Method and Methodology in Childhood Research

  • Andreas Lange
  • Johanna Mierendorff


For more than two hundred years different scientific and political interests in children and childhood have existed and, due to this, there have been many changing ideas and methods for how to get a view inside children’s thinking, children’s actions and children’s worlds (Waksler, 1991). Parallel to the rise of organized modernity, children and ‘their worlds’ were more and more seen as ‘constructed’ and constituted differently from adults, and, thus, a specific and more and more differentiated treatment of the ‘strangeness’ had to be developed to gain knowledge of the inner world of the ‘other’ (Honig, 1999). Educational research, developmental psychology and paediatrics have developed a wide range of very specific, partly ‘artificial’ methods to work with the ‘otherness’ of children and with their specific cognitive conditions (Hasselhorn and Schneider, 2007). The fundamental motivation for this research agenda was to get more and deeper knowledge about the learning mechanisms and the parameters of the ‘normal development’ (cf. Smith, 2007) of children’s minds and bodies in respect of the idea that childhood and the development of children is controllable and that future citizenship can be ‘created’. However, childhood is framed mainly as the ‘educational project of modernity’. The effects of traditional methods on children were to some extent intrusive and alienating (Mey, 2003, 8).


Generational Order Childhood Research Public Service Broadcasting Childhood Matter Social Scientific Research 
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© Andreas Lange and Johanna Mierendorff 2009

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  • Andreas Lange
  • Johanna Mierendorff

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