URSA in the news

UAF School of Education involves very young students in research

Assistant Professor Carie Green, Ph.D,  of the UAF School of Education Graduate Program, is conducting research this summer to explore participatory methods for engaging young children as active researchers in human social science research. This participatory action research project, occurring at the Bunnell House Early Learning Lab School at UAF, seeks to involve young children (3-5 years-old) in all aspects of the research process, including proposing research questions, choosing data collection methods, collecting and analyzing data, and disseminating findings. Although childhood researchers have come to recognize young children as agents of change and many are using child-friendly methods, to date none have fully embraced what it means to engage young children as active researchers in all aspects of a research project.

Click here to read Green's article published in Environmental Education Research on August 14, 2015.

The research team (Dr. Green and undergraduate student research assistants) will use innovative technology purchased through an URSA ITE Award to explore a methodology for engaging young children as active researchers. Using video-recorded sequences of children’s play and activities in the forest, the researchers will stimulate children’s curiosity in posing researchable questions. During the second phase of the project, children will select from an array of data collection methods, including children interviewing other children using Go-pros, taking pictures with mini i-Pads, and participating in other artistic activities (i.e. painting, drawing, building, or molding) to represent their experiences and perspectives. Next, children will analyze their data quantitatively by counting and quantifying elements in photos and other artwork and creating graphs and charts to demonstrate their findings. The researchers will also use child-friendly books that include some of the visual and verbal data (children’s conversations with each other) to invite children to draw qualitative meaning from their conversations with each other, posing questions such as the following: How did you feel about what the children were saying? What do you think they meant? Finally, children will select ways to creatively present their findings and choose when, where, and how they would like to present their research to parents and other communities members. Findings from this project will contribute to understanding community-oriented and collaborative research methods with young children, and will be of significance to researchers and practitioners working with young children at UAF and beyond. This study is supported and funded through the Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Activity program (URSA) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and by Alaska’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). 


URSA student adapts Stanford method to make transparent brains

UAF undergraduate and URSA award recipient Matthew Vanagel adapts Stanford research method to make transparent brains. Read about it in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner article May 19, 2015.


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