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TitleExploring the Personal Theories of Scottish Early Years
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interview to produce a display for parents as she thought that the images indicated

aspects of practice worth sharing. Participants commented that they benefitted from

the focused time. All the settings and participants were told of the process prior to

agreeing to participate in the research. Participants showed a commitment to the

research process and the indications were that they gained from the formative

experience. The agreement with the settings and participants was to the general good

rather than specific returns.

Interviewing as a Data Collection Method

Referring to Murphy et al.’s ‘radical critique of interviews, Hammersley (2003: 119)

notes concern from some qualitative researchers regarding the prevalence of

interview data in research. In particular, the premise that it is possible to use interview

data to provide insight into participants’ thoughts is considered problematic. The

‘radical critique of interviews’ therefore stresses the interview in itself is a social

construction; contextual and discursive. Hence in this research study which mobilizes a

post- foundational analytical frame of the Feminist ‘Ethic of Care’ through the writing

of Tronto (1993, 2013), there could be a challenge that the research methods of

observation and interviews are foundational and therefore inconsistent with the

analytical framing (I ‘Anson, personal communication, 2015).

This possible limitation also relates to Sapsford and Jupp’s (2006) note that

observation notes are shaped by the observer. It is the observer who decides what is

considered to be important to note. In a similar respect, the interview process can be

shaped by the interviewer as it is the interviewer who determines the questions and

shapes the interview. A semi- structured interview though does allow the participant

some scope for developing answers and altering the path of the interview.

Additionally, the inclusion of the data collection method of photographs taken by the

participant provided some scope for the participant to shape the interview process.

That said, this identified limitation of this research study draws on Hammersley’s

(2003) response to the ‘radical critique of interviews’. In this response, Hammersley

(2003) argues that researchers need to consider what interviews can offer in terms of

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insight into a social phenomenon and what limitations that interviews present in terms

of research claims and conclusions. He contends that although researchers should be

cautious regarding interviews as a data collection method, interviewing as a method

should not be discounted outright. This research study draws on abduction in terms of

its knowledge claims. Its findings are tentative, partial and the researcher’s

interpretation of the ‘best fit’ with the data. Generalisation is linked to the reader’s

experience and understanding; the reader’s judgement of the sufficiency and insight

offered by the research based on the connections that the reader makes between the

research report and experience of the social phenomenon.

Currency of the Research

This thesis draws on research conducted as part of a part time PhD. For various

personal reasons, this part time PhD has spanned eight years; a period of time

considerably longer than the traditional three to four years for a full time PhD. This

extended time frame of study does impact on the research’s currency.

During the initial years of the research, there was a scarcity of empirical research

which prioritized practitioners working with children aged birth to three years.

Brownlee et al. (2004) work in an Australian context and Manning-Morton’s (2006)

research in England offered some insight into the research process. Over the course of

the part time PhD, however, the body of literature and empirical research centring the

practitioner’s voice has grown. The findings from this research study do resonate with

current research in the subject area.

Although the thesis has taken an extended period to complete, consultation with

literature enabled awareness of current debates within the field. The thesis has

incorporated relevant current literature in order to frame discussion.

Research Ethics

Ellis, in Ellis et al.’s (2008) paper recounting a panel discussion regarding qualitative

research methods, acknowledges the complexity of ethics in research where

relationships are built. The research’s philosophical frame of the Feminist ‘Ethic of

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