Uncertainty and practical judgement in research: a call for attentive ‘listening’

Daniela Mercieca, Duncan Mercieca (Lead / Corresponding author), Sarah Piscopo Mercieca

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)
    74 Downloads (Pure)


    This paper draws upon research projects in which efforts have been made to find ways of listening to young children’s voices in early years contexts. This listening, namely in the mosaic approach, helps us to see how children make sense of their world, and adopt our planning and ‘being with’ young children. After setting the context of early years pedagogy and ideology of mosaic approach, this paper focuses on the researcher’s journey to turn her gaze inward before making any claims about her engagement with and listening to young children. Since this approach purposely leaves unanswered the question what kind of data is going to be collected, researchers have to decide what data is in the course of a research project, through their engagement with children. We argue for befriending uncertainty and dilemmatic thinking as it provides us with a different way of seeing, knowing and listening the hard to know. Through writing about phronêsis, this paper focuses on the process of decision-making and judgements that researchers undertake. The final argument calls for attentiveness and aims to acknowledge practical judgements as a fundamental part of researching early years.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)421-435
    Number of pages15
    JournalQualitative Research
    Issue number3
    Early online date18 Jan 2021
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


    • early years
    • educational psychology
    • judgements
    • listening
    • phronêsis
    • research
    • uncertainty

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
    • History and Philosophy of Science


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