Australian research in early childhood education and care: insights into the actual; imagining the possible

Susanne Garvis, Sivanes Phillipson, Shane N. Phillipson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


    Early childhood education and care (ECEC) remains a priority area for public policy, internationally and in Australia. However, an analysis of empirical research published internationally up to 2008 has identified a bias toward positivist methodologies within a “scientific/psychological’ rather than educational perspective and with a focus on the interactions between preschoolers, family, and child care variables. For some researchers, this bias raises concerns that public policy in ECEC is based on limited research perspectives. This chapter examines research focusing on the Australian context and published between 2010 and 2014 to determine whether this bias exists in Australian research. We explore the quality of ECEC research to develop an overall understanding of the current situation of ECEC research in Australia. Our findings suggest that Australian research in ECEC is very dissimilar to research published internationally, especially in its reliance on qualitative paradigms and a focus on the educators (principals, teachers, and teacher aides). The strong qualitative focus may allow a diverse range of voices within the ECEC sector to be heard and identified, moving beyond traditional notions of historically marginalized individuals and communities that dominate other education research areas.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)291-310
    Number of pages20
    JournalReview of Research in Education
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

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