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Discovering meanings in research with children
journal contributionposted on 2010-01-01, 00:00 authored by Karen GuoKaren Guo
Drawing on a qualitative research study this paper explores the aspect of ascribing meanings in research. It presents an example of research with young children which illustrates a ‘meaning-seeking’ experience. Ascribing meaning is an external realisation of an inner thought, with the emphasis on the uniqueness of children’s own voices and the researcher’s commitment to seeking information from children’s sociocultural contexts. A strong rationale for the importance of meaning in human experiences can be located in phenomenology. The idea of meaning as having its basis in social interactions has been manifested in the sociocultural paradigm. It is argued here that the phenomenological and sociocultural emphasis on ‘meaning’ as the core of life experiences constitutes a useful conceptual perspective which can guide research with children. This emphasis encourages researchers to explore research issues from research participants’ perspectives, grasp their interpretive frame, and understand the meanings that participants bring to them. This in turn provides a means for reaching a profound understanding of human actions, experiences and existence.