Rosenberg's Category Analysis

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Title: An analysis of how children’s identity develops over time: using Rosenberg’s study of self-descriptions (1979).


This report is an analysis of two semi structured interviews investigating the ways individual children give self- descriptions, and how these change with age. An 8 year old girl and a 16 year old boy were interviewed separately in a familiar environment. They first wrote down their chosen self-descriptions which were then discussed with the interviewer. These were followed by a series of questions relating to self-evaluation, self and others, ideal self and the locus of self-knowledge. The results were coded using the same methodology the researcher Rosenberg used to analyse children’s self-descriptions in
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(b) Participants

One primary and one secondary school in Milton Keynes were approached by the Open University to help the team find willing participants for their research. The younger participant was Annie, selected from three 8 year olds that were interviewed by Kieron Sheehy. The older participant was Adam, selected from three 16 year olds interviewed by Peter Barnes. The participants were told at the start of the interview they could stop the recording and withdraw participation any time if they wished.

(C) Materials

A consent form of participation and use of audio-recording was signed by the parents of the children prior to the interviews. In both venues the sound recordist and the producer were present, and the 8 year olds also had a classroom assistant in attendance. There was an unobtrusive microphone, a pen, and a sheet of paper for the written task. The sheet of paper had the heading 'Who am I?' followed by ten lines, each beginning with 'I...'

(d) Procedure

The interviews took place during the school day. After introducing himself, the researcher told the participant that they were taking part in research that would help Third-Level students understand how children of different ages think and talk about themselves. The participant was then invited to complete the written task ‘Who am I?’ on the sheet. They could write as many or as
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