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Sonia Livingstone and Julian Sefton-Green

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781479884575

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479884575.001.0001

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A Year of Fieldwork

A Year of Fieldwork

(p.41) 2 A Year of Fieldwork

Sonia Livingstone

Julian Sefton-Green

NYU Press

How can one study children’s lives in the round? In our research process, we mapped the three domains of school, home, and peers onto the three terms of the school year, resulting in a research design that occupied us from the summer before the fieldwork year until the autumn term following. We began in the classroom, then followed the students home, and lastly explored their connections with friends and peers, extended family or other activities in a range of places both online and offline. We were as much interested in the intersections as we were in the places themselves. Our method sought to recognize young people’s agency and voice, although we also attend to the views of their parents and teachers and the wider society. We began to think more of education and family as the two dominant institutions within and sometimes against which young people negotiated their present and future possibilities. Friendships—pursued online and face-to-face, including in the in- between places in and around their home and locale—allowed for the exploration and enjoyment of alternative modes of connection and disconnection. We bring the main steps of our research methods to life by reflecting on a typical “day in the life” and “year in the life” of the class.

Keywords:   Methodology, Ethnography, Voice, Everyday life, Routines, Children’s lives, Spaces of childhood

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