas! Please, keep 'em coming!

 

My research has to be handed in at the end of August BUT, I am pregnant again so have many of my submission dates being moved forward to ensure I can complete the year. I don't think this one will be going in any sooner than the end of Aug, but the proposal is going in just after Christmas and I have been advised by my tutor to start data collection immediately after Christmas, so I kind of need an idea soon.

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Congratulations on the new pregnancy!

 

Well the EYAT would presumably have links to other schools & settings at least, so may be able to help you find a wider pool of data.

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Another thought - as I'm working on SEAD right at the minute - did the SEAD material come out of any perceived shortfalls in PSED? And thinking back some 5 years to my own dissertation I seem to remember I was astonished that the conclusion was about the first thing I wrote so you could start to list ways in which your research might change your practice, e.g. work on closer transitions with feeder schools, use SEAD materials to focus on areas of PSED these summer borns struggle with [if you find evidence that they do!]

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