Comparative Research on the Attitudinal Competence for Early Childhood Education and Care in Europe
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The case study presented considers the challenges and rewards of undertaking cross-cultural comparative research. Through discussing a mixed method project, there is an exploration of how it is important not to assume shared understandings of both research approaches and subject-specific terminology. Research approaches vary across countries and what may seem straight forward for one partner in a cross-cultural project may not be for another and that time is needed to ensure a shared understanding. In analyzing the data, the issue of translation highlights that while we believe we are talking about the same terms, closer analysis of how terms are being used demonstrates the importance of asking questions of apparent similarities. Translation can often be a “best fit” where an exact translation is not possible, resulting in the true meaning becoming masked and hidden. Equally, differences identified can help to ask questions of taken for grant assumptions in one context, demonstrating the importance of understanding the cultural context for disentangling the data.
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