Published October 27, 2021 | Version v1
Poster Open

Developing an integrated research program for the study of Occupational Science through the lens of play


Poster presented at SSO:USA Conference 2021 (Society for the Study of Occupation, USA)



Title: Developing an integrated research programme for the study of occupational science through the lens of play

Statement of Purpose

The P4PLAY is an innovative joint doctoral programme, established in 2020, as a collaboration between 4 academic and 15 partner organisations in Europe and the USA. The overall research goal is to develop new knowledge on the occupation of play and play deprivation; the impact of physical, socio-cultural, and policy environments on play provision; and the development of solutions to address barriers to play provision in diverse community settings. This research responds to the societal challenge of ensuring health, well-being and equality for children (UN Sustainable Goals 3 & 10). Expected outcomes aim to benefit children, families, and communities. PhD students are conducting individual projects addressing four fundamental areas of play (People, Place, Policy, Practice [P4Play]) with eight study themes:


  • Expanding conceptualisations of inclusive play for children with diverse experiences of play deprivation.
  • Exploring the impact of contemporary gender discourses on the play of families with children at risk of play deprivation.


  • Spatial inclusion: The relationship between Universal Design and policy for play provision.
  • Redefining play in technology enhanced play spaces: enhancing children’s participation.


  • Enhancing spatial inclusion in public playspaces through participatory approaches in planning and design.
  • Applying complexity theory to identify and explore multiple outcomes associated with children’s play.


  • The evaluation of children’s outdoor play.
  • Enhancing participation through play interventions in school settings.


Description of Methods

The programme of research is founded in child-centred methodologies framed within a child-rights-based approach,  and underpinned by occupational science concepts which support analyses of the influence of sociocultural, political and spatial contexts that influence play. Central to this programme is an exploration and development of child-centred, evidence-based, occupation-centred research and practice methods. Methodologies will include discourse analysis, narrative and ethnographic approaches embedded with tailored methods to elicit children’s voice so children’s perspectives are heard.

Report of Results (anticipated findings)

One innovative outcome of this grant is to produce Occupational Science researchers who can explore societal challenges, relating to inclusion, health, and well-being, and translate evidence into practice and societal solutions. Furthermore, it is anticipated that these studies will contribute to the development of  innovative research methods to explore socio-spatial environments and play occupations, at a family, and community level.

Discussion/Implications as related to Occupational Science

Our goal is to progress a rights-based agenda for all children at risk of play deprivation through the development of a child-centred play research programme


Committee on the Rights of the Child (2013). General comment No. 17 (2013) on the Right of the Child to Rest, Leisure, Play, Recreational Activities, Cultural Life, and the Arts (Article 31). Geneva: United Nations.


Poster 5_6_Jackson.pdf

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Additional details


P4PLAY – People, Place, Policy and Practice for Play 861257
European Commission