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Title: The barriers and facilitators of groups of Year 5 children conducting independent studies
Author: Hussain, Nazam
ISNI:       0000 0004 2677 205X
Awarding Body: The University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2009
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Pupil voice has been an area under discussion in a plethora of government documents, and has been subject to extensive res~arch. A number of models of participation have been proposed, which highlight hierarchical stages from mere consultation with children to shared decision making and responsibility. Pupil voice literature has been subject to criticism in terms of seeing children as sources of information and a tendency to speak 'for them' rather than 'with them'. This has led to a methodology of adopting children as researchers in community- and education-based projects in both primary and secondary settings. Various benefits for participants engaging in the research process have been claimed by these studies in terms of increased confidence, developing inquiring minds and increased social competence without explication of possible mediating factors. The present study investigated the process of children acting as researchers with two groups of three Year 5 children conducted independent studies around the topic of transition from primary to secondary school. An exploratory case study design was adopted with participatory research methods and an illuminative evaluation to explore the benefits enjoyed by the participants, the types of adult support needed and possible barriers and facilitators in allowing children to conduct their own research. All participants involved in the process were interviewed and group sessions voice-recorded, the results of which were analysed using a thematic analytical approach. The findings indicate that, during the process of conducting research, children learnt new skills and valued working in a meaningful manner. During the process, the groups of children engaged in collaborative working and decision making, and required different types of adult support during different stages of the research process. The groups of children showed evidence of producing research which was sceptical, systematic and ethical. The whole process involved inherent power differences and wider external pressures. The role of talk to explicate some of the reported benefits is discussed, as well as reference to learning and developmental theories. Adult mediation is discussed within the zone of proximal development and the scaffolding framework. The contexts in terms of performance versus creativity - and issues of power - are acknowledged. Implications for EP practice, limitations of the present study and proposals for further research are highlighted. Key phrases: children as researchers, thematic analysis, case study design, learning and developmental theories.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available