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Data Collection Methodology

Research Methods


When it comes to researching child abuse and if the child is being abused or not there are several ways to research this issue. Drawings could be good as it can give the researcher the understanding by looking at what the child is drawing because drawings are able to show a deeper meaning. Drawings can help counselors understand what a child is going through by their drawing and the explanation of it, it’s important that as a research one could build a relationship with the child in order for them to feel safe. Safety is extremely important in order to achieve good results in the research process. A child’s drawing is an indicator of their emotions, self-esteem and social competence as well as other aspects. Children would mostly draw in relation to the situation they are going through and many children are able to express their emotions in drawings rather than verbally. According to the research “Interpreting children’s human figure drawings” Children prefer art activities as it’s easier for them to engage on them and share their feelings. Some children would draw sad or happy moments and it’s also important to see the amount of drawings the child would make and the emotions that could be found in each drawing to understand the emotions that the child is having. In order to gather more data on this topic, we also will use the method of dramatic play. According to the “Steps to Engaging Young Children in Research”, dramatic play can provide us with an insight into children’s lives”. Through this method, children are able to give insight while detaching themselves from the topic. A third method we are interested in using is the use of dolls during free play. This method is useful when talking to older children about abuse they witness at home or have been victims of. According to the article titled “The Use of Dolls to Interview Young Children: Issues of Symbolic Representation” the use of dolls is helpful when observing children that have dealt with abuse and giving them the opportunity to self-represent through the dolls.


Population and Sample

The population that we are interested in studying includes elementary and junior high school children between the ages of 8 and 14. We will be using a participatory approach in collecting our data because children must agree to talk about the abuse they witness at home. We will have a sampling frame of children that deal with abuse within their home. This sample will have categories of children that deal with abuse and excel in school and the category of children that deal with abuse and struggle in school. We will use a population of about 10 children for each category. This sampling will be a purposive sampling because in order to study these children, as researchers, we must have prior knowledge in knowing that these children have dealt with abuse at home.


Study Site

The site of our study will be within the schools. The schools will be selected purposefully based on the reports of children coming from homes of domestic abuse. In order to get the most results for our study, we will study two schools, one in a low income neighborhood and one in a higher income neighborhood. In order to gain access to the schools we will gain permission from each school’s principal and inform them of the reasons for our study.


Data Collection Procedures

We will gather the children from our sample and create three research stations. These three stations include drawing, dramatic play and dolls. Each station will have 5-6 children at a time with multiple researchers at each station. The first station will be a drawing station where children will be given paper and crayons and asked to draw how they feel when they are at home or when they are being abused. The second station will be introduced to the children as an acting or drama workshop. Following a prompt given by the researcher, the participants will come up with a skit or roleplay about ways they handle conflicts within their family. This gives the researcher an opportunity to see the types of violence children have been exposed to in the home, as well as other ways that families may handle conflicts in the participant’s household.  While the participants are acting, the researcher will either be recording the skits or taking detailed notes on the behaviors displayed. The last station will be an individual station where each child sits with a researcher and is given a doll. The child will be asked questions in order to determine the areas  of their body they were being abused in. Rather than having to answer the questions, the child can point to the body part on the doll. 

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