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Becoming a researcher: The process of ‘stirring in’ to data collection practices in early childhood education research

The theory of practice architectures is a useful theoretical, methodological and analytical tool for educational research. The use of the theory is emerging as germane in early childhood education research. This article explores concepts from the theory as applied in an early childhood education research project. The article focuses on the concept of stirring in, a view of learning advanced by the theory of practice architectures. To describe and analyse the process of stirring in, the article draws on the experiences of the first author, a doctoral candidate, researching in early childhood education, her field of professional experience. Using key elements of the theory of practice architectures, this article discusses how both the experiences of being a doctoral candidate and researching her own profession were catalysts for being stirred in to the practices of a researcher. Coming to the research as an experienced early childhood educator, the doctoral candidate experienced tension between the practices of a researcher and her ingrained practices as an educator. This tension, combined with the ‘doing’ of data collection, contributed towards the doctoral candidate’s stirring in to data collection practices. Authors of the theory of practice architectures argue that in the process of being stirred in to new practices, participants in the practices can experience a change akin to a transformation, what we describe as a sense of becoming. In this article, we show how the doctoral candidate learned to put aside practices associated with her role as an early childhood educator and began to embrace practices associated with the role of researcher, initiating her sense of becoming a researcher. The purpose of the article is to build on previous work to demonstrate how the theory of practice architectures can be used to examine the process of being stirred in to new practices. (author abstract)
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