About our Research Work

We believe that research and evaluation has a major part to play in the development of the early childhood care and education sector.

About our Research Work

We undertake high quality and rigorous research and evaluation to inform policy and practice across the childcare sector. We work from an evidence-based and child-centered perspective and influence policy and practice development, and build capacity through methodological innovation. Our focus is on generating research outputs that are accessible to a range of audiences. We actively engage early childhood educators, children and their families as partners in the planning, delivery and dissemination of research projects.


We believe that research and evaluation has a major part to play in the development of the early childhood care and education sector. We undertake this type of work for three main reasons:


1) To gain a greater understanding of issues facing the sector

Early childhood care and education is evolving at a fast pace in Ireland. At Early Childhood, we are passionate about understanding how specific issues impact our members. We use the findings from this type of research to inform our work and advocate on our members behalf.


2) To improve programme design and implementation

It is important to periodically assess and adapt actions and activities to ensure they are as effective as they can be. Evaluation can help identify areas for improvement and ultimately help realise the programmes goals more efficiently. Additionally, disseminating results about what was more and less effective will help advance the field of early childhood care and education.


3) To demonstrate programme impact

Evaluation enables us to demonstrate a programmes success or progress. The information we collect allows us to better communicate a programmes impact to others, which is critical when building an evidence base.


How We Work

At Early Childhood Ireland, we use a broad range of research approaches and methods in our work. Research experience is combined with our expertise and knowledge to develop a bespoke research approach that is tailored to the requirements of the projects we are involved in.


We have expertise and experience in translational research, cross-sectional approaches, intervention design and evaluation and formative exploratory research.


We adopt a number of methodologies within our research. These include utilising quantitative and qualitative approaches and undertaking process evaluations. For each of these approaches, we select appropriate tools which enable us to adequately answer each research question. These tools include:


> Standardised observation checklists

> Interviews

> Focus groups

> Surveys

> Case studies

> Documentation through video and photographs


Who We Work With

We work with a variety of populations including, but not limited to:


> Preschool managers

> Early year’s educators

> Children

> Parents

> Boards of management



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