The educational process for children is defined by the specificities of their age. Therefore, in order to make it efficient, scholars examined the factors that influence learning and used the approaches facilitating the task (File et al., 2016). However, the opinions of specialists varied depending on the type of research they prefer, whether it was a qualitative or quantitative study. This fact allows concluding on the necessity to combine the existing methodologies into one approach addressing all the aspects of education in early childhood. From this perspective, the use of a method including all types of indicators will signify the precise results of the conducted study and contribute to the development of educational strategies. In this way, both qualitative and quantitative types of research are equally important but insufficient when considered separately.
Formulation of the Issue
The principal issue related to teaching young children is related to the choice of approach for examining the situation by scholars. It is significantly influenced by personal factors and, therefore, might not correspond to research design or its objectives. According to Agar (n.d.), all professionals are subject to biases affecting their work. They are directly connected to their cultural background, work experience, and expectations from people involved in experiments (Agar, n.d.). Therefore, the definition of research type can be complicated by these circumstances.
Moreover, there is a tradition regarding studying educational issues in relation to children that affect the choice of methodology and tools used in studies. Its impact can be explicitly seen in the patterns in the selection of an approach corresponding to particular cases. Thus, for example, in the past, the most common type of research in education for early childhood was quantitative (Johnson, 2015). However, it changed to qualitative over time, and this fact defines the one-sidedness of information presented in the studies’ outcomes (Rolfe & Mac Naughton, 2010). Therefore, it is crucial to consider the mechanism of an approach selection in the context of shifting preferences and other societal factors and demonstrate the benefits of combining methods.
Major Points and Theories Applicable to the Issue
Over the past years, researchers utilized qualitative and quantitative approaches in their studies. The former was beneficial in terms of ensuring the complexity and diversity of the results (Rolfe & Mac Naughton, 2010). The latter was the best option regarding the need to comprehend standardized assessments in application to samples (Iorio & Parnell, 2016). These research types were complemented by various paradigms such as constructivism, postmodernism, pragmatism, and many others (File et al., 2016). However, these efforts seem to be incomplete since the specified types have certain drawbacks. Thus, qualitative research lacks precision and cannot be applied to a narrowly defined group of students. In turn, quantitative studies demonstrate the results of the samples but do not explain their precondition. Hence, they should be used together in order to enhance clarity and offer practical solutions.
The feasibility of a combined approach is also supported by theories and perspectives of other researchers. According to the Agar (n.d.), conducting a study in ethnography is similar to other types of sociological research. Therefore, it should also address numerous aspects instead of focusing on a single one (Agar, n.d.). This method seems to be optimal in terms of the model that includes three steps of decision-making regarding the methodology for research, which are interpreting, critiquing and deconstructing (Rhedding-Jones, 2007). Therefore, the selection of variables, together with the analysis proposed by scholars, will be useful.
Moreover, the change in the approach to the study will efficiently address the needs of people involved in the process. In this way, the ethnographic experience with a methodology that emphasizes the significance of this aspect will be complemented by the consideration of parents and teachers in accordance with the collaborative, community-based, and participatory approach (Bray & Kenney, 2016). To ensure its successful implementation, the visual culture theory will be added to further analysis of the study’s outcome and its correspondence to reality (Johnson, 2015). Consequently, it can be applied to the context of teachers’ work and tested for efficiency (Farquhar & Tesar, 2016). Thus, the existing theories and concepts support the necessity to use a complex approach instead of the division into qualitative and quantitative studies.
Common and Divergent Themes in the Readings
The previous literature on the topic adds to the issue by considering a variety of factors. Most scholars focus on culture and context as determinants of the present-day situation regarding education in early childhood (Farquhar & Tesar, 2016). This stance corresponds to the qualitative type of research since it implies the provision of comprehensive data on the issues under consideration. In this case, the divergences are related to the selection of varying variables depending on the increased focus on either culture or the context. Moreover, this approach creates excessive generalization and should be complemented by other methods.
The situation with the qualitative studies on education is quite the opposite of the one with qualitative research. Another popular theme in the scholarly works devoted to the learning process of children is the consideration of all actors in the process (Bray & Kenney, 2016). It is examined best with the use of quantitative data since they reflect on precise aspects in a more efficient way. Nevertheless, the case of a sample group of children with their parents and teachers can be different from other groups. From this perspective, the divergence in the way the scholars examine the theme is in the varying results of their studies due to the use of different contexts. Hence, they should be complemented by a general rule, which is a typical outcome of a qualitative study.
Personal Experiences and Perspectives
The benefits and drawbacks revealed in the paper and confirmed by the experience of professional educators fully correspond to my personal experience. Indeed, the learning process for young children is a complicated task defined by a variety of external factors. Therefore, their inclusion in the study in full scope will correspond to the needs of people involved in the process. However, in order to conduct such research with a significant number of variables and the use of numerous sources reflecting on the problem, it is essential to use the combination of qualitative and quantitative data. In this way, the objectives of researchers related to the attempts to improve the process of education for this category of students will be efficiently addressed. This outcome allows concluding on the correspondence of my views to the authors’ perspective.
To sum up, the development of the field of education in early childhood was accompanied by the use of various types of research depending on the shifts in perceptions of scholars. In this case, the selection of methods and other tools should correlate with the type, whether it is a qualitative or quantitative study. Nevertheless, the preference of a single technique does not provide a strategy allowing to improve the situation for educators, children, and their parents. Therefore, it is vital not only to consider the impact of societal and cultural factors on learning but also to test a general rule in the context of a single group.
Agar, M. (n.d.). Who are you to do this? [PDF file].
Bray, P. M., & Kenney, E. M. (2016). Parents as producers of enduring knowledge through inquiry. In W. Parnell & J. M. Iorio (Eds.), Disrupting early childhood education research (pp. 57-69). Routledge.
Farquhar, S., & Tesar, M. (2016). Theorizing what it means to be pedagogical in (the) early years (of) teaching. In W. Parnell & J. M. Iorio (Eds.), Disrupting early childhood education research (pp. 26-34). Routledge.
File, N., Mueller, J. J., Wisneski, D. B., & Stremmel, A. J. (2016). Understanding research in early childhood education: Quantitative and qualitative methods. Routledge.
Iorio, J. M., & Parnell, W. (2016). Reaching towards the possible. In W. Parnell & J. M. Iorio (Eds.), Disrupting early childhood education research (pp. 1-1). Routledge.
Rhedding-Jones, J. (2007). Who chooses what research methodology? In J. A. Hatch (Ed.), Early childhood qualitative research (pp. 207-221). Routledge.
Rolfe, S.A., & Mac Naughton, G. (2010). Research as a tool. In G. Mac Naughton, S. Rolfe, & I. Siraj-Blatchford (Eds.), Doing early child research (pp. 3-12). Open University Press.
Johnson, R. T. (2015). Critiquing traditional colonial practices in teacher education. In W. Parnell & J. M. Iorio (Eds.), Disrupting early childhood education research (pp. 37-53). Routledge.