A ‘jigsaw’ methodology for early childhood research: a flexible and reflexive approach

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ABSTRACT This presentation reports on a study which explored how warrant may be established for young children to be regarded as researchers. Adopting a new sociological stance, this interpretive study challenged assumptions of ‘evolving capacities’ that may exclude young children from the academy. A ‘jigsaw’ methodology was developed, combining features of single methodologies to produce a research design responsive to the research aim whilst retaining reflexivity to participants. This comprised constructivist grounded theory, critical ethnography, case study and ‘mosaic approach’; multiple methods were adopted to secure multiple perspectives. The study was conducted according to BERA Ethical Guidelines. Professional researchers established a taxonomy of research behaviours and young children’s capabilities in relation to these behaviours were recognised, providing warrant to regard young children as researchers on the academy’s terms. These findings indicate that the ‘jigsaw methodology’ proved effective for this study. Moreover, the ‘jigsaw methodology allowed for methodological decisions to be made during the study’s progress, giving primacy to the participants and the data they co-constructed. The flexibility and reflexivity afforded by the ‘jigsaw methodology’ may make it particularly useful for research in ‘real world’ early childhood education and care contexts.


ConferenceBritish Early Childhood Education Research Association (BECERA) Conference 2013: Researching Children's Lives: Questions of Practice & Methods
Period26/02/13 → …
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  • Methods
  • children's perspectives
  • knowledge
  • methodological approaches


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