Meet the CSPACE Team – Carolyn Blackburn

Name: Dr. Carolyn Blackburn

carolynRole at BCU: Research Fellow, Early Childhood Studies. My role involves research, undergraduate teaching and post-graduate research supervision.

Research Interests: I am interested in the influences on children’s learning and development from a bio-psycho-social perspective. In particular I am interested in relationships between caregivers (both in the home and out of home contexts such as early years settings) and children. I am also interested in relationships between professionals and families and the ways in which professionals work together. My PhD was concerned with early intervention and professional response to young children’s speech, language and communication delays and difficulties. Much of my research has focused on vulnerable learners and families.

Research you are currently working on:

  • Young children’s musical experiences in home and out of home settings
  • Relationship-based early intervention services for children with complex needs

Research methodologies you are using: I favour mixed-methods as it feel it offers the best of both worlds in the paradigm wars. However, I’ve also used action research successfully in a number of research projects and this has the potential to be really exciting. I am committed to the notion of inquiry-based practice and see educators as enthusiastic researchers who are always seeking the best pedagogical approaches to supporting and engaging children. Most of my research has been broadly interpretive.


Current issues, thoughts and reflections on education & research: As we learn more and more about the world we live in with increased globalisation, the potential for future educational research projects about diversity and inclusion is significant. The agenda that focuses on children’s rights opens the door for new ways to think about children and families that moves beyond within child characteristics and challenges us to think about the environments and contexts that we offer to support them.

Advice for new researchers: Always follow your passion, it’s the key to insightful and successful research projects, treat your participants with respect and integrity and report your research objectively (as far as possible) with truth and insight.

Mini fact about you: I can’t read maps (at all), I would love to be able to play the drums (but have poor co-ordination and am tone deaf) and I am determined never to grow up.


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