The aim of this paper is to demonstrate and discuss a number of child-centric research methods/stimuli involving young children (5-6 years old) in interviews without, and subsequently with their parents. Existing and new methods were selected and developed for a study which aimed at obtaining insights into parents’ and young children’s understandings of children’s influence and family interaction with regard to family food consumption practices.
A total of 35 children were interviewed using semi-structured interviews in five kindergartens. Subsequently, 13 families were interviewed in their homes. The latter interviews included the same children as were interviewed in the kindergarten. The methods discussed include drawings, a desert-island-choice task, a sentence completion task, photographs, vignettes and a video-clip.
When interviewing young children about family decision making influence, the use of engaging methods contributes to the quality of data achieved and to the participants’ enjoyment of their participation. Care should be taken not to overload children with exercises. Visual rather than verbal methods worked better for engaging the children in the research process; for parents all included methods worked well.
The current study shows that a method developed specifically for the study (desert-island-choice task) was apt at including all family members’ perspectives; future studies should develop methods that capture shared rather than individual experiences. The study was carried out in wealthy areas in Denmark. It would be highly relevant to broaden the sample to other socio-economic and cultural contexts.
The study is based on interviews with children usually deemed too young to interview. The contribution is novel methods that allow for studying the interaction between children and parents and that are not based on reading and writing skills to access the perspectives of 5-6-year old children. Precautions regarding using existing methods are offered.
Grønhøj, A. and Gram, M. (2020), "Researching family food decision making processes: highlights, hits and pitfalls when including young children’s perspectives", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/QMR-03-2019-0048Download as .RIS
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