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Expectations and Revelations: Children Discuss Conducting Research During a Multi-day School Excursion

Price, Rebecca (2018) Expectations and Revelations: Children Discuss Conducting Research During a Multi-day School Excursion. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This study explores children’s experiences as researchers on a multi-day school excursion. Co-research, or engaging children as full collaborators in a research study, incorporates two main ideas: listening to children’s voices and empowering children as autonomous social actors. This study analyzes children’s descriptions of the research process, conducting research, and being researchers. This study is a small offshoot of a larger study that explores children’s experiences as tourists at sites of painful heritage, including potentially evocative destinations like memorials, cemeteries, and sites of terror attacks. Participants included 59 male and female eighth grade students, aged 13 to 15 years. University researchers joined these students on their annual multi-day school excursion from “Midwest Town” to Washington, DC, in May 2016. Adult researchers observed students and made notes with handheld recorders, collected responses to post-visit comment sheets, and engaged them in informal small-group interviews, or research conversations. In addition, the teenagers were provided with loaner iPads, with which pairs or triads took photographs and added descriptions. Two weeks after the excursion ended, the students also responded to a written prompt. For the current study, data sets include the initial research conversation, which took place immediately after the students’ first data collection experience, and the post-excursion comment. Qualitative data analysis followed the principles presented by Erickson (1985, 1996, 2004) and Ravitch and Riggan (2012). Trustworthiness was confirmed using methods from Lincoln and Guba (1985) and Richards (2003). Findings revealed that young co-researchers conceptualized all phases of the research process, even parts in which they were not involved. In addition, they expected research to empower them as social actors who contributed meaning and exercised autonomy. Young co-researchers’ revelations after the study indicated that many felt empowered, and they felt that their voices were heard. Yet some also commented about the work of research, a finding not yet fully explored in the literature. Implications for those who want to research with children address research competence, power differentials, compensation, and exploitation. Implications for tourism researchers address lack of interest in children, need for specialized theories and methods, and complications of context at sites of painful heritage.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Price, Rebeccarhp16@pitt.eduRHP160000-0002-4238-5207
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKerr, Mary Margaretmmkerr@pitt.edummkerr0000-0002-2082-8812
Committee MemberGunzenhauser, Michaelmgunz@pitt.edumgunz
Committee MemberTrovato, Charlenetrovato@pitt.edutrovato
Committee MemberPinter,
Date: 26 June 2018
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 7 February 2018
Approval Date: 26 June 2018
Submission Date: 7 June 2018
Access Restriction: 1 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 1 year.
Number of Pages: 143
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: children as researchers school excursions co-research painful heritage research with children dark tourism
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2018 19:11
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2019 05:15


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