White Rose University Consortium logo
University of Leeds logo University of Sheffield logo York University logo

Young children’s conceptualisation of images in their familiar environments.

Gowers, Sophia J (2019) Young children’s conceptualisation of images in their familiar environments. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

[img] Text
SGowers Thesis Final Sept 2019.pdf
Restricted until September 2021.

Request a copy


This study adopts a participatory visual mapping methodology to capture young children’s interactions with, and comprehension of the visual mode in their familiar environments. Adopting a social semiotics theoretical framework, this study is designed around two main aims: firstly, to explore the ways young children conceptualise images in their environment and secondly to identify how visual mapping, as a methodological approach, can be used to capture young children's comprehension of, and interactions with the visual mode. The group of 4 to 5-year-old children involved in the study, are posed as social and active meaning makers with a variety of multimodal engagements, incorporating the visual mode. As communicative practices are argued to be understood in context with surrounding cultural and social practices, the data for this study were collected in three key locations seen as familiar to the children involved: the home environment, Early Years setting, and a community leisure centre. In each setting the children captured examples of the visual mode through digital photography, before creating two dimensional maps of their setting with the printed images. Conversations between the researcher and child were recorded and transcribed, to draw out the meanings expressed by the children. Thematic analysis was used to identify key themes. The mapping technique enabled the children to be positioned as both message creators, through the production of their visual maps, and message receivers as they sought to make meaning of the multimodal texts they encountered within their environment. The use of a mapping activity supported identification of the children’s knowledge of the codes and conventions of the visual mode which may not so easily be put into words. The study revealed that, for children, the context and location of images are important, with the presence of images and artefacts enabling familiarity with a place. Furthermore, movement was identified as an intrinsic part of their multimodal engagements. This study contributes to the developing body of participatory visual research methods. The use of mapped representations allowed children’s perceptions of the spatial and embodied aspects of meaning making to be foregrounded. It is now imperative that these perceptions are recognised and supported within the Early Years setting in order to create an environment which not only reflects children’s prior experiences but the shifting communication practices of modern society.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Keywords: Early Years, visual methods, multimodality, visual mode, map making, meaning making social semiotics, image-based research, child participative research, early childhood
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Miss Sophia J Gowers
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2019 09:00
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2019 09:00
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/24900

Please use the 'Request a copy' link(s) above to request this thesis. This will be sent directly to someone who may authorise access.
You can contact us about this thesis. If you need to make a general enquiry, please see the Contact us page.

Actions (repository staff only: login required)