Young children as researchers in play

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapter


The Young Children As Researchers (YCAR) study (Murray, 2012) found that when young children lead play they sometimes behave similarly to professional adult researchers, and although this is often unacknowledged, there are ways for adults to recognise such behaviour. This chapter discusses young children’s rights to play and research and definitions of play and research, alongside their marginalisation from both. Links are made between young children’s epistemic play and research, exemplified by YCAR findings revealing children as capable researchers during play. The YCAR has messages for practitioners wishing to recognise children’s self-directed research in play as a valuable tool for constructing understanding.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Excellence of Play
EditorsJanet Moyles
Place of PublicationMaidenhead, UK
PublisherMcGraw Hill Education
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9780335264186
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2015

Bibliographical note

Jane Murray is Associate Professor and Co-Director at the Centre for Education and Research, University of Northampton, UK. She has published extensively on early childhood education and social inclusion, and is Editor of the International Journal of Early Years Education.


  • YCAR
  • Young children as researchers in play
  • Agency
  • Play
  • Social justice


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