Marsha Walton / Children′s Personal Narratives



Dr. Walton’s recent research has centered on children’s personal narratives—the stories they tell about their lives.  She has studied the role that narratives, especially those about conflict, play in various aspects of children’s development, including moral and social development and the sense of self.  Ever since her dissertation research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dr. Walton has been intrigued by how children make sense of their social worlds.  How do they understand friendship and interpersonal conflict and how is this related to their moral and social development?  How do they come to take authorship of their own experiences, and how does this relate to their ability to resolve peer conflict and to form satisfying relationships?
The Rhodes Narrative Development Research Team works with personal narratives by elementary school-aged children.  Current students on the team colaborate with alums who are now in graduate school or in other research settings.  Team members regularly present research at national and international conferences.
In 2012, four members of the Child Narrative Research Team collaborated with two former team members Sandra Keller ’06 (now working on a doctorate in linguistics) and Alice Davidson ’02 (now an assistant professor at Rollins College) to present a symposium at the Narrative Matters conference at the American University of Paris.


Pictured here are team members (starting on the left) Annika Wuerfel, Jiawen Li, alum Sandra Keller ‘06, Rollins student Julia Szenberg, team members Regan Humphrey and Kelly Parry and Dr. Walton.

In the Spring of 2013, team members Bhavna Kansal and Jiawen Li presented work at the Biennial Meetings of the Society for Research in Child Development, and later that summer four members of the team traveled to Chicago to present work at the Jean Piaget Society Meetings.


Pictured here at the Seattle Meetings of the Society for Research in Child Development in 2013 are Dr Alice Davidson ’02, now an assistant professor at Rollins College,  Carie Guthrie, Rollins College senior, Bhavna Kansal ’15 member of the Rhodes Child Narrative Research Team, and Dr. Walton.



Dr. Walton and research team member Annika Wuerfel (Psychology, ′13) discuss her poster at the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Symposium.





 Here are some recent papers presented at professional conferences with students from the Narrative Development Research Team. 

*Li, J., *Qiu, L., & Walton, M. D.  (2013)  "These two thoughts were like angel and demon competing in my head”:  Moral puzzlement and Lessons Learned in Chinese Children’s Narratives about Peer Conflict.  Jean Piaget Society Annual Meeting,  Chicago, Illinois.


 Walton, M. D., *Wuerfel, A. J., *Kansals, B., Cohen, R. R.  (2013).  Narrative coherence and attention to the landscape of consciousness predict peer adjustment in middle childhood.  Jean Piaget Society Annual Meeting,  Chicago, Illinois

*Stagg, A. C.,  *Etz, M. N., *Harris, A. R., & Walton, M. D.  (2007).  Emergence of Othermindedness and Moral Evaluation in Inner-city Children’s Personal Narratives.   Association for Psychological Science, Annual Convention, Washington, D.C.

 Walton, M. D., & Harris, A. R. (2007).  Using an Electronic Discussion Forum to Enhance Service-Learning Pedagogy and Relationships with Participating Community Agencies.   Developmental Science Teaching Institute, Society for Research in Child Development Biennial Convention.  Boston. 

 Keller, S. L.,  Walton, M. D., & Nicolopoulou, A. (2006).  Narrative Performance and the Creation of Local Culture in Two Preschool Classrooms.  Annual Meeting of the Jean Piaget Society, Baltimore, MD.

Walton, M. D., & *Harris, A. R., & *Hansen, J.  (2006).  Narrative Voice and Children’s Understanding of Self and Others.  Narrative Matters: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Narrative Research, Nova Scotia, Can

Walton, M. D., & *Guillot, M. A.  (2005).  The Development of Literary Voice in Two Inner-City Schools.  Society for  Research in Child Development, Biennial Meetings, Atlanta, GA.

*Harris, A. R., Walton, M. D. , & *Keller, S. L.  (2005).   Narratives of Conflict Interactions:  Children’s Construction of Emotions and Conflict Resolution.  Annual Meeting of the Jean Piaget Society, Vancouver, Canada.



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