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  • 00:00

    [MUSIC PLAYING]Mixed Methods in Practice-- Researching Children's Mobility

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    PIA CHRISTENSEN: I am Professor of Anthropology and ChildhoodStudies, and I work here at University of Leeds.In this case study, I'm going to talkabout some research I did into children's everyday mobilityfrom two studies-- one conducted in Denmark

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    PIA CHRISTENSEN [continued]: with the participation of 40 young people,and the second one in England with the participation of 175children and young people.The method we used was ethnography in combinationwith GPS and mobile technologies.

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    PIA CHRISTENSEN [continued]: You can only be in one place at a time.So in recognition of the children's mobilitiesgraphically scattered, we had to thinkabout alternative and more innovative methodologies.Devising a MethodAnd for that purpose, we developed the ideaof using mobile technologies such as the GPS

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    PIA CHRISTENSEN [continued]: and mobile telephone.Our aim for this project was to both producea set of quantitative data of children's everyday mobilityand produce a detailed ethnographic material thatwent into the detail of children's experiencesand understandings.

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    PIA CHRISTENSEN [continued]: You will now see a diagram setting outthe four key methods that we usedin this research and the number of children taking part.The first study conducted in Denmarkincluded 40 children between 10 and 13 years old.The second study was conducted in England,and 175 children from four different communities

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    PIA CHRISTENSEN [continued]: took part in this research.One of the methods we used is the guided tour.Researching MobilityHere it's important to understandthat what we are asking the childrenis to state an ordinary, everyday route that they wouldtake through their community.

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    PIA CHRISTENSEN [continued]: We do that by asking a young person to take us on a touraround-- show us your community, show us your village.And the children are then able to have full agency in howthat tour is conducted.They will show us places where theylike to go to play, for example, and spending time,

  • 02:43

    PIA CHRISTENSEN [continued]: and they will show us places where they have memoriesof their earlier childhood.They will also show us places where they are notallowed to go or prefer not to go to in their community.In this method, we are relying on what hasbeen called the method of loci.

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    PIA CHRISTENSEN [continued]: The idea is that a place will evoke our memories, emotions,our cognitive understanding of a particular space,and the people that inhabit it.GPS is both an art and a technology.

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    PIA CHRISTENSEN [continued]: It is about communicating the movements of peopleonto a satellite that then is communicating to the universitywhere the researchers are based and their PCs.It's downloaded onto a map that can represent

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    PIA CHRISTENSEN [continued]: the young person's movements.From that, it's possible, also, to analyze a number of things.We are able to record their movements with,for example, five-seconds intervals,showing the routes the children take through their cityand neighborhood.

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    PIA CHRISTENSEN [continued]: It is also possible to observe the speed by whichthey are moving, and it's possible to makemaps that are showing how groups of children at the same timeare moving in different areas of a particular community.

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    PIA CHRISTENSEN [continued]: The researcher will project a visual representationof children's movements onto a map.That map is then presented back to the childreneither in a peer group discussionor as an individual exercise in which theyare layering the visual representation

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    PIA CHRISTENSEN [continued]: with their stories, their narratives,the facts about their movement, where they went to,what were they doing on the particular day.The visual map is also prompting them to tell usabout their everyday lives and their everyday movementsand what is particularly going on.

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    PIA CHRISTENSEN [continued]: In that sense, the visual representationof a child's movement is not adequate in itself.If you only have the map, we actuallydon't understand what is happening.So the ethnographic part of the studywas conducted as participant observation, interviews,

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    PIA CHRISTENSEN [continued]: the guided tour that I described earlier,and different forms of mapping.In addition to the GPS representationof the children's routes and tracks through their community,we also asked children to draw their own maps of the communityand to pencil in particular places and routes

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    PIA CHRISTENSEN [continued]: that they took.So the peer group interview was conductedin small groups of children-- self-selected groups.So they often would choose their friendsto be discussing their different maps of the GPS maps,or they would discuss maps that they

  • 06:12

    PIA CHRISTENSEN [continued]: had been drawing themselves individually,and then discussing together in a group.The role of the researcher is to facilitate this discussionand the children's discussion of particular areasof their community and prompt themwith different questions that relatesto what the researchers are particularly interested in,

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    PIA CHRISTENSEN [continued]: but also to follow this new information that childrenmay want to exchange through their own discussions.It's important when conducting a peer group discussion thatallow everybody all in the group of the childrento have and express their voice and opinions.

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    PIA CHRISTENSEN [continued]: So that's part of the facilitation--is to actually let the children-- eachof the children-- speak.It's important, as well, to see that the dynamics of a peergroup often develops so the children wouldbegin to ask each other question and actually allowthat to happen.The children are very competent in asking questions

  • 07:22

    PIA CHRISTENSEN [continued]: that we may actually be interested in the answers to.What the researchers wish to convey to the childrenwhen they are conducting a peer groupdiscussion is that everybody's voice is important and of valueto the research, and through that,

  • 07:43

    PIA CHRISTENSEN [continued]: establish an equal relationship between the different childrentaking part and between the researcher and the children.What you are tending to is for example,the differential power relations in a group of children--some children who wants to be more dominant in a group,but also the children who sit and are quiet.

  • 08:06

    PIA CHRISTENSEN [continued]: So the way you do it is by invitingin children to convey their point of view,but also to allow them to be silentif that's what they wish to do.You will actually find that you geta lot of very important and useful materialbecause it's based on the children'severyday interactions and friendships.

  • 08:28

    PIA CHRISTENSEN [continued]: So they will talk to you about whatis important to them, prompted by each other's storiesand the questions from each other.Ethical ConsiderationsWe are very concerned in childhood studies,generally, to achieve high ethical standards,

  • 08:50

    PIA CHRISTENSEN [continued]: and this, I wish to emphasize, wealso need to do in relation to the GPS thatis raising a whole new set of questions, for example,in relation to the monitoring and surveillance of children'smovements.And we need to be aware to how we are addressing that

  • 09:11

    PIA CHRISTENSEN [continued]: in our research so that our research is notgoing to be used to increasing monitoringand surveillance of children's activities and movements.The alternative is to think aboutthat the GPS means that if we can understand more

  • 09:35

    PIA CHRISTENSEN [continued]: about the children's whereabouts and movementsand use of space and streets and routes,we can understand how we can better include children'sperspectives in urban planning and planning of our communitiesand into planning of the use of streets.Summary

  • 09:55

    PIA CHRISTENSEN [continued]: So in this case study, I have beentalking about how to study children's everyday mobilitythrough using a mixed methods research design.I've talked about the different methodsthat we used in our research conductedin Denmark and in England.I explained how we used the method of guided tours,

  • 10:20

    PIA CHRISTENSEN [continued]: the method of GPS, the method of peer group discussion,and the method of ethnography.

Video Info

Publisher: SAGE Publications, Ltd.

Publication Year: 2017

Video Type:Interview

Methods: Mixed methods, Geographic information systems, Qualitative interviewing, Research with children, Ethnography

Keywords: gps tracking; minors; mobility; technologies

Segment Info

Segment Num.: 1

Persons Discussed:

Events Discussed:



Professor Pia Christensen discusses two cases pertaining to children's everyday mobility. One was conducted in Denmark and the second in England, using ethnography in combination with GPS and mobile technologies.

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Mixed Methods in Practice: Researching Children's Mobility

Professor Pia Christensen discusses two cases pertaining to children's everyday mobility. One was conducted in Denmark and the second in England, using ethnography in combination with GPS and mobile technologies.

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