Where do children usually play? Critical Analysis of Research Process

The topic area is children’s play and urbane planning. The overall evaluation of the paper can be described as appropriate.


This report is a critique of the research process that was employed by Veitch et al (2005) in “Where do children usually play? A qualitative study of parents’ perception of influences on children’s active free-play”. The report seeks to evaluate the information and opinions in this work. It critically evaluates this research work in contrast to the pre-specified criterion to gauge its strengths and weaknesses. Veitch and co.’s research work investigated the views of 78 parents from different socioeconomic in Australia’s Melbourne area aiming to increase comprehension of places and reasons why children play (Veitch et al., 2006). The topic area is children’s play and urbane planning. The overall evaluation of the paper can be described as appropriate.


The research paper investigated the views of parents from different socioeconomic locations within Melbourne that are low, middle, and high socioeconomic classes. It explored the parents’ views of the personal, social, and physical surrounding impacts on the children’s active free-play. It aimed at augmenting comprehension of which places children play and the reasons why they play there. It opted for the qualitative approach since limited information is available for impacts on the active play of children. In addition, the researchers saw qualitative techniques as generating prodigious information as well as offering an opportunity to get significant insights in less understood areas (Veitch et al., 2006).

The research used the ecological design of qualitative techniques to interview parents face-to-face.  The researches chose this design so that the comprehension of individual and environmental impacts on children’s play is broadened. The parents interviewed were from selected school populace. The interviews were modeled to investigate a series of aspects that relate to children’s active after-school free-play. The researchers had obtained due to requirements including ethics approval and informed consents from the relevant individuals and authority. The findings of the research work showed that most children play at home yards. Others play in streets, parks, playgrounds, bush, school-yards and swimming pools sometimes. The researchers found 6 main themes that influence children’s free-play. They include; children’s safety and encompasses general wellbeing, level of autonomy of the children, parents and children’s attitudes towards active free-plays, social factors surrounding children, social amenities such as parks and playing grounds, and urbane-environmental development factors (Veitch et al., 2006).


The research method that this research work employed was qualitative study and it was duly appropriate. For a study like this where limited information is available and is known concerning the impacts surrounding the active free-play of children, qualitative study is most appropriate. This is because qualitative research method richly generates data and offers opportunities to better acquire pertinent insights in areas which are insufficiently comprehended (Basavanthappa, 2014). Guided by ecological design, the research work widened the comprehension of personal and environmental impacts on a child’s active free-plays. Ecological design, which guided the research work provided a comprehensive structure upon which the examination of free-plays was done.

The model posited the existence of unique interrelation of a child and their socio-physical surrounding and policy. The ecological method helped in developing the appropriate questions. The semi-structured nature of the interview which defined the materials for the interview made it easier for participants to understand what they were being asked. Further, the design of the questions in an open-minded manner ensured that the participants could fully explore their perspectives widely without being limited or constrained. The design provided a framework upon which topics were wide. The use of prompts to conjure up the memories of participants to give additional detailed information was laudable (Veitch et al., 2006).

The research method involved trained researchers which ensured that due processes were followed. The time allocated for the interviews as well as the location of the interviews were appropriate. The data management and analysis which involved word by word transcription ensured that no information was lost during the collection (Basavanthappa, 2014). The number of researchers who categorized and coded the transcribed notes were analyzed in strict accordance with the data collected which meant that the analysis was reliable. The research method used a qualitative software package to facilitate the evaluation of data and thematic aspects as well as to identify the related quotes. The resulting description that uses an illustration of quotes into themes and sub-themes based on quotes ensured that the data was validated.

For such a study, although other research methods can be used, they cannot provide an empirical, insightful and comprehensive framework upon which all the aspects involved in influencing physical activities of the children can be understood. For example, previous studies that used quantitative data guided by a theoretical model do not offer insights into background impacts on why children use various play spaces. Further, the other research methods may not cover children from all the socio-economic statuses as low, medium, and high. The other research cannot provide a significantly useful range of social and demographic backgrounds that is required to determine the influences of a child’s active free-play. In addition, the analysis of data from a quantitative research may be skewed since data obtained may be hard to interpret as wider topics will be covered which might even lead inaccurate and unreliability of the data (Ryan et al., 2017). The resulting skewness may also interfere with the research’s primary aim.

The sample group was that the research paper used was quite satisfactory. First, the number of individuals who participated was large and were selected from a wide range of areas that covered all the socio-economic statuses that is low, medium, and high-end societies (Basavanthappa, 2014). Secondly, the sample schools of the participants were chosen with basis on the ranking from the socio-economic index of the country and thus it was a true representation of the statuses the children came from. Thirdly, the sampling techniques that ensured the participants had at least one child studying in grade 1-6 improved the satisfaction of the sample. The sample was a true representation of the wider population, therefore, giving a true answer to the research question of the study (Sood, 2018).


The researchers of the study paper made appropriate use of secondary materials that they used to support their findings in the discussion. This is because the findings from the research fit the data in the secondary further, only providing additional information. The discussions are in line with the theoretical framework that has been set by the other findings before them. There is a logical flow between the findings of the report which fits the hypothesis provided by the researchers. This enabled the generalization of findings (Sood, 2018).

The researchers made appropriate use of ethical consideration since the participants had given due consent for the study. The participants were interviewed in a quiet environment inside the children’s classes and thus they were safe from any harm, risk, or any distress. The researchers had obtained due ethics approval from both Deakin University as well as Victorian Department of Education and Training. The study maintained the confidentiality and privacy of the participants’ information (American Psychological Association, 2010).

The researchers used all means possible to ensure that the threats to internal and external validity were countered by using the appropriate research methodology which resulted in reliable primary information which was in line with the hypothesis. The instruments used in the data collection were adequately described. In addition, the researcher mentions the limitations that they encountered and why these limitations cannot negate the findings of the study. The analysis procedure was well defined. The conclusions that the study draws are in line with the aims that had been described in the introduction (Ryan et al., 2017).


The research has employed a new theoretic framework referred to as ecological design and consideration of personal and socio-physical aspects aided provided additional insights to this study which had not been available for previous research on the same topic. Qualitative approach richly generated useful facts on the topic (Veitch et al., 2006). However, the researchers fail to note the fact that giving incentives as tokens of appreciation for the participants might have influenced some participants. Nonetheless, this research is a very useful one since they have considered significant issues. The topic of children’s physical activity is an important one and has not been duly given attention but the study has dedicated itself to giving an applicable framework.