Examining children as web users: Methodological considerations

Kaur, Kiran and Ali, H. (2015) Examining children as web users: Methodological considerations. In: International Conference on Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries , 26-29 May 2015, Paris, France. (Submitted)


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Access to the web is increasingly occurring in the home and at younger ages. Early childhood educational policies in some countries have mandated learning through the Web while others are following suit. Though pre-schoolers, between the ages of 3-6 may not yet be skilled readers and writers, they have been shown to have the abilities to engage competently in Web searching. In Malaysia, the National Pre-school Standard Curriculum (NPSC) states that it is mandatory for all preschools to introduce young children to Information and Communication Technology (ICT). To date there has been little research on how these pre-schoolers interact with the technology, specifically the Web. The core research questions driving this study were (i) to what extent do pre-school children engage in web searching as an everyday life activity? and (ii) What are the contents, pathways and practices of children’s web searching? This paper begins with a discussion of possible dilemmas faced with children as participants in a qualitative research approach. Subsequently it details the design, ethics, participation and task-based methods used in investigating how preschool children engage with web searching. The classroom based study was carried out in a single preschool in Malaysia. Research involving children demands specific aspects to be considered in the research process of understanding children behaviour and actions. In using the task-based approach, several problems were faced and this paper highlights how these issues were handled and further explains how these techniques were beneficial as well. The paper concludes that the choice of methods when children are involved as subjects depends not only on the topic of research, but also their cultural and physical setting. The researcher’s own attitude and behaviour has a great impact on successfully engaging children and creating a setting within which the participants fell safe to interact, especially when their ability at conducting a specific task is being observed. It is hoped the issues highlighted in this paper will enable other researchers to consider the methodological difficulties and how to overcome them when conducting research with children as subjects.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: T Technology > T Technology (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Computer Science & Information Technology > Department of Information Science
Depositing User: Mr. Mohd Samsul Ismail
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2015 07:01
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2019 06:26
URI: http://eprints.um.edu.my/id/eprint/13639

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