Researcher Biography

Emma is a PhD Candidate (Sociology) and a Research Assistant in the Child Development, Education and Care Group (Thorpe) at the Institute for Social Science Research. Her Honours thesis investigated children’s experiences of well-being in childcare. Emma’s PhD thesis by publication inquires: How do children experience relaxation in Early Childhood Education and Care? She sought to answer this overarching research question by examining children’s accounts (paper one), and policy and educators’ discourses (paper two). Findings from these two papers informed a second research question: How can she, as an early childhood researcher, research and write about children in a way that disrupts dominant early childhood discourses that undermine children’s agency? To respond to this complex question, she experiments with ‘Departing Radically in Academic Writing’ (DRAWing) to better represent children’s playful voices (paper three) and follows children’s lead to change her research focus on relaxation to unrest, with corresponding adaptation to research methodology and writing genre (paper four).

As a research assistant in the Thorpe Group with expertise in qualitative research, she has worked across a range of projects, assisting with study design, ethics applications, recruitment, data collection and analyses, research and writing publications. Most of Emma’s data collection experience is in interviewing. She has conducted visual participatory interviews, semi-structured interviews and focus groups with children and adults from diverse backgrounds, abilities and ages, across a range of different studies, but often with a focus on understanding lived experiences in Early Childhood Education and Care settings.


    PhD Topic:

    Relaxation and Unrest: A Crystallization of Children’s Experiences in Early Childhood Education and Care


    • Dr Sally Staton (Principal)
    • Dr Andrew Clarke (Associate)
    • Professor Karen Thorpe (Associate)

    Research interests: 

    • Qualitative research with children
    • Sociology of childhood
    • Sociology of health and illness
    • Early childhood education and care
    • Early childhood discourses
    • Relaxation
    • Well-being
    • Gender
    • Qualitative and visual participatory methodologies
    • Crystallization
    • Departing Radically in Academic Writing (DRAWing)
    • Research translation