Ronfard, Zambrana, Hermansen & Kelemen (2018): Question-asking in childhood: A review of the literature and a framework for understanding its development
I: Developmental Review, Online first
Samuel Ronfard, Imac M. Zambrana, Tone K. Hermansen & Deborah Kelemen.
Children’s ability to query others is remarkable because it attests to their coordination of a range of complex cognitive capacities and because it allows them to initiate and redirect pedagogical exchanges. It is therefore a catalyst for their ability to learn from others. However, despite its importance for cognitive developmental theorizing and its implications for educational practice, relative to other aspects of children’s exploratory behavior, research on children’s questions has been relatively sparse and siloed across several disciplines. The aim of this review is to provide a framework for organizing past and future research on question-asking and to use this framework to describe what development and variability in children’s question asking looks like between infancy and the elementary school years. We propose that question-asking can be divided into four components: (1) initiation, (2) formulation, (3) expression, and (4) response evaluation and follow-up. Drawing on research from the fields of psychology, education, and developmental psycholinguistics we review what is known and not known about these four components between infancy and elementary school as well as describe sources of variability across development.