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to considering doing my dissertation on whether nursery care is harmful for young babies?

115 replies

purepurple · 29/05/2011 18:21

I don't want to start a fight but have been mulling over ideas for my dissertation for my early childhood degree and came across this report by unicef and wonder if it would be a worthwhile subject.
I am interested in attachment theory and also the pressures that modern day families face when choosing when to have children and what to do for the best. I am also interested in brain development and can see that all 3 areas are covered in the report.
Any opinions?

OP posts:

CocoPopsAddict · 29/05/2011 18:22

Well, it is certainly a worthwhile topic, BUT it has been covered by a lot of other people, has it not?


onlion · 29/05/2011 18:23

Will you do an exploratory review because I wouldnt want to be doing your ethics form/


belgo · 29/05/2011 18:23

Of course it's a worthwhile subject.

How do you plan on doing the dissertation - how can you test if nursery is harmful or not? Or are you planning a collection of anecdotal evidence?

How will you define 'harmful'?


fairydoll · 29/05/2011 18:24

hope you've goy tour flame proof knickers on!!


onlion · 29/05/2011 18:25

If I was your supervisor id be steering you towards something simpler. Its omly an undergrad thesis be kind to yourself.


BikeRunSki · 29/05/2011 18:26

Can you really do this subject justice in an undergraduate dissertation? It is very broad, very controversial, has many, many variables, heavily covered already and likely not to win you many friends.


Northernlurker · 29/05/2011 18:28

I can't think why you've picked aibu but seing as you ask actually no I think it's a lousy premis for a discussion.

Firstly - how is it measurable? Are you going to review the literature already out there because there isn't scope in the timescale of an undergraduate degree for any more than that.
Secondly the Unicef suggestion that this is the first generation - I think that's highly questionable actually. Parents have worked right through history and childraising has been a corporate effort for just as long. This is NOT a new situation.


purepurple · 29/05/2011 18:29

I have no idea on how I would do any research. I guess any research what have to be longtitudinal and I don't have the time for that.
I could research why parents use nursery care. I have all these other ideas flying round my head and am just thinking out loud.
It is good to hear what other think, though.

OP posts:

plebshire · 29/05/2011 18:30

it sounds like a methodological ball ache tbh, for all the reasons given above.


onlion · 29/05/2011 18:31

Systematic/exploratory review. You wont need ethics.


belgo · 29/05/2011 18:31

Agree with Bikerunski - impossible to get a definitive answer to the question 'is nursery harmful', you would need to do a huge study over years. And even then no one would agree on the results.

What about something simpler - discussing the impact of starting nursery on a small group of children, using anecdotes?


AnnieLobeseder · 29/05/2011 18:33

While I suppose it may be a worthwhile subject to some (ie more ammunition to bash WOHMs with), I question its worth otherwise - parents who use nurseries usually do so out of necessity so how will it help to tell them their child is being 'harmed'. So the only time I can see it being worthwhile is if commissioned by a nursery to find how to make their environment the best it can be in terms of healthy child development.

To get a fair view, you would have to track children over a number of years, across a number of nurseries and a wide population demographic. Not something I can see happening as an undergrad dissertation. How would you define 'harm' in the first place?

Short answer; no, I don't think it's good idea.


Northernlurker · 29/05/2011 18:35

'Why parents use nursery' and 'Is nursery harmful' are two TOTALLY different topics Hmm

What parents value about nursery might be interesting. There are lots of things which some night see as negatives but are viewed by many as positives - I know some people actually pick nursery in order to have a child attached to a number of carers, children at nursery catch a few bugs - building the immune system etc.


purepurple · 29/05/2011 18:35

I am all for simplier Grin I picked aibu because it gets more traffic. I wanted to do something other than the usual superhero/outdoor play/ men in childcare theme.

OP posts:

BikeRunSki · 29/05/2011 18:37

Looking a why parents use nursery might be more straightforward.
Or maybe looking at the reasons parents choose different childcare settings - nursery (assuming you mean nursery-childcare, rather than nursery-preschool), child minder, grandparents etc; then see if any one has changed their mind (and type of childcare setting), if their choice has lived up to expectations, problems and benefits associated with that type of childcare etc

Far less controversial; far easier to collect research (anecdotal from groups of parents etc) and won't need so long to validate results (is childcare harmful? Might take 25 years to see any "harm").


purepurple · 29/05/2011 18:43

While Iwould love to spend the next 25 years doing research, I actually only have a year.
I knew you would all be able to help me make sense of my own musings.
You are all right, far too ambitious and controversial.

OP posts:

ThursdayNext · 29/05/2011 18:46

Do you need to do some actual research or can it be a literature review?


Guitargirl · 29/05/2011 18:47

Is this for a Master's dissertation?

How are you going to define harmful?

How many control groups are you going to have? Children who go to childminder? Children who are looked after by parents? Children with nannies? Grandparents?

I would be interested to see how you are:

a) going to get ethics approval for this and
b) going to have parents who will consent.

The call for longitudinal research and the need to control for other factors puts this way beyond the scope of most undergrad/Masters' studies I reckon.


purepurple · 29/05/2011 18:50

I am being too ambitious and over-thinking things (again). I need to stick with simple. It's for a BA so doesn't need to be anything too taxing. I need to do a lit review and some small scale research too.

OP posts:

MurphyWasAnOptimist · 29/05/2011 18:51

Have a look at the millennium cohort study. It's a longitudinal study following children born in 2000 and may have the data you need,

Bit you'd need to think of some angle that has been studied or develop some sophisticated statistical techniques to tease out a net effect from all the confounding factors.


Loonytoonie · 29/05/2011 18:52

Sorry - not read all the posts, but I'd answer No, leave it.
It'll only be measurable if you do a longitudinal study, you prob don't have 5 or so years for this? There are a million and 1 other variables to consider so your research may not carry enough weight, and you'd surely have to look at a nursery in particular to base your observations. They wouldn't be best pleased if they knew you were looking at proving how harmful they were Confused


MurphyWasAnOptimist · 29/05/2011 18:53

Here's the link

I've worked with the study before so let me know if you have any questions.


FlyingStart · 29/05/2011 18:55

How about researching the influences of parental choice towards childcare? Way simpler and more within the scope of an undergraduate dissertation


jade80 · 29/05/2011 18:57

I think you'd have to be very careful on which nurseries you looked at. I'm not sure they would be keen to let you based on the title of your dissertation, it doesn't really reflect well on the settings you would use.
Some nurseries may well be harmful, some may actually be better then a child being at home. It will also depend on the home the child is coming from, clearly. It is a bit wishy washy as a title to be honest, too wide with too many variables. You need something more specific, as your later post seem to appreciate.

If you're thinking along those sort of lines, could you do anything looking at wellbeing or involvement scales?


purepurple · 29/05/2011 19:00

I have looked at the millenium cohort study, very interesting. I find the link between breast feeding and behaviour very interesting.
How can nurseries support breast feeding when babies are starting younger and younger?

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