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A Naturalistic Child Observation Study - Guidelines and Instructions


Assessment Activity Description and Instructions to Learner:–Project- A Naturalistic Child Observation Study

Learners are required to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of an area of child psychology. Learners will demonstrate advanced research skills, critical thinking and personal reflection within the project submission The project task is to be completed as outlined in the brief.

The learner is to conduct A Naturalistic Child Observation Study to include 5 observations pertaining to 5 areas of child development.(PILES)

The learner is to conduct A Naturalistic Child Observation Study to include 5 observations pertaining to 5 areas of child development.(PILES)

Describe the research methods used to acquire knowledge, to include reference sources and theories gathered to inform the study. Provide a rationale for the design method used.

Describe the subject for the research giving background information of the child e.g. age gender, place in family, length of attendance at the service, deposition and any other relevant data.

Rationale and Aims of the study give clear objectives as to why this study is being conducted. Appropriate collaboration with the staff and parents and permissions given.

Include your own personal learning goals for professional practice, experience and application of theoretical knowledge to current practice by conducting the study (what you hope to learn/achieve)

Selection of an appropriate context for the research project e.g. education or care setting. Provide background Information of setting including the type of service, numbers catered for,  location and  management structure.(Confidentiality must be maintained).

Give an outline of significant policies, legislation and best practice under which the service operates e.g. Early Years Services Regulations, Aistear, Siolta, Child Protection, Health And Safety etc. Give a critical discussion on the policies and practices and why these are important to develop quality and deliver an effective programme (relate to theory).

Describe two different observation methods that are to be used in the study (include min of three narratives). Provide good practice evidence for selecting the two methods being used.

• Each Observation should indicate on the cover sheet -The Area of Development being observed, the observation method being used, Time Observation began and finished, brief description of the context in which observation is taking place.

• Each observation is to be recorded in detail- using an appropriate method

• Each Observation should  have an Interpretation –a brief synopsis of what was seen

• Each Observation should have an Evaluation and interpretation-Critical interpretation and evaluation of observations essential to show relevance to developmental theories studied. Individual evaluations should cover each developmental area observed. A range of theorists should be used showing in-depth knowledge, including theories relating to self identity and gender consciousness. (A Minimum of 10 applications of different theories, minimum of two included per observation) the theories used must effectively link to each obsevation and be appropriate to the area being observed, sources must be cited in text an bibliography.


On completion of the five observations, give a detailed integrated description of child to include; evaluation of the child’s needs and interests in relation to the various areas of development to give an insight into the holistic child, and relate this to psychology on self- identity. Evaluate how theoretical knowledge may benefit future learning and development in supporting the child’s needs.

You are required to make a minimum five relevant recommendations relative to the observations and research conducted in the child study. Each recommendation should be supported with a reason/ justification for making it and how a child can reach their learning goals.

This section must show your ability to critically reflect on your own practice and learning.

How your knowledge and skills have improved.

The challenges you faced and how you overcame these.

Discuss your preconceptions in your own abilities to conduct the study, what you now know about the chid; what you now understand about theory in child psychology and how personal perceptions/values influence the way you practice.

Outline what you set out to do, revisit your aims

Describe how you achieved your learning goals and identify significant steps in the process

Identify how goals can be set for others using the research project and learning gained

A comprehensive bibliography should be included at the end of the study

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