Question: When your research is based on children and how they learn, how can you be certain that you are getting a cross section of all types of children. Are you working within schools or hospitals where a child's development is affected by their health?
Hi Kim, good question. When we do research we try to sample healthy kids who we believe are not suffering from ill-health or learning difficulties. Of course we can’t always tell – and this is also true if we’re testing supposedly healthy adults.
If the subject of our research is health then we will also test children who are in hospital. So, for example, some of my research has involved children with head injuries, in order to see whether their cognitive development is along the same trajectory as other children.
I work in the context of schools. You just take great care to think of all the variables that count for whatever you are looking at and make sure you build them into your sample and ideally in the proportions in which they occur in the overall population.