Prof Claire Hughes launches inclusive resources for research with children

Child looks into a mirror; child looks away from a mirror


Prof Claire Hughes has launched a new set of pictorial resources for use by researchers interested in how children view themselves and their life experiences. The new images, which portray moments from a child’s day, show children from diverse ethnic backgrounds and are gender neutral, making them more child-friendly. 

Claire Hughes is a Fellow of Newnham and Deputy Director of the Centre for Family Research.

The new pictures offer a contemporary updating of Prof Susan Harter’s ‘self-report instruments’, originally created in the 1980s by the pioneering child psychologist, who died in 2020.  This measure involves a series of images, each showing two contrasting situations. Across a variety of domains, children are asked to pick the picture that matches their experience.  For example, a child may feel confident in their social relationships but less sure of their academic or physical skills.

Harter’s measure remains hugely valuable, but the images themselves are now, 40 years on, looking a little outdated (though the flared jeans are delightful!). Claire Hughes was therefore keen to develop a set of contemporary images, in which today’s children would be able to recognise themselves. Meanwhile, Prof Harter’s family is delighted that her legacy continues afresh.

The team worked with children’s book illustrator Karin Eklund to create a set of ethnically diverse, gender neutral pictures of everyday life. The images explore situations including playing alone or with friends, starting school and spending time with family. They are available for use via the open research platform OSF:

Financial support for this project came from Newnham’s Senior Members Research Support funds and the University’s Equality and Diversity Unit.  Karin Eklund’s work can be seen on her own page.