Investigating transition to school through participatory action research


Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Research aims: Building on prior transition to school studies with teachers in both the school and prior-to-school sector, this study investigates how a particular research approach might address questions raised. The methodology (participatory action research) evolved from these former studies and represents a ‘new’ approach to studies about transition to school. Relationship to previous research works: Developmental theoretical perspectives, most notably ecological and sociocultural theories, inform most studies of transition to school. This study contributes to a smaller yet emerging body of transition literature informed by critical theoretical perspectives. Theoretical and conceptual framework: Critical theory informs the study and the collaborative research processes. Each participant has an equal voice in the planning, development and facilitation of the cross-sectoral activities. Paradigm, methodology and methods: The participants of this and a previous pilot study initiated the formation of a professional learning community. Within this forum (a participatory action research group) the design and aims of the study, professional learning activities, transition activities and data collection methods, timelines and evaluation tools were negotiated. Ethical considerations: The study was formally reviewed and approved by the Queensland University of Technology’s Human Research Ethics Committee Brisbane, Australia. A summary of ethical considerations was distributed to participants. Main finding or discussion: Data collected using this collaborative enquiry approach has resulted in shared understandings of continuity during transition and of research processes. The facilitation of mutual and collaborative processes resulted in outcomes that will inform changes in transition research approaches as well as changes in transition pedagogies. Implications, practice or policy: This study provides empirical evidence of how research processes and approaches to transition might be influenced by critical theoretical perspectives. Copyright © 2013 EECERA.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013


Boyle, T., Grieshaber, S., & Petriwskyj, A. (2013, August). Investigating transition to school through participatory action research. Paper presented at the 23rd Annual Conference of European Early Childhood Education Research Association, Tallin, Estonia.


  • Transition to school
  • Particpatory action research
  • Professional learning community
  • Early years education
  • Critical theory


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