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Title: Educational psychologists' rationales for different types of representation of children's views in written communication
Author: Ingram, Rachel M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2689 2027
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2010
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Writing about children's views is integral to EP work. Any written account of children's views is one of many possible interpretations, each of which may have a different impact. The choices EPs make about their writing may be informed by ethical, political and therapeutic considerations as well as the differing agendas of the readership. However, making a decision about how to represent children's views is problematic; EPs themselves report dilemmas and have been criticised for writing in ways that are disempowering for children. There is very little research on this aspect of EP practice. The aim of this thesis is to explore EPs' rationales for writing about children's views and how these link with their practice. I used discourse analysis to examine the representation of children's views. This involved focusing on the social functions of written communication rather than assuming that writing was a medium of communication. I considered both EP rationales about how they represented children's views and examples of EP writing. My data came from published work by EPs and from a focus group of my colleagues. I analysed papers on EP writing that contained an example of EP writing and an accompanying rationale. The focus group was asked to reflect on their practice in writing about children's views and to provide examples of their own writing. I looked for patterns in the arguments for different types of writing about children's views (known "as interpretative repertoires) and compared these with the styles in the examples of actual EP writing. I found that repertoires formed a hierarchical structure. There were two main repertoires used by the EPs: 'writing as a record', where writing is considered to be neutral; and 'writing as an event', where writing is understood to be one account of many and tailored to anticipate its impact on readers. These were subdivided into further repertoires, which I termed 'strands'. EPs used different repertoires in different situations rather than applying a consistent framework. I identified 'winning' arguments which seemed to mediate shifts between repertoires, but privileged one repertoire rather than resolving the differences in assumptions. EPs could use my analysis to reflect on their practice by comparing their own use of repertoires with those used by the EPs in this study, and challenging the assumptions which underpin the way they represent children's views. Potentially, further research on EP use of 'winning' arguments may reveal tacit rules which determine how children's views are represented. My analysis also suggests the need for a coherent theoretical framework to inform practice, as justifications which rely on using different assumptions on different occasions are vulnerable to criticism.
Supervisor: Squires, Garry Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available