Conducting research is important in many sectors as it provides influential ways to improve outcomes. In Early Childhood Studies, research allows us to reform education provocations and integrate improved strategies.
During my second year at ARU, I learnt about the process of research and how this can inspire change for Early Years practitioners, students, and lecturers.
As students, we research all of the time. For example, before we start an assignment, there is research to be completed before we are able to write informatively.
After learning how to conduct research using ARU Library educational databases, my process of how I approach each module will now be totally different. Spending two weeks working as a Research Assistant for the Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care taught me that there is much more to research than I knew.
The first part of my research required me to read students’ work and select the recurring themes across their portfolios. After doing this, I moved on to conduct primary research, where I interviewed students and finalised their opinions in line with my data. I then put all of my research together in a thematic analysis, informing the department of my findings.
My next task was to use the key words selected from the analysis and conduct a literature review. I logged in to my ARU Library account, where I used the Education databases (found within the Education subject guide) to start my search.
This process was extremely thorough as I was required to search all three databases (British Education Index, ERIC and Professional Development Collection) using 30 different combination searches. From the searches, I had to select the journal articles that I thought would be beneficial to our research.
After 90 database searches and selecting journals to use in the research, it was time to use these sources in my literature review. I had a variety of sources that I had collected using different approaches, which put me in a great position as I came to write my own literature review.
The research and literature review I carried out relates to the Festival Bridge Project, and will be used in alignment with findings from the project. It lays the foundations for the rest of the journal article that will be written by Dr Leanne Gray and Dr Mallika Kanyal. Our research will aim to inspire creative provocations in Early Years and further extend the knowledge of Early Years educators.
My experience in seeking out primary and secondary data has also put me in a good position as I emerge into my final year of studying. I feel equipped for when I come to complete my own research as part of my Undergraduate Major Project.
Although research can be time-consuming, it definitely improves your collection of data. The more research resources you have, the stronger your written work will be. Now before I start a new module, I will use this research process to strengthen my knowledge.
Mitzi studies BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies at ARU in Chelmsford. Find out more about this and other degree courses at one of our Open Days.