A Cultural-Historical Methodology for Researching Early Childhood Education

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There are many ways to frame research, and there is a plethora of ways that researchers have theorised and discussed their study designs. In this methodology chapter, we present an overview of researching in early childhood education from a cultural-historical perspective. We specifically discuss aspects of a cultural-historical methodology which are related to play and development in early childhood settings. In this chapter we examine three key points. First we discuss what new perspectives the cultural-historical methodology can bring to the field of early childhood education research. Second, we show what a cultural-historical methodology will allow researchers to do. Finally, we (1) theorise a set of cultural-historical principles drawn directly from Vygotsky’s legacy but in the context of contemporary research practices in early childhood education; (2) conceptualise digital tools dialectically, as both a research tool for capturing observations of practices and as acultural tool for the development of young children, where microgenetic changes are made visible and (3) discuss the doubleness of the researcher, as a participant in the research site and as a researcher collecting data. Through the lens of cultural-historical theory, we examine the contemporary challenges and conceptualisations of researching in early childhood education contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Handbook of Early Childhood Education
EditorsMarilyn Fleer, Bert van Oers
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9789402409277
ISBN (Print)9789402409253
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Early childhood
  • Cultural-historical research methodology
  • Digital tools
  • Doubleness of a researcher

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