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Research with infants: Tips and tricks

Research with infants: Tips and tricks

  • Instructor(s): Anika van der Klis Utrecht University
  • Available also as advanced: No

In the first part, we will discuss all the do’s and don’ts when running your experiments with children. The focus will be on handling young infants and toddlers. We will specifically talk about conducting EEG, Eye-Tracking, parent-child interaction observations, and computer tasks with participants from these age groups. Note that this workshop will not teach you how to use these methods, but highlights how conducting experiments with infants/toddlers raises specific difficulties, and teaches tips and tricks on how to overcome these difficulties.

In the second part, you will immediately put this new information into practice. We will go through different case studies where the infant/toddler is showing difficult behaviour, such as pulling the EEG cap from their head, consistently not looking at the screen during Eye-Tracking, or crawling away from the cameras during parent-child observations. These behaviours occur very frequently when experimenting with children, but if you don’t know how to deal with them, you will probably end up having to exclude the participant from the study. This results in unnecessary data loss. In this part, we will discuss the best approach for each situation to overcome this.

Lastly, we will discuss noteworthy legal and ethical issues that are particularly important when working with children. These will be from a very practical point of view for the experimenter: Can you just pick up the child? Can you pull away their hands from the EEG cap? Can a child under 18 legally consent themselves? Do both parents have to sign the informed consent? Are you allowed to give the parent financial compensation for their child’s labour?

This tutorial is aimed at students/researchers with little to no prior experience working with children. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me: a.vanderklis@uu.nl

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