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The essay talks about the way the development of children has occur over the years and what problems that occur when researchers are conducting observation on child development. The essay question is focus into two parts, the first part on the difficulties that occur when conducting research and the second on what changes have occur to prevent this. With this it helps to understand how many changes have been done to help children and find more information on development.
The development towards children is still unknown as there are different theories towards who had developed it. However, the main focus was to understand how a child would develop through certain stages and what would undermine their development. Cole and Cole 2005 p3, explain that the development of children is through certain stages that the child would have to go. These stages were the Physical, Social, Emotional and Cognition.
Tassoni, P (2001) explains the stage of development.
Physical is when the child is being more active and taking risk for self control.
Socially is when the child is interacting towards the peers and friends.
Emotional is when the child can express themselves without ant aid.
Cognition is when the child is able to think what is happening and what can they do.
To understand what the child is going through and to observe them the child would have to through some experiment to see how they are developing. This then caused some issues. This could be from how people are treating the child to what types of method they were using to observe the child, so those researchers were not harming them during their developing stages.
The biggest difficulties any researcher would have are ethics. Ethics is the most important factor a researcher would need to consider. Ethic research involves respecting people's privacy and making sure that they are considered safe. It is the most difficult and sensitive subject.
Under ethics, mostly the adults are more respected then the children; however this is not the case. Children must also be asked permission regarding any research which links to informed consent. Children now are meant to be treated just as the same way that anybody would treat an adult.
Informed consent involves telling the participant what the research is about, what they will be asked to do and how it might affect them. The problem about informed consent is that the children who are the participant in the researches might feel obligated to finish the research, even if they don't feel like it. To prevent this and to make them feel secure the child would be told that if they do not want to carry on they have the right to withdraw any time they want. This would make them feel equal. Also informed consent would allow parents to know what is happening as they would be told before hand what the children are going through so that they parents would not feel that something wrong is happening to the child.
Yet the difficulties that have arisen are that when the participant would want to withdraw, the researcher many have collected an important factor of information, and without the participant authorities they would have to get rid of that data.
Another major factor regarding children is when addressing them to see if they look bored, it would generally mean that they do not want to carry on. This is also supported by (Wiles et al 2004) on a research paper regarding 'Informed consent and the research Process' to overcome this problem, researcher should use what they have and try to analyse what data they have.
Another common way that researcher would gather data would be laboratories experiments (lab experiment). The children would come to laboratories and then would be given stimulation on a certain subject and the child would then try understanding and analysing what is happening or would be asked to perform some kind of task related to the scenario. Also with lab experiments the observer can see what the child is doing and that if anything goes wrong they can quickly amend any situation to their control. This helps them to control their variable such as timing, money or the number of participants.
The problem with this was that it was too controlling and made the children feel that they were being 'prodded and poked at'. The child can feel uncomfortable being looked at and that can then make the research unreliable as they do not feel that they would like to continue. To overcome this problem, researchers now have considered taking children to friendlier environment where the children can do what they like without anyone disturbing them. Penn (2008 pp27) also supports that the children are tested in labs.
However, Penn explains that even though the children may be taken a safe natural environment the researcher must meet standard measurement which is the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS). This is guidance on how the child will be assessed. This is a rating scale that is used as guidance on how hoe the child should be treated and what the rules in which the researcher must obey.
The next issues that rise are observation. This method is when the observer is looking at the children at a certain setting. This could be from three different setting. The first which would be the Laboratories, the second which would be in a natural field, yet some of the elements would be controlled and the third would be in a natural setting where the observer would just watch and do nothing. The problems with this method is that if the child if being observes in a natural environment for example there would be some different type of behaviours that people may have not seen and there are no control over the observation, so if something should go wrong there can not be ways to mend it.
To overcome this observer has to be very careful and understand that they can not control the entire variable as anything can go wrong. Going back to ethics, the observer must understand that parents may suddenly feel that they do not want someone staring at their child as they are some kind of zoo animal; they want to make sure that their child is safe.
The media has a big affect because of many case concerning that the children are being observes by paedophiles and that parents are thinking that their child's are not safe anymore. To have this overcome, the researchers will have the participants consent in order to what they are doing. Otherwise they would be breaking the code of conduct.
Questionnaire is another method of data collecting. "Form containing a set of questions; submitted to people to gain statistical information" 'Wordnetweb 2010'. This method is quite common in collecting data and is very easy to access as all the answer is in a piece of paper. However the issue with this is that people often seem to lie or give the answer to what the researcher want leading to confusion. In order to prevent this researchers must understand that not variable are in their control.
A general issue that comes across is that when researcher fine any issue they need to consider how it would the benefit the children and what the cost are. This is because there are many problem regarding the safety of children and that there are not many people helping them. This will then get other people to understand that researchers are there to help to understand how children's lives can be made better. They are not harming them and that they just want to understand how development of children occurs and how and why children develop at certain stages.
In conclusion it is often seen that the way observation happens is through scientific methods as this method are easier to handle and more easily to calculate what was happening to the child. However to get the result, what was happening to child was not a major concern as long as the child was able to do day to day activity. However today this is not the case. Ethic is a big major factor on the way a child is treated and to also make sure that there is no harm towards the child. Ethic will make sure that the child when being observe is happing towards certain guidelines that researchers must follow.
Overall, considering there are many problems for children's safety in the past. It seems that when those problems have been discovering, people have been attempting to overcome them and find solutions to help improve areas that need help. This also helps the children because researcher will not interfere with the development of children ad that observer can see what is happening to a child without harming them at all.
Word Count 1500
Definition of empirical Science (Online) Accesses at [27/2/2010]
(http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&defl=en&q=define:questionnaire&ei=n_-DL8NNW6jAeAsMCJAg&sa=X&oi=glossary_definition&ct=title&ved=0CAYQkAE ) (wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn)
Cole, M. & Cole S. (2005) pp 5 'The Development of Children', New York, W.H.Freeman. 5th edition
Penn, H. (2008) Understanding Early Childhood: Issues and Controversies. 2nd Ed. Maidenhead, Open University Press/McGraw Hill
Tassoni, Penny (2001) 'Playwork Element PB23.3 Providing opportunities for children to develop through play' (pp 114-115) Heinemann Education Publishers.
Wiles, Rose, Charles Vikki, Crow Graham and Heath Sue 2004, Informed Consent and the Research Process (Online) Accesses at [27/2/2010]