chapter  8
In Search of Authenticity: Researching Young Children’s Perspectives
ByPaul Connolly
Pages 22

The reaction that I have had to my own work on racism and young children to date (see, for instance, Connolly, 1995, 1997) has not been too dissimilar to that which Laing (1978) reported in relation to his research. It has been a reaction that, for some, began with shock and disbelief and then led onto questions suggesting that I may have somehow unwittingly ‘put words into the mouths’ of the 5-and 6-year-old children that I had been studying and that I had subconsciously encouraged them to talk and behave in a certain way. Moreover, regardless of what the children had actually said or done, there emerged questions as to whether I could interpret the data in the way that I did: surely, it was put to me, the young children are saying and doing certain things simply because they know it is ‘naughty’ and want to attract the attention of others rather than because they actually understand the meaning and significance of their actions?