Skip to main content
View All Vacancies

Research Associate: Toddlers, technology and talk: Understanding how very young children learn language and literacy at home in a digital age

Linguistics & English Language
Salary:   £29,619 to £34,308 pro rata
Closing Date:   Friday 10 February 2023
Interview Date:   Tuesday 28 February 2023
Reference:  1566-22

Will join on an indefinite contract. 

However the role remains contingent on external funding which for this role is currently for 1 May 2023 - 30 April 2024.  

We are seeking to appoint a Research Associate to conduct research in a ground-breaking early childhood study. You will be working primarily with Professor Julia Gillen at Lancaster University, and other team members, 0.4FTE (2 days per week).

The role

Toddlers, tech and talk: understanding how very young children learn language and literacy at home in a digital age is an ESRC funded project which began in June 2022. It is led overall by Professor Rosie Flewitt at Manchester Metropolitan University and involves Co-Investigators at Strathclyde University, Queen’ University Belfast and Swansea University as well as Professor Julia Gillen at Lancaster. This project investigates how the home lives of children aged three and under intersect with digital technologies in diverse families in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. 

You will undertake interviews with parents and legal guardians of young children, and qualitative fieldwork with families at home, in diverse communities.  You will be involved in data collection, site liaison, secure data storage, data transcription and analysis, preparing and submitting data for archiving and report writing, amongst wider dissemination activities. This work will also involve collaborating with the wider project team in England, N. Ireland, Scotland and Wales.  Throughout the project, you will work to ensure the highest ethical standards are maintained.  

Skills and experience

You must hold a postgraduate degree in early childhood or related discipline and have experience of qualitative/ethnographic/participatory research. This post is suitable for applicants with expertise in young children’s talk and literacy, and experience in researching sensitively with children and their families at home. Experience in working with multilingual communities would be welcome but is not essential.

You will be knowledgeable about very young children’s learning and you will be familiar with using qualitative research techniques such as video and audio recording equipment and software, online meetings and data management systems and protocols. You will have excellent communication skills and experience of presenting complex information orally and in writing.    

You should also have a strong track record of working as part of a research team, of using your initiative and judgement to work independently, and the ability to build relationships and establish networks with internal and external contacts. Knowledge of more than one language spoken in the UK would be an advantage but is not essential.  


Further information on Lancaster University can be found at

Further information on the Department of Linguistics and English Language can be found at 

For informal conversations about the role contact Professor Julia Gillen

Email details to a friend
Further details:

Please note: Unless specified otherwise in the advert wording, all advertised roles are UK based.

The University provides an environment that strongly supports the individual needs of each employee, whilst promoting the importance of wellbeing for all our colleagues. We have a range of support networks available for our employees, and more information on these can be found on the ‘Working at Lancaster’ information page.


We are committed to family-friendly and flexible working policies on an individual basis. The University recognises and celebrates good employment practice undertaken to address all inequality in higher education.


We warmly welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of their age, religion, gender identity or expression, race, disability or sexual orientation, and are committed to promoting diversity, and equality of opportunity.

Stonewall Global Diversity Champions Athena Swan - Charter for Women in Science Lancaster University Partner Logos
Lancaster University Partner Logos