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Title: A practitioner-researcher inquiry into choice, voice and agency in individual dramatherapy sessions : co-researching with children in a primary school setting
Author: Ramsden, Emma
ISNI:       0000 0004 6351 9600
Awarding Body: Leeds Beckett University
Current Institution: Leeds Beckett University
Date of Award: 2014
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This qualitative study engages seven children as co-researchers of their individual dramatherapy experiences within a mainstream inner-city primary school. The study adopted a practitioner research approach and data were collected over 18 months. The research questions address the ways in which children can engage as co-researchers in the reflective phase of dramatherapy sessions; whether choice-making can promote agency; and what the field of dramatherapy can learn from children’s reflections. Data collection took place across three phases: Phase One (two sessions) was concerned with assent choosing. The co-researching took place in Phase Two (10 sessions), during 15 minutes of reflection time towards the end of individual dramatherapy sessions. Phase Three (three sessions) focused on each child and myself reviewing their co-researching experiences. The children led the pace of their engagement throughout the phases, and reviewed their choice to co-research on a session-by-session basis. They also chose the nature of their engagement from 12 arts-based creative research methods, which had been identified and made available from the existing practice of dramatherapy and the additional resources already in the therapy room. The study is underpinned by theoretical frameworks relating to choice, voice and agency, and by practices – such as the provision of research methods that draw on creative processes – that invite children to be equal agents in matters which concern them. Also influential in the study’s design are practitioner research theories that aim to develop and improve practice, engaging the researcher as an active and effective listener whilst respecting the existing client-therapist relationship. 4 The findings are presented in the form of a thematic analysis and three case studies. The findings reveal that making choices about the ongoing nature of assent is an important way in which children can gain insight into their co-researching experiences – and therefore into themselves. They also show that the opportunity to choose creative research methods and resources, through which children can review and reflect upon their co-researching experiences, promotes and reveals their agency. This study has the potential to contribute to theory, practice and research in dramatherapy, and to the field of research with children.
Supervisor: Jones, P. ; Broadhead, P. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available