Marsha Walton / Children′s Personal Narratives
Dr. Walton’s recent research has centered on children’s personal narratives—the stories they tell about their lives. She has studied the role that narratives, especially those about conflict, play in various aspects of children’s development, including moral and social development and the sense of self. Ever since her dissertation research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dr. Walton has been intrigued by children’s conflicts:
- What are they about?
- How are they resolved?
- How do children talk about them?
- How do children understand them?
Since 1998, her research has focused on narrative in particular: how children use narratives to represent and explain their own conflicts, and other experiences.
Dr. Walton usually has six students on her research team: two seniors, working on senior research projects, two juniors, developing their ideas for senior projects, and two younger students who ‘learn the ropes’ by assisting with all of the ongoing work.
Members of Dr. Walton′s 2011/2012 research team (from left):
Annika Wuerfel (Psychology, ′12), Jiawen Li (Psychology, ′13), Kelly Parry (Psychology, ′12), Regan Humphrey (Psychology, ′12), Dr. Walton
Currently, members of the research team are collecting data for two projects.
- The Child Life Narratives project is a collaboration with the Church Health Center’s Hope & Healing Facility. This work examines the link between children’s narratives about their own experience, their ability to share family stories, and several aspects of cognitive, physical, and social-emotional health and well-being.
- The Friendship Stories project is a collaboration with Dr. Alice Davidson (a 2002 alum of Dr. Walton’s research team and currently an Assistant Professor at Rollins College) and with Dr. Robert Cohen and Dr. Katherine Russell of the Peer Interaction Group at the University of Memphis. We will examine stories about friendship and peer rejection by Memphis children and children in Central Florida, seeing how their narratives enrich our understanding of their peer-group standing and their school achievement.
Dr. Walton and research team member Annika Wuerfel (Psychology, ′12) discuss her poster at the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Symposium.
Here are some recent papers presented at professional conferences with students from Dr. Walton’s research team.
Walton, M. D., *Harris, A. R. & *Davidson, A. J. (2009). “It makes me a man from the beating I took”: Gender and aggression in children’s narratives about conflict. Sex Roles, 61, 383-398.
*Harris, A. R. & Walton, M. D., & (2009). “Thank you for making me write this.” Narrative skills and the management of conflict in urban schools. The Urban Review: Issues and Ideas in Public Education, 41(4).
*Stagg, A. C., *Etz, M. N., *Harris, A. R., & Walton, M. D. (2007). Emergence of Othermindedness and Moral Evaluation in Inner-city Children’s Personal Narratives. Association for Psychological Science, Annual Convention, Washington, D.C.
Walton, M. D., & Harris, A. R. (2007). Using an Electronic Discussion Forum to Enhance Service-Learning Pedagogy and Relationships with Participating Community Agencies. Developmental Science Teaching Institute, Society for Research in Child Development Biennial Convention. Boston.
Keller, S. L., Walton, M. D., & Nicolopoulou, A. (2006). Narrative Performance and the Creation of Local Culture in Two Preschool Classrooms. Annual Meeting of the Jean Piaget Society, Baltimore, MD.
Walton, M. D., & *Harris, A. R., & *Hansen, J. (2006). Narrative Voice and Children’s Understanding of Self and Others. Narrative Matters: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Narrative Research, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Walton, M. D., & *Guillot, M. A. (2005). The Development of Literary Voice in Two Inner-City Schools. Society for Research in Child Development, Biennial Meetings, Atlanta, GA.
*Harris, A. R., Walton, M. D. , & *Keller, S. L. (2005). Narratives of Conflict Interactions: Children’s Construction of Emotions and Conflict Resolution. Annual Meeting of the Jean Piaget Society, Vancouver, Canada.