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What Was Your Fd Research Question?


Upsy Daisy
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I have stepped back into the second year of my EYFD course after a year out and I have to hand in a research project proposal next Tuesday.

 

I have nt had a chance to speak to any tutors to get guidance on choosing a question and the choice seems overwhelming.

 

Can anyone tell me what question they chose to help me get an idea of how to pitch it?

 

Thanks in advance.

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My first research project was around gun, war and superhero play as I had read a book that had really sparked an interest in this subject, my second was on communication friendly spaces after an article I saw on Teachers TV. Both were of great interest to me which helped enormously in carrying them out.

 

Start with something you find interesting and then think of a specific area of it that you would want to explore.

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Hi Mundia,

 

Thanks for the reply.

 

I'm quite interested in how practitioner language affects children's understanding and if the question of which comes first, thought or language has a clear cut answer. I haven't read a lot around it apart from what I've needed for assignments but I think this has probably been done to death which means that there will be lots of literature. Is this is a good thing? The problem I have is that I don't know how important it is that I find something very original to investigate. I think that could be very hard!

 

My other interest would be whether children settle into settings quite as quickly as practitioners think they do. This is based on my own experience as a mother being told that my children were happy and settled in pre-school but actually now realising that my instincts that they weren't settled were correct. This was no doubt due to them having Asperger's Syndrome but my experience has made me watch other practitioners and children settling into my care more closely and begin to think that children can attend settings for months before they truly relax, if they ever do.

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I found that my question evolved as my research progressed. I wanted to investigte how and whether children stereotype the colours pink and blue according to gender, and how this affects their creativity.

 

I did some work around children's views of a variety of colours (involving choosing different coloured items for a party bag for a mythical friend) initially to see whether they would automatically select blue for a boy and pink for a girl (they didn't). Then I offered three 'free' collage activities - one with only blue resources, one with only pink and a third with the full range of colours on offer.

 

At the same time my colleagues and I gathered observations of children whenever they spoke about colour, or selected colour for a purpose when painting, drawing or choosing resources.

 

Anyway the point of all this rambling is that when I came to write up my project I realised that it wasn't really about how pink and blue affects children's creativity, it was actually more about how their possible steretypical views of those colours affected their particiption in creative activities. I don't think there's any harm in pitching a research project with one title and actually writing it up against another!

 

Unfortunately I can't actually find my final research project to give you the complete title. :o But it would have been something like "How does children's stereotyping of pink and blue affect their participation in creative activities?"

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I don't believe there is pressure to research something new or exciting - they're looking at your ability to conduct a thorough literature review, how you collect and analyse data and how well you can reach conclusions about your subject area, and how you use the data and primary research to justify these conclusions. I found it very difficult doing my worksheet research because there has actually been very little into whether worksheets are a useful learning tool or a force for evil in the world. So I had to be very creative which of course was more difficult!

 

Of the two issues you've raised, I'd say the latter is probably easier to achieve, given the number of practitioners you know, and the number of parents you know. Would you prefer to research the views of parents and practitioners connected with the same children specifically or would you like to concentrate more on parents' and practitioners' views more generally? The latter would be easier to do I guess but if you could identify a number of children whose parents and pre-school providers were both happy to complete questionnaires/interviews then perhaps that might be more interesting.

 

I love research - if you need the services of a 'critical friend' then you do know where I am. My services come very cheap as you know! :o

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What about the ethical implications of making parents feel that their children may not be as settled as they think?

 

I also wonder if it might be better to look at practitioners views compared with my own observations of the child's behaviour or does that make things too complicated?

 

Too many questions and not enough time!

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The change is part of what makes research exciting (to me anyway!). You have an idea, start reading, and before you know it, you have got rivetted by something else, which leads you to another question.

 

I can see your ideas about settling using something like Leuvan to show, so using a measure of well being to show 'settle. I think that could be really interesting piece of research.

 

Your other question, around language of practitioners, is interesting but its also huge, so for a first piece of research, Id probably go with something simpler, unless you can narrow it down significantly.

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Now you've got me thinking. You could look into what different views of being 'settled' are. Are there any key differences between what parents and setting think, as compared to the child's voice?

 

Regarding ethical issue, you could always speak to former parents, whose children have moved on from you and ask them to reflect back.

 

Like Maz, I love research, I cant wait to get started on apiece of my own,

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What about the ethical implications of making parents feel that their children may not be as settled as they think?

I like mundia's ideas of what being 'settled' means - perhaps you could start here by asking parents and practitioners the question and then analyse the differences? Then maybe you could ask for parents who feel their child is not settling as well as expected to take part in your research project, as well as parents who are confident their child has settled well, and you could possibly explore the different scenarios and see what is different between the two? Of course if you had time you could select a few families who fall into either camp, and see what common themes there are.

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Thank you for the much-needed guidance.

 

I have to write a research proposal to hand in next week including a literature review.

 

I need to find a question which I base this on but I can change it if I choose when I do the whole project next term.

 

So I could perhaps ask;

 

'What criteria do practitioners use to evaluate when a child is fully settled into a new setting?'

 

I can propose using practitioner interviews to collect the data.

 

Then I can give it a bit more thought for the full project and develop it if possible into whether their judgements match those of parents or observations carried out by someone else using the Laevers involvement scales.

 

Does that sound realistic and reasonable?

Edited by Upsy Daisy
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This title suggests you have discarded the idea of comparing and contrasting these views with those of parents, but sounds good and clear to me. It is sufficiently narrow to prevent yourself getting bogged down too.

 

The only thing I'd add is that you might consider whether you need to define 'setting' more closely in your title - are you talking about early years settings including reception class, or just childminders and pre-schools/full day care settings? Actually, I wonder if the criteria of pre-school practitioners would be different to those of childminders or full day care practitioners..? :o

 

I'd also suggest using questionnaires to gather data, perhaps using criteria revealed during your literature review.

 

Sounds like you're making great progress to me!

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I did mine on the impact of the key person approach on the key person; inspired from observing a colleague and one of her key children preparing to separate when the child moved on. They were very close and had a good key person/key child relationship; due to good transition practice the child moved on happily (or did he? thinking about the on going discussion about thinking a child has settled!) yet the key person, who although remained professional, was clearly missing the child!

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Blimey it's so complicated! I guess I need to choose an age range too as there's a world of difference between babies and reception children.

 

 

I did mine on the impact of the key person approach on the key person; inspired from observing a colleague and one of her key children preparing to separate when the child moved on. They were very close and had a good key person/key child relationship; due to good transition practice the child moved on happily (or did he? thinking about the on going discussion about thinking a child has settled!) yet the key person, who although remained professional, was clearly missing the child!

 

Thanks janny.

 

Does this mean I could do it on obs of one child over a few weeks?

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Ooh, reading this is really making me feel nostalgic. I thoroughly enjoyed the research aspects of my FD and find that I am still missing it, a year on.

 

Perhaps I might do a bit 'just for me', although without an audience it won't mean too much!!

 

What sort of setting are you in, Upsy Daisy? I'm in a Day Nursery, with many years experience of a Pre-school - if you're not the same as me and I was to do a similar sort of thing, then maybe at some point we could compare results?

 

Sue

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Ooh, reading this is really making me feel nostalgic. I thoroughly enjoyed the research aspects of my FD and find that I am still missing it, a year on.

 

Perhaps I might do a bit 'just for me', although without an audience it won't mean too much!!

 

What sort of setting are you in, Upsy Daisy? I'm in a Day Nursery, with many years experience of a Pre-school - if you're not the same as me and I was to do a similar sort of thing, then maybe at some point we could compare results?

 

Sue

 

That sounds fascinating Sue but you must be a glutton for punishment!

 

I'm a childminder but I do casual cover in our village nursery. Unless I have a surprise new child and just concentrate on that one I think I'd need to use nurseries to gather the data.

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Hmm, yes, I think you would certainly need to cast about further afield. But why just use nurseries? You could ask a couple of local nurseries and some Pre-schools, so you could compare yourself. And if you are going to go down that road, why not include Nursery Schools/Classes and Reception? Before you know it your research will have diversified into whether different types of settings have different effects on settling rates...or has that already been observed in this conversation?

 

Sue

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You're scaring me now! :o

 

I know I'm going to get bogged down in this and not be able to see the wood for the trees. I do that in normal 2000 word essays. I think I need to choose a small age range and then look for settings which take them. I am not a well organised person so I was wondering if I could do it without questionnaires or interview but just observe one child. Is that a dreadful cop out?

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In the long term I think it would be fascinating to have a small group of children that you tracked through their various transitions, but I know that's not really what you need for now.

 

How about selecting a small sample group (I think your results might not prove much with just one child), studying them for now - you could always make a proposal to continue tracking the group as part of your conclusion. Perhaps, whether their ability to settle changes at all in different types of settings or the different settling techniques they encounter.

 

Enough of these flights of fancy - it would just make interesting stuff later.

 

Sorry, my intention was never to scare you. You don't need to be dreadfully organised (I'm not and managed ok), just a bit of time putting questionnaires together, or investing in a dictaphone and some practice if you prefer a face to face approach where you can follow up loose ends and interesting 'throw-aways' there and then. Having a system of evaluating your data before you do it is also a good idea.

 

I will shut up now!!

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In the long term I think it would be fascinating to have a small group of children that you tracked through their various transitions, but I know that's not really what you need for now.

 

How about selecting a small sample group (I think your results might not prove much with just one child), studying them for now - you could always make a proposal to continue tracking the group as part of your conclusion. Perhaps, whether their ability to settle changes at all in different types of settings or the different settling techniques they encounter.

 

Enough of these flights of fancy - it would just make interesting stuff later.

 

Sorry, my intention was never to scare you. You don't need to be dreadfully organised (I'm not and managed ok), just a bit of time putting questionnaires together, or investing in a dictaphone and some practice if you prefer a face to face approach where you can follow up loose ends and interesting 'throw-aways' there and then. Having a system of evaluating your data before you do it is also a good idea.

 

I will shut up now!!

 

Please don't shut up!

 

I could talk about it for hours and I know I'll go off at tangents because it's interesting!

 

Just thinking about theory for the lit review.

 

For why it's important for the child to be settled:

 

Bowlby because the child would have to form an attachment to the new practitioner.

 

EYFS positive relationships

 

Experiential Education because they focus on well-being so there might be something about settling in.

 

 

 

 

For how practitioners evaluate whether the child is settled:

 

Laevers for involvement as suggested by the lovely Mundia.

 

 

 

How on earth do you organise it?

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For how practitioners evaluate whether the child is settled:

Laevers for involvement as suggested by the lovely Mundia.

 

Hi

this sounds soo interesting. I'm just about to finish my first module of the FDEY, so a long way off doing research myself.

 

Becoming a parent has really changed how I viewed children's settling-in. I used to work in a setting where we told parents to leave, while their child was still screaming, re-assuring mum that 'he'll stop as soon as you're gone.' Well often they did, but since reading 'Why love matters' by S. Gerhardt, I have often wondered and looked more closely at children who were perceived to be settled. She argues that often children who were 'happily playing' at a setting were in fact stressed but using coping mechanisms. She found them to have very high Cortisol levels (not sure how that was measured).

 

For my children, I was lucky to find a fabulous pre-school, who believed unhappy children are not ready yet to be left and they had an open door policy, so I ended up staying for some time, but there were no tears for my DDs :o .

 

All the best with it, I'm sure you'll enjoy it!

 

x Titania

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I have stepped back into the second year of my EYFD course after a year out and I have to hand in a research project proposal next Tuesday.

 

I have nt had a chance to speak to any tutors to get guidance on choosing a question and the choice seems overwhelming.

 

Can anyone tell me what question they chose to help me get an idea of how to pitch it?

 

Thanks in advance.

 

 

I looked at the benefits of Early Reading and the impact on a child's future learning

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Becoming a parent has really changed how I viewed children's settling-in. I used to work in a setting where we told parents to leave, while their child was still screaming, re-assuring mum that 'he'll stop as soon as you're gone.' Well often they did, but since reading 'Why love matters' by S. Gerhardt, I have often wondered and looked more closely at children who were perceived to be settled. She argues that often children who were 'happily playing' at a setting were in fact stressed but using coping mechanisms. She found them to have very high Cortisol levels (not sure how that was measured).

 

 

 

x Titania

 

This is clearly someone I need to look up today - thanks!

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  • 1 month later...

Hi there, I'm new to the forum and will be returning to University after Maternity Leave to complete my Foundation Degree in Children and Young Peoples Services. I too am looking for an area to base my research on. As a childminder I want to pick something which is relevant to my own experience and something I will enjoy researching.

 

Great advice already given, thanks

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Hi there, I'm new to the forum and will be returning to University after Maternity Leave to complete my Foundation Degree in Children and Young Peoples Services. I too am looking for an area to base my research on. As a childminder I want to pick something which is relevant to my own experience and something I will enjoy researching.

 

Great advice already given, thanks

 

Hi WellyBelly and welcome!

 

I'm a childminder and have just completed my FD in Integrated Children's and Young People's Services with Wolverhampton Uni - hope you enjoy it!

 

Nona

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  • 1 month later...

I went on to year 2 of the FD after my PGCE. For my action research module I investigated whether boys uptake of signing activities equalled that of girls. I did level 3 signing with babies and young children a couple of years ago but never actually measured its effectiveness. This module gave me the perfect opportunity to find out whether boys participated in the activity as much as girls. I involved parents in it too by sending home a resource bag with a short yes or no questionnaire inside. My co-worker also observed me working with the children, ticking a tally chart every time she saw a boy and girl use a signing gesture. I made a note of how many boys and girls became disengaged from the activity if at all. This way, evidence was triangulated making it more reliable. The lecturer is, in fact, more concerned with the research process itself rather than your findings. I would stick to a very simple question. I collected quantitative data which I found much easier to evaluate and...I think I do enough observations day to day and wanted a break from the norm, against the advice of my lecturer. My lecturer awarded me 76% for my paper, which was moderated and increased to 80% proving that the subject does not have to be ground-breaking, we just have to stick to the correct process.

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Hi,

 

I decided to look at Early reading i.e parents reading to children at home!

and the impact on future learning. Once I started got really interested in the subject and used the project to inpact greatly in practice at my preschool.

 

this was my favourite module! I issued questionaires to parents on how often they read and who else in the family reads to the children, aksed are they confident in reading? ( This then highlighted parents who may need workshops) .

 

following this we have implemented several things at the setting working in partnership with the foundation leader who supported me with this

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