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Title: Meaning-making in young children's drawings
Author: Deguara, Josephine
ISNI:       0000 0004 6060 4711
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2015
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This study investigates the multiple layers of meaning-making young children represent in their drawings. Taking a social semiotics theoretical framework to analyse children’s drawings, this study is designed around four main research questions: to examine the modes children use, the themes they illustrate, the meanings they communicate, and the possible influences that affect their drawings. It is developed around three case studies of four-year old children who attended the same school in Malta. The data were collected over four months, where the three children were encouraged to draw in both the home and school settings. During and post drawing conversations were held with the children and their parents, to bring out the meanings conveyed. The observations and conversations were video-recorded and transcribed. In total, the children drew two hundred, twenty-three drawings. The children’s participation was supported throughout the data collection process: they video-recorded themselves, collated the drawings in display files and provided insightful understandings about their drawings. Developing a simple-complex mode criterion, which was represented on a purposely-created Data Cross-grid, the findings show that the three children had personal preferences in their use of semiotic styles. Findings from the study also illustrate that they drew a broad range of subjects with people, animals, and weather and sky features featuring prominently. The Data Cross-grid also represented a simple-complex theme criterion, where results indicate that the children had different drawing patterns and configurations. Ultimately, the Data Cross-grid provided a unique profile for each child as a drawer. The meanings in the three children’s drawings were complex and extensive. These were reflected in four main distinctive functions: drawing as a constructor of identity, drawing as a communicator of the self, drawing as a processor of knowledge, and drawing as a play process. The children’s drawings were also influenced by a variety of home, school and other community and cultural influences. In conclusion, the study brings out the importance of recognising drawing as a semiotic and visual language children use to process, create and communicate meaning.
Supervisor: Nutbrown, Cathy Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available