SAGE Journal Articles

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SAGE Journal User Guide

Article 1:

Gatt, D., Grech, H., & Dodd, B. (2014). Early expressive vocabulary skills: A multi-method approach to measurement. First Language, 34(2), 136-154.


Investigations of early vocabulary production often employ a single method to measure children’s word use. This study examined expressive vocabulary development in children aged 1; 0–2; 6 years through a combination of picture naming, caregiver report and language sampling. The participants were predominantly exposed to Maltese at home, with gathered evidence providing novel documentation of early vocabulary development in this specific language-learning context. Expressive vocabulary reported by caregivers was compared to word use elicited through picture naming and sampled naturalistically during play. Analyses revealed commonalities between pairs of measures that pointed towards their validity. Resulting differences underscored the influences that data collection methods exerted on the measures they generated. Taken together, these findings highlight the relevance of multiple methods for ensuring validity and objectivity in the investigation of expressive vocabulary development.

Questions to Consider:

  1. Explain the significance of triangulation in assessment of early language development.
  2. Describe the study procedures and assessment measures.
  3. Discuss the study’s results and the implications of the findings. 

Article 2:

Morrissey, A.M. (2014). Scaffolding, analysis and materials: Contributing factors in an unexpected finding of advanced infant/toddler pretend play? Journal of Early Childhood Research, 12(2), 195–213.


As part of a longitudinal study, infant/toddler pretend play development and maternal play modelling were investigated in dyadic context. A total of 21 children were videotaped in monthly play sessions with their mothers, from age 8 to 17 months. Child and mother pretend play frequencies and levels were measured using Brown’s Pretend Play Observation Scale. Child IQ assessments at 5 years (Stanford–Binet IV) indicated average to high ability levels (M = 122.62). Descriptive analyses showed that children’s levels of pretend development were markedly in advance of age-typical expectations. With a previous analysis showing no specific associations between play levels and IQ, intensive maternal scaffolding, data analysis approaches and use of abstract play materials are proposed as possible contributory factors to the children’s advanced pretend play development.

Questions to Consider:

  1. Explain the relevance of pretend play in toddler development.
  2. Describe the relationship of maternal interaction to children’s play interaction.
  3. Discuss the implications of maternal scaffolding.