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Questioning ‘voice’ and silence: Exploring creative and participatory approaches to researching with children through a Reggio Emilian lens

Sarah Chicken Orcid Logo, Gisselle Tur Porres Orcid Logo, Dawn Mannay Orcid Logo, Jade Parnell, Jacky Tyrie Orcid Logo

Qualitative Research

Swansea University Authors: Gisselle Tur Porres Orcid Logo, Jacky Tyrie Orcid Logo

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Abstract

There has been much debate around the ‘voice’ of the child in qualitative research. This paper contributes to these discussions by drawing on the philosophy of Reggio Emilia, which emphasizes dialogical encounters that recognize the value of children’s subjectivities. The paper critically reflects o...

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Published in: Qualitative Research
ISSN: 1468-7941 1741-3109
Published: SAGE Publications 2024
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa65559
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Abstract: There has been much debate around the ‘voice’ of the child in qualitative research. This paper contributes to these discussions by drawing on the philosophy of Reggio Emilia, which emphasizes dialogical encounters that recognize the value of children’s subjectivities. The paper critically reflects on a qualitative study of primary education during the COVID-19 pandemic that involved children aged 5–7 (n= 30), teachers (n=6) and parents and carers (n=18) in Wales. The study generated data using creative methodologies, field notes and qualitative interviews. The philosophy of Reggio Emilia was utilized to be reflexive about the processes of research design, fieldwork, data analysis and dissemination, questioning tensions between voice and silence and how research teams can face and respond to the challengingissues that complicate the intent of respecting children’s subjectivities and perspectives. A key lesson from this process of reflection and questioning was the need to be attentive to and attuned with the subtleties of children’s paralanguage and to maintain a level of flexibility in research design and processes that respected children’s requirements and preferences. While the study focussed on children’s experiences, the lessons learnt from evaluating the study in relation to the philosophy of Reggio Emilia have value for wider qualitative projects with diverse communities
Keywords: children's ‘voice’; COVID-19; creative methods; mosaic approach; qualitative research; reflexivity; Reggio Emilia; school-based research; Wales
College: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Funders: Welsh Government