The Center for Early Childhood Education conducts and supports original methodological research that is highly innovative in the questions it asks, the methods it uses, and its underlying theoretical framework. Our research produces findings that have clear and significant implications for professional practice and the support of young children and their families.
The Center's research agenda is based on the belief that :
- The most significant research on young children and families is situated within the community and culture in which it is carried out; development is best studied within the broader ecological niches—the family, the school, the community, policy-making institutions, and the larger society—in which it occurs.
- All scientifically credible research designs—from large-scale quantitative work to small descriptive investigations or case studies—contribute equally, but in distinct ways, to the knowledge base on children and families.
- The most significant research on young children and families is grounded in a coherent theory of development; studies focused solely on “what works” are less impactful than those that confirm, extend, or generate critical theories that can guide professional practice and future research.
- The most significant research is built upon the extant literature on young children and families; studies should be based on previous empirical investigations, recognized and emerging theories of human development, and well-grounded descriptive reports on professional practice.
- Research with clear implications for professional practice will have the greatest and most direct affect on children and families; only findings which are widely published and presented to both other researchers and practitioners will have a true impact on the field.
- Studies have the greatest influence when carried out in a manner that reflects the highest scientific standards in methods and in the interpretation and dissemination of findings; poorly-designed, less rigorous investigations contribute little to our understanding of children and families.
- True scientists are ethical and caring human beings who protect their subjects and respect the beliefs, practices, and lived experiences of teachers, parents, and other adults in the lives of young children.