Studying Mother-Child Conversations at Home in Three Cultures: Western Turkey, Eastern Turkey and the USA

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Şahin Acar B., Leichtman M.

SAGE Research Methods Cases, vol.2, pp.1-14, 2018 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)


Research on the development of autobiographical memory has documented the important role of mother–child conversations about past events in shaping children’s memory development. To observe mother–child reminiscing in the natural environment, researchers often conduct home visits. This research methods case focuses on a study in which we visited the homes of mothers and their young children in three diverse cultural settings and recorded their conversations about shared past and anticipated future events. We describe how participants were recruited, how the home visit protocol was conducted to capture the most naturalistic data possible, and the challenges of adjusting to diverse cultural norms when visiting participants at home. We reflect on the dilemmas we faced during recruitment and data collection, how we overcame them, and broader lessons for researchers recruiting participants and conducting home visits in multiple cultures. We also discuss coding, including how best to code naturalistic mother–child speech collected in two languages to facilitate comparison.