What insights have you gained about research from taking this course?
I have to say that I have learned a lot about research throughout this eight week course. The very first week when we learned about how to read a research paper is something I will take with me for the rest of my academic career. Before this course I never would have known that there is a design aspect to a research project and definitely had no idea about quantitative and qualitative design. I have gained a respect for researchers now that I have learned about all of the things they have to take into consideration even before beginning the field work or the data analysis.
In what ways have your ideas about the nature of doing research changed?
I think before this course I thought it was fairly simple: the researcher chose a topic, maybe did a little research on what others had found about the topic, decided who would participate, do their observations, write about their findings. Now I know that there are lots and lots of steps and things to consider. The idea of conducting a thorough research study is overwhelming and still intimidating.
What lessons about planning, designing, and conducting research in early childhood did you learn?
Planning affects the design and how the research will be conducted. In early childhood one of the most important parts of research is taking ethical issues into consideration. Confidentiality and obtaining proper consent from all participants is crucial. Also, attempting to plan for those extraneous variables that may alter or affect the study is important.
What are some of the challenges you encountered – and in what ways did you meet them?
I honestly did not think that I would ever understand anything that we would talk about this semester when we first began. I decided to take it one step at a time and with the support of my colleagues and Dr. Todd it has not been as overwhelming as I thought it would be. There was still times that I would read our resources and feel like I didn’t understand I word I had just read. Then I would see that others had the same issue and it made me feel better and I would go back and read it again. Surprisingly it started to make sense and I was able to put my thoughts together.
What are some of the ways your perceptions of an early childhood professional have been modified as a result of this course?
I’ve always thought that early chldhood professionals are hard working and underestimated. I feel like we have to work twice as hard to be taken seriously and given credit for the work that we do. This course has reinforced that for me because it has shown me that quality research must be done in order for the world to listen. I think that may even mean that the same type of research must be done over and over to prove what we, as early childhood professionals, already know is best for the healthy development of children.
I want to thank all of you that have helped me and encouraged me through this course. Most of us felt intimidated and overwhelmed with the idea of research but I think that we have all learned a lot in these last eight weeks. Thank you again and good luck with your future courses!