Exploring the place of arts-based approaches in early childhood education research

Peter Clough, Cathy Nutbrown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Defined broadly as the use of art forms – music, drama, music, painting, storying and so on – to create privileged insight into educational policies and practices, Arts-Based Educational Research [ABER] techniques have started to have some, albeit limited, purchase on the mainstream of educational enquiry; there is less evidence, however, of their use in early childhood research. This article critically outlines some chief characteristics of an ABER approach, its claim to legitimacy in the currency of qualitative research practice and the issues which presently both drive and challenge it. An example from our own work is given, and the essay concludes with a prospectus of critical issues, questions and exhortations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-13
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Early Childhood Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2019


  • Arts-Based Educational Research
  • Narrative inquiry
  • Arts-based inquiry
  • Early Childhood Research


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