Systemic Practice and Action Research

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 113–123 | Cite as

A Play-Based Methodology for Studying Children: Playfication

  • Raffaele CampoEmail author
  • Fabrizio Baldassarre
  • Rosalind Lee
Brief Communication


Research involving children has specific characteristics and, given the significant changes in cognitive, emotional and behavioural systems that occur during childhood, it is necessary to ensure the most suitable methodology is applied. A considerable amount of research on children highlights the importance of respecting their abilities and encouraging active participation during studies, overcoming the so-called top-down approach and creating a child-friendly context. Given the universal value of play demonstrated by various psychologists and pedagogical experts, this study proposes a research design based on play, specifically studied for pre-schoolers. By comparing two different studies, we highlight the benefits deriving from this methodology, in line with the criteria for researching children as specified by Morrow and Richards (1996), Christensen and James (2008), and Banister and Booth (2005). The steps of this methodology are explained and commented. This research note concludes that a play-based methodology, which was more fruitful compared to a traditional group method, is a valid approach when researching pre-schoolers and should be the subject of further research.


Pre-schoolers Methodology Play Playfication Gamification 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raffaele Campo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Fabrizio Baldassarre
    • 1
  • Rosalind Lee
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BariBariItaly

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