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Tma 02 Part 1: Essay Write An Essay Of 1500 Words On: Compare And Contrast How Content Analysis And Ethnographic Research Have Been Used To Study Children’s Understanding Of Friendship

1117 words - 5 pages

The understanding of friendship and the complexities of emotions, expectations and boundaries has been researched only relatively recently. This essay will look at the studies conducted by Brian Bigelow and John La Gaipa in 1975 and William Corsaro, 1985, into what friendship means to children. It will compare and contrast the significant similarities and differences the research contained in of the friendships that children create and maintain and the conclusions that were drawn from it. The groundbreaking topic of the research area into children’s friendships was undertaken from two different perspectives and methodology. Bigelow and La Gaipa gathered their information in essay form from a ...view middle of the document...

They studied 480 essays which showed that as children age their expectations of a best friend become increasingly more complex, displaying a progression from activities shared to intimacy, attitudes and values (Brownlow, 2010), and made observations on these and drew their conclusions from them.
William Corsaro was interested in how children interact together; his approach was to look at the children through direct observation and make notes, and then present his conclusions from these. His method involved him personally being in the children’s environment and accepted in the company of them. He discovered “that children can talk about friendship in quite abstract and complicated terms”, Brownlow, (2010), page 253, and used friendship to gain entry to the play activities they were interested in. His research enabled him to draw conclusions from fewer participants and base the results on their interactions first hand.
Bigelow and La Gaipa’s content analysis study altered the outcome of the research, in that it presented children’s experiences and expectations of a best friend into twenty one pre-selected areas. It allowed only the outcomes that had been expected to be included and made no allowances for the unexpected, “changing the descriptions to frequency counts” Brownlow, 2010, page 245. However this did allow for a large number of results to be analysed and for results to be generalised and showed that the nature of friendship changes with maturity. Conversely Corsaro used a smaller age group and of younger ages. He was child led in his conclusions allowing the utterances and interactions to direct the flow of his study. The difficulty with having the presence of an adult may change the behaviour of the children meaning that with this kind of research the observations may not be a true account of their usual behaviour. Corsaro addressed this issue by waiting until he was accepted by the children and they no longer paid attention to the adult in the group. Corsaro himself posed this as a potential problem in 2006 when he said, “...physically adults are larger ... and perceived as being in charge.” Brownlow, 2010, page 251. Bigelow and La Gaipa also only took in to consideration same sex friendships. “Evidence shows that children show own-sex favouritism in their behaviours, attitudes, and perceptions.” Bennett and Sami, 2004, which may have had some bearing on the results of the study, if children are drawn to those of the same sex for friendship then they may subconsciously be looking...

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