Young children's research behaviour? Children aged four to eight years finding solutions at home and at school

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle


Children's research abilities have become increasingly recognised by adults, yet children remain excluded from the academy. This restricts children's freedom to make choices in matters affecting them, underestimates their capabilities and denies children particular rights. The present paper reports on young children's problem-solving as part of a small-scale interpretive study designed to reconceptualise ways in which children's naturalistic behaviours may be perceived as research. Within a ‘jigsaw methodology’ designed to accommodate participatory, emancipatory and inductive approaches, multi-modal case studies were co-constructed with children aged four to eight (n = 138) and their practitioners (n = 15) in three primary schools and with selected children and their primary carers participating at home. Outcomes include the reassertion by academics of problem-solving as research behaviour, the capturing of young children's engagements in problem-solving as research behaviour and the identification of a range of factors affecting the children's problem-solving activity, including high-order thinking.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1147-1165
Number of pages18
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Issue number8
Early online date18 Jun 2013
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jun 2013



  • children as researchers
  • children's rights
  • early childhood
  • problem-solving
  • ‘jigsaw’ methodology

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