Playwork research is at an embryonic stage, and doctoral research carried out by those working in the playwork field has traditionally drawn on a range of theoretical frameworks and methodological approaches from other disciplines. Whilst this interdisciplinary approach has introduced many new ideas and skills into the playwork field, it also raises the question of whether there is anything distinctive about researching play from a playwork perspective.

This chapter explores whether playwork might in time develop its own unique approach to research. It describes how Playwork Mirror Theory has underpinned playwork practice since the days of the first adventure playgrounds, and explores how this might serve as a potential theoretical foundation for researching play from a playwork perspective.