A researcher from UWA’s Graduate School of Education has won the 2017 European Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA) Student Research Award.
Dr Fiona Mayne, who recently completed her PhD at UWA, won the international accolade for her development of an innovative approach to early childhood informed consent known as an Interactive Nonfiction Narrative (INN). The INN approach allows children as young as three-years-old to give meaningful informed consent when participating in research.
Using the INN approach, researchers employ a combination of dialogic reading, interactive touch-screen technologies and a story-telling format to deliver factual information about the research project to young children.
As part of her research, Dr Mayne found that three-year-old children were able to understand the purpose of a research project, their role and rights as participants, the researcher’s role, forms of data collection, how the data would be used, and how to consent or dissent to participation.
Dr Mayne said that developing a rights-based approach to informed research consent among young children was important in advancing early childhood research across areas as diverse as health, education and social sciences.
“The United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child stresses the importance of giving children information, understanding, voice and influence on issues that affect them. As such, young children have the right to be consulted about their research participation,” Dr Mayne said.
“The INN approach enhances the way young children are valued as citizens with rights to meaningful participation.”
In developing the INN, Dr Mayne conducted the first ever systematic review of how ethics has been reported in international early childhood journals.
Dr Mayne’s co-ordinating PhD supervisor, Associate Professor Christine Howitt, said Dr Mayne’s approach successfully ‘walks the talk’ of ethics, rights, dignity, competency and agency in research involving young children.
“Fiona’s research is the first to define an early childhood ‘respectful research culture’ bringing together child status, researcher perspective and research culture,” Associate Professor Howitt said.
Dr Mayne was presented with her award in Italy earlier this month. Already, Dr Mayne’s INN approach has been used by researchers in Australia, Belgium and Germany.
Verity Chia (Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Education) (+61 8) 6488 1346