Child Centered Research Practices Essay

1273 words - 5 pages

The ideas of child-centered research have long been articulated to examine and study the lives of children. Traditionally, research practices have reformulated individual thinking and perceptions in such a way that people are more inclined to work with children. Unlike, the conventional research practices that focused on children as objects of enquiry, present child-centered paradigms focus on ethnographic approaches when conducting research with children. An American, psychologist, John B. Watson took keen interest in child behaviourism after doing extensive research on animal behaviour. However, Watson failed to carry out effective research because his research was on children, rather than, with children. Conversely, where Watson failed, transient researchers, James and Christensen and Mayall succeeded because their researching methods and methodologies were unbiased and consisted of ethnographical paradigms, which were solely child-centered.
John Bradus Watson , the father of behaviourism, is a psychologist whose research lacked effectiveness because his experiments were conducted on children and not with children. Behaviourism is a philosophy of psychology which leads to explain the physical, mental and emotional actions of individuals ("Behaviorism"). Watson used behaviourism to study and identify the reasons why children behave in a certain way and what causes them to do so. During his interest in child psychology, Watson carried out an unethical experiment on an eight month old boy, Little Albert. Watson hypothesised that children’s behaviour can be conditioned by adults (“John B. Watson”). To prove his hypothesis he gave a white rat to the Little Albert and observed that he is not scared of it. Afterwards, he decided to make a disruptive noise right behind Little Albert, which proves that Watson manipulated him to be terrified of white rats. Therefore, it is evident that Watson’s experiment was unethical and ineffective because Little Albert was used as a passive participant, who was not aware of what is going to happen to him as a result of this experiment.
Watson’s failure to use an effective ethnographic approach shows that his research and theories on child behaviour were solely based on his past experiences, bias and assumptions. This is evident because Watson, himself, acknowledged the fact that “he did not know enough” to do a good job in regards to children’s behaviour (“John B. Watson”). Watson hypothesized that “children only cry when they are in physical pain” (“John B. Watson”). However, he failed to realize that behaviour is not universal to everyone, rather, it is specific and unique to each individual. Moreover, Watson’s assumption that children’s behaviour can be distorted by adult interference lacks evidence. He only conducted one experiment, which did not proof its viability because it was unethically conducted. Overall, Watson’s methodologies were based on his own preconceived ideas, which did not focus on working...

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