Sharing our Research:

Our Collaborative Research Space

Our members share their research topics from levels 8 through to level 10. This sharing of research topics and methodology will allow for identification of research trends or gaps in the Irish early childhood education and care sector as well as allowing for connections with fellow professionals and inspiration for future students.

If you would like to submit your research to the collaborative research space please email the below information to:

> Author's Name

> Title

> 3rd Level Institute 

> Year

> Abstract

*Contact email address is optional

**clickable link to open access repositories such as the 3rd level institutes' libraries desireable.



*It's important to note that all research belongs to the institute to which they were submitted for examination and should be cited as such. Submissions will have undergone the turnitin process in their individaul institutions and will show up as plagarised material if not referenced or cited correctedly. 

Level 8 Research Topics

Early Intervention Program Evaluations

Author: Collins, G.

Institute: Institute of Technology Blanchardstown 

Year: 2017

Title: Investigation into the effectiveness of the Early Learning Initiative on the Educational development of children in the Inner City Docklands Area of Dublin, a Practitioner’s perspective


The research is to investigate the effectiveness of the Early Learning Initiative (ELI) on the educational development of children from the Inner City Docklands area of Dublin. 

A Qualitative method using semi structured interviews was used to carry out this research. The data was collected from eight participants in four different settings, all from the Inner City Docklands Area of Dublin. The settings were all part of the ELI programme. 

The main findings from the research were: 

•    That disadvantage does have an impact on children’s educational development. 

•    That children benefit from the ELI programme. 

•    That parents play a key role in the learning and development of their child’s education 

•    That parental engagement in the setting’s helps to build the child’s learning.  

•    That the role of the practitioner in children’s educational development is important. 

•   That the role of the ELI in supporting settings and staff helps to create an environment for             learning. 





#EarlyLearningInitiative  #ELI   #EducationalDevelopment   #EducationalDisadvantage  #ParentalEngagement   #Support  #Effective    #EarlyInterventionProgram  #Evaluation



Author:  O'Sullivan, M.

Title: "Read With Me" An investigation into the process, perceptions and benefits of shared storybook reading to promote emergent literacy in preschool children.

Institution: London Metropolitan University

Year: 2014


This purpose of this research project is to investigate the benefits of shared storybook reading with a view to promoting emergent literacy in preschool children.  The three main aims are to investigate the process and then the benefits if any of the “Read With Me” pilot scheme in 4 preschools in Co. Kerry, while also identifying if parents and practitioners are aware of their role in the facilitation of the scheme and the promotion of emergent literacy in preschool children.

In order to fulfil the objectives of the research, questionnaires were sent to4  preschool practitioners running the scheme in their services in Kerry.  A semi-structured interview was held with Kerry County Childcare Committee's Quality Officer and "Read With Me" co-ordinator in relation to the process of the scheme and the reasons behind the pilot.  The interview also centred on the benefits if any that had been derived from the schemes implementation.  Semi-structured interviews were also held with the parents of 5 children participating in the scheme in my own service while observations of interactions were recorded of the same 5 children taking part in a shared reading event with the researcher.

The main findings revealed that both parents and practitioners have seen a range of benefits for their children since their participation in the scheme.  Findings in relation to practitioner and parents perceptions of their role in promoting emergent literacy varied among participants.




#readwithme    #emergentliteracy     #sharedreading 

Level 9 Research Topics


Author: Filipovic, K.

Title: Reflections on Gender Representation in Children’s Books: Perspectives of Early Childhood Educators

3rd Level Institute:  Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Dublin Institute of Technology, University of Gothenburg and University of Malta, Erasmus Mundus joint degree 

Year: 2016 


Recent studies (Nair & Talif, 2010; Paytner, 2011) show that even in the 21st century, despite the increasing emphasis on achieving the goals of equality and diversity in education, children’s books continue to represent genders in stereotypical ways, as well as underrepresent females. Since the number of children who spend significant time in early years settings is steadily increasing, it is important to examine books chosen and read by early childhood educators. The purpose of this research study was to determine early childhood educators’ awareness of gender patterns in children’s books read in early years settings. Furthermore, this research aimed to explore educator’s perspectives on gender representation in children’s books through engagement in reflective practices. This small-scale case study employed multiple methods of data collection including content analysis of 15 children’s books, as well as reflective journal writing and professional conversation between eight educators from one early years centre in Dublin, Ireland. Content analysis of children’s books revealed distinct gender patterns that include underrepresentation of female characters and instances of gender stereotyping. Further findings indicate that educators exhibit a lack of awareness of gender patterns, and attribute limited importance to gender representation in children’s books. Reflective practice is recognised as having a significant impact on educators’ perceptions of gender representation in children’s books, and possibly on educators’ future practice. This research hopes to aid early childhood educators in becoming aware of gender stereotyping in children’s books, enhancing observation and reflective skills, and creating a more inclusive learning environment.


Available atClick Here




#gender representation   #children's books  #reflective practice     #early childhood educators

#equality and diversity

Author: King, D.

Title: What are children’s attitudes towards male educators in a play based preschool in the Republic of Ireland?

Institute:  University of Sheffield  

Year: 2016 


This study presents the child’s voice in a topic that is well engrained in academic literature. However, the existing literature is very adult driven and the topic of male involvement in early childhood care and education has, until now been void of the child’s input.  It addresses the changing outlooks and discourses in the literature concerning men in the ECCE sector and examines the challenges faced by men who choose this caring profession. It provides an examination of the existing literature surrounding the various perspectives around the topic of the inclusion of men in early childhood care and education.  This research will show how children’s attitudes towards male early childhood educators should be part of the discourse on the matter.  It addresses the changing outlooks and discourses in the literature concerning men in the ECCE sector and examines the challenges faced by men who choose this caring profession.  The results shed some light on the issues facing men in early childhood care and education today. This research was inspired from my own personal experiences as a male educator. 




#Men  #ECCE  #EarlyChildhoodEducationandCare    #Children   #Attitudes    #Playbased


Author: Corbett, M.

Title: What’s Love got to do with it?: Attachment, Awareness and Professional Development: A Practitioner Research project

Institute: University of Leicester (through Pen Green Research and Training Base)

Year: 2009


Through my work as an Advisor, I have encountered several critical incidents which have raised concerns for me in relation to the level of awareness and understanding among childcare practitioners of the importance of children’s emotional development.

In this dissertation, I describe some of these critical incidents and how they helped me frame my research question. “What’s Love got to do with it?” is the title of my Dissertation. I problematise the word love and identify why I believe that children need to be loved in their childcare setting, albeit a different love to the love a parent has for their child - but love nonetheless.

I located my study in Practitioner Research as a sub set of the Action Research paradigm. To carry out the study I used the polyvocal ethnography approach used by Tobin et al (1989) in their study of Preschool in Three Cultures. I was also influenced by the Interaction Analysis discourse of Jordan and Henderson (1995).

I describe the political and policy context in the Republic of Ireland, making reference to the abundance of policy documents and frameworks that have been developed in the years since Ireland ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1992. Despite the rhetoric, in practice Ireland does not rate well, having scored last out of twenty five OECD countries in UNICEF’s Report Card in January 2009, meeting only one of ten standards.

I detail my research methods and findings. I then outline and explore some implications for future practice – for myself in my role as a Pedagogical Advisor and mentor to childcare practitioners and for childcare practitioners themselves. Chief among these implications is the need for childcare practitioners to be supported in their work in supporting children's emotional development. Parents also need to be emotionally supported themselves to appreciate the importance of their child being loved by the childcare practitioners in their child's crèche.




#Love   #Attachment  #EmotionalDevelopment  #ActionResearch   #InteractionAnalysis  #ProfessionalPractice



Author: Matson, S

Title: A Playful Montessori? An Investigation into whether the Montessori Didactic Materials Meet the Need for Imaginative Play and Fantasy Play in the Pre-School Child

3rd Level Institution: Maynooth University

Year: 2013


This research study examined whether the Montessori didactic materials meet the child's need for imaginative play and fantasy play. This is examined through the lens of the changing landscape of the ECCE sector in Ireland and the requirement to operate a curriculum within the parameters of learning through play in Aistear the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework (NCCA, 2009) for the ECCE Scheme. Three case sites were identified and a mixed methods research design employed. The use of case study approach allowed for the qualitative method of capturing video footage and was analysed using the literature to identify indicators. Practitioner interviews were then used to establish a link between how the children used the materials and the practitioners' understanding of what Dr. Montessori wrote. Quantitative methods were employed to triangulate the data, through the use of a national questionnaire for practitioners and a questionnaire for training colleges. The didactic materials were found in the three case sites to meet the organic need for imaginative play and fantasy play in the child. However, a link between practitioner understanding of Dr. Montessori's writings on imaginative play and fantasy play and how the children were allowed to manipulate the didactic materials was established. A further link was established between the understanding of, and formal engagement with, Aistear and the practitioners' attitudes towards using it with the Montessori Method. The work versus play ardument which was brought to the fore by the requirement to use Aistear in #montessori pre-schools in Ireland has been proven through the course of this study to be a fallacious argument. The definition of play in Aistear and the explanation of toys or 'props' for play are examined closely and found to be descriptive of that which is current practice in Montessori pre-school classrooms.




#montessori #play #imaginativeplay #fantasyplay #aistear #preschool #casestudy #mixedmethods


Pre-School Regulations

Author: O’Kane, M

Title:  A Study of the Impact of the Child Care (Pre-School Services) Regulations (1996) on the Quality of Early Childhood Services in Ireland: the IEA Preprimary Project Revisited.

Year: 2004

3rd Level Institute: Dublin Institute of Technology



The study aimed to identify the differences between the quality and experiences in early years services offered to four-year-old children attending preschools before the implementation of the Child Care (Preschool Services) Regulations (1996) and six years after implementation in 2002. A number of key issues emerged from the research. Improvements were found in the quality of the preschool provision although it was not clear the extent to which these improvements relate directly to the Regulations. The findings of this study also provided information regarding the nature of the relationship between regulation and quality provision. Related to this was the interaction between structural and process variables in quality ECCE provision which was apparent in the findings.



Available at:  Clickable link: here




#preschoolregulations #quality #IEApreprimaryproject #inspection


Level 10 Research Topics

Learning in an Early Childhood Education & Care Degree

Author: McGarrigle, John

Institute: Maynooth University

Year: 2017

Title: An Arts Based Narrative Inquiry into Learning in an Early Childhood Education and Care Degree.


Within a rhizomatic, arts-based narrative inquiry into my practice as a lecturer in a Third Level Institute of Technology I attempt to deterritorialise the pedagogical spaces of an Early Childhood degree. Inspired by Richardson and St. Pierre’s (2005) notion of writing as inquiry and Creative Arts Practices (CAP) Ethnography I experiment with poetry, art and film in order to find my research voice and move through the complexity of learning using the rhizome (Deleuze and Guattari, 1987). An epistemological dialogue with my past traces a movement away from the dominance of positivist psychology as I step gingerly into autoethnography. I position myself within emerging stories of learner, teacher and researcher and formulate a research project that explores learning and teaching in an Early Years degree in Ireland. Using the troublesome concept of intelligence in a first year psychology class a Learning Carnival is devised to transform the passive lecture space and mount a challenge to dominant psychometric traditions. A focus group allowed students to articulate the role of musical, kinaesthetic, linguistic and other ‘intelligences’ (Gardner, 1983) in the ways they learned and a film called ‘Practice and the Internet’ was made to playfully deconstruct some of the findings. Troublesome knowledge is better conceived as troubling knowledge embracing uncertainty in learning and promoting an active process over a static entity. Likewise intelligence as a noun already presupposes a measurable entity and limits the potential to conceive learning as active, open ended and consisting of various creative processes. Following a number of pioneers of arts based research and identity construction (Leitch, 2010; O’ Grady, 2012), a self-study method prompted students’ writing, portraits, masks and images to explore how they constructed their lives in their final year of a professional Early Childhood course. In collaboration with the students a short film called ‘A Murmuration of Early Childhood’ celebrated their artwork and collective poem ‘Imagine a Child’. An assemblage of research data allowed individual voices within a collective participant voice to merge with the academy and maintain their primacy in a powerful evocative performance text called ‘A Dawn Chorus’. In exposing the influences on the author’s researcher and learner identity the thesis performs a becoming-other and achieves a relative deterritorialization of the pedagogical spaces of teaching and learning (Deleuze and Guattari, 1987). In producing a challenge to dominant understandings of learning and intelligences the thesis makes a significant contribution to knowledge and scholarship through the use of arts-based narrative inquiry providing creative alternatives to teacher education in the Early Years. The autoethnographic lens highlights the complex political and social contexts that frame educational experiences and structure relationships between learners and educators and raises questions about the marginalisation and feminisation of childcare in Ireland. Of significance in this study are the ways that learners demonstrate their own agency within limited subject positions and the power of education to provide a route to exhibit and express a personal identity beyond that of mother, father, old, young, male, female, carer. Employing Arts-Based Narrative Inquiry, the thesis makes a significant contribution to knowledge through its focus on creative processes from conception to representation producing a piece of work that is polyphonic, dialogic and novel in the Bakhtinian sense (see Kim, 2016, pp. 72-76). To open up inquiry through creative media means going beyond the predictable and stepping into the unknown world of discovery where meaning emerges from the playful interactions between learners and educators – resonating with the notion of aesthetic play in narrative inquiry (Latta, 2013, in Kim, 2016, ps. 85 - 88). It is hoped that this work will join a burgeoning literature in narrative inquiry that empowers other educators to enter liminal moments of risk and improvise on a tune, take lines of flight and challenge modes of thinking that limit human experience.


Available at:         or           Click Here


#ArtsBased    #Narrative    #Inquiry    #Learning    #EarlyChildhoodEducationCare   #Degree





Author: O'Kane, M

Title:  Building Bridges: The Transition from Preschool to School for Children in Ireland

3rd Level Institute: Dublin Institute of Technology

Year: 2007


The overarching aim of this study was to provide an information base on the transition from preschool to formal schooling in Ireland, and to improve understanding about how best to support children’s learning during this time. The theoretical framework for the project was based on the ecological systems model of development proposed by Bronfenbrenner.  As there was no previous Irish research in this area, the study took an exploratory approach, and drew on a variety of sources to present the perspectives of preschool practitioners, primary school teachers, parents, and children themselves.


Phase 1 involved a questionnaire being completed by a nationwide sample of preschool practitioners and teachers of junior infant classes.  Both groups agreed that children with the ability to negotiate classroom life independently, equipped with good social skills and the ability to concentrate and listen for short periods of time, are more likely to be successful at primary level. Phase II took a more qualitative approach to the subject, following a case study sample of seven children through their first year in the primary school system.  This phase investigated the perspectives of the children themselves, their parents, teachers and classmates, using observation data, semi-structured interviews, and child discussion groups to gather information about the process.  Differences were noted by the children between the more formal ‘work’ based pedagogy of the junior infant classroom as compared to their preschool experiences. The issue of cultural capital being transferred across the home-school environments was also apparent.


The findings from the study concur with the notion that transition to school is an adaptive process for children and their families, and that all stakeholders should be involved in communication about the process (Pianta et al, 1999).  The study also confirmed the value of involving multiple stakeholders, particularly the children themselves, in the research process. 


Available at:   Clickable link:  here 




 #transitions #transition to school # ecologicalsystemsmodel #startingschool #casestudy



13.08.2019 00:03


hi all I am doing Level 8 and looking for support with topics like: partnership with parents,
culture/ multicultural environment in Early Years services... can anyone help???