Group glee in preschool
The following is a sample Paper 3 that looks at a naturalistic observation. Below you will first find the stimulus piece, followed by the static questions. A copy of the mock paper is included to give students as an in-class assessment.
Potential answers are included in the hidden boxes below.
Sherman (1975) carried out a non-participant naturalistic observation to study the phenomenon of group glee in preschoolers. Group glee was defined as "joyful screaming, laughing and intense physical acts" which quickly spread in the group. Sherman made video recordings of 596 preschool classes taught by 36 student teachers over a period of two years. The schools were chosen because of their relationship with the teacher education program at Sherman’s university.
Each day, three separate groups of children from each class were taken from the free play area to participate in a directed lesson. Each lesson was scheduled for 20 minutes. A stationary video camera with a wide-angle lens was used to video-record the session. The children were divided into age groups but were mixed with respect to sex and race.
Lessons contained a variety of activities such as story readings, simple construction, teacher demonstrations, singing, dancing, role-playing, and general discussions. When the activity was completed, the children left the room and return to the larger free play area.
Two independent researchers separately viewed the same 10 videotaped lessons. Of the 596 videotaped lessons, 241 (40.4%) contained one or more separate and independent incidents of group glee. A total of 633 incidents were recorded in these lessons. Nearly 44% of the incidents involved total group participation.
Using a pre-defined coding system, the researchers found that group glee was often the result of suspense, taboo-breaking, physical stimulation or simply moments of unstructured play. They also observed that group glee was sustained when the teacher joined in with the students.
Sherman, Lawrence W. An Ecological Study of Glee in Small Groups of Preschool Children. Child Development, 1975, 46, 53-61.
1a. Identify the method used and outline two characteristics of the method.
1b. Describe the sampling method used in the study.
1c. Suggest an alternative or additional research method giving one reason for your choice.
2. Describe the ethical considerations that were applied in the study and explain if further ethical considerations could be applied.
3. To what extent could you generalize the findings of this study?