Mirja Köngäs, Kaarina Määttä


How to conduct childhood research from the children’s point of view? Among various methods, ethnography has proven to be a method by which researchers are able to find the reality of children's lives and symbolic messages within the reality of children. The researcher must be open to set aside his / her adult-like thinking and jump right into children’s experiences, feelings, and interactions to find the understanding of child-centered answers. How is this done? We divide the critical stages of ethnographic childhood research into four: 1) acquiring material, 2) assuming the role of a researcher, 3) reaching the child’s voice, and 4) describing the results to open up the world of children. This article opens up a discussion also about researchers’ preparedness to self-reflect and ethical perspectives in ethnographic childhood research. Ethnographic research helps to see a child’s world and can thus contribute to children’s wellbeing and education.

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ethnography, children, childhood research, child orientation

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