Children between the age of 5 and 11: what “don’t know” answers tell us

Children between the age of 5 and 11: what “don’t know” answers tell us Children are increasingly seen as competent informants on their activities, views and needs. Different abilities of children can lead to inadequate (formally or regarding the content) answers or to the misunderstanding of proceedings during an interview process. One inadequate or at least unintended (on the part of the researcher) response is a “don’t know” answer (DK). To study when and why DK answers occur, a possible cause for them in the cognitive process and their relation to age, we analysed the DK answers given in qualitative semi-structured interviews with children aged 5–11, conducted face-to-face and on the telephone. Each of 56 children was interviewed twice, once face-to-face and once via telephone. The results show that age had an effect on DK responses due to the cognitive state of the respondent and their communicative intent, but there was no difference in the number of DKs due to problems with the research instrument or due to an adequacy judgement in respect of respondent age. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Quality & Quantity Springer Journals

Children between the age of 5 and 11: what “don’t know” answers tell us

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 by Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Subject
Social Sciences; Methodology of the Social Sciences; Social Sciences, general
ISSN
0033-5177
eISSN
1573-7845
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11135-011-9438-9
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Children are increasingly seen as competent informants on their activities, views and needs. Different abilities of children can lead to inadequate (formally or regarding the content) answers or to the misunderstanding of proceedings during an interview process. One inadequate or at least unintended (on the part of the researcher) response is a “don’t know” answer (DK). To study when and why DK answers occur, a possible cause for them in the cognitive process and their relation to age, we analysed the DK answers given in qualitative semi-structured interviews with children aged 5–11, conducted face-to-face and on the telephone. Each of 56 children was interviewed twice, once face-to-face and once via telephone. The results show that age had an effect on DK responses due to the cognitive state of the respondent and their communicative intent, but there was no difference in the number of DKs due to problems with the research instrument or due to an adequacy judgement in respect of respondent age.

Journal

Quality & QuantitySpringer Journals

Published: Mar 26, 2011

References

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