Study 1

We will be recruiting for Study 1 once COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted. If you are a preschool teacher/manager who would be interested in getting your preschool involved, please read the information below and contact

Study Information

The study is being run by Dr Pauline Frizelle from the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University College Cork. Below there is information about the study, what will be involved if your preschool participates and the advantages to you and your students of participating.

Purpose of the Study

This study aims to develop a computerized app (called TECS-E) to help to identify children who find it difficult to understand their first language. However, before teachers or therapists can use it to help identify children who have difficulties, we have to find out how children with no difficulties respond to the task at different ages.

Our research team at UCC have developed a set of fun and engaging animated films children watch and respond to. The animations specifically focus on complex sentences. So for example while sentences such as “Put your PE kit on”, or “put the book back” are considered simple, complex sentences combine the two pieces of information together e.g. “Before you go to put on your PE kit you need to put back the book”.

To find out how children with no difficulties respond at different ages, we need a large number of children to complete TECS-E, which represent the range of abilities across the whole population, between 4 and 9 years. This will help us gain the information that they need so that TECS-E can then be used more widely by teachers, therapists and other educators.

What will the study involve?

The study will involve children in your preschool completing TECS-E on an iPad during the school/preschool day. Each child would be asked if they would like to do it before they start and if they want to stop they can do so. One of your staff members would be given an anonymous code for each child and would fill in the code and some basic information about the child (their age, whether they are male/female) into the app. No identifying information will be given. The app is designed to be fun and engaging for children. We will need each child to complete two 20 minute sessions of the app on different days. It has been designed so that children can complete it without help from an adult, but a staff member from your preschool or a researcher from UCC will need to stay beside each child to give encouragement or so children can ask questions if they are unsure what to do.

What information will be collected?

The information that will be put into the app will be all anonymous and will include – the child’s age on the day of testing, sex, whether they have been exposed to other languages, if they have any additional medical difficulties/diagnoses. The app will also store the child’s total score on the app on an encrypted server.

How will the information be kept?

All anonymised data from the app will be stored on an encrypted server (based in the Republic of Ireland) see and will only be accessible by the research team. The data will then be transferred and stored on an encrypted, password protected computer in a locked room in the Department of speech and Hearing Sciences and a back-up copy will be stored electronically on OneDrive for Business through UCC Office 365. A copy of the individual codes for each child will be kept in a locked filing cabinet in the project lead’s office at UCC until the study is completed, following this the codes will be destroyed.

What will happen to the results?

The results will be collated and published so that the app can be normed and used with children who have difficulty understanding these types of sentences.

Anonymised scores will also be uploaded on to the Open Science Framework for potential re-analysis or further research. At no stage will any child or your preschool be identifiable.

What are the possible advantages of taking part?

By taking part in this study your preschool will help to contribute to important research on child language development and help to develop a tool that can be used by teachers and therapists to more easily identify children who have difficulties with language so that they can be provided with the support they need to succeed in school.

What are the possible disadvantages of taking part?

We don’t envisage any disadvantages, as the app is designed to be enjoyable for children and the children can complete it in their own time during the preschool day – at a time that is also convenient for staff. If you do not wish your preschool to be part of the study, we will not view that in any way negatively.

The Social Research Ethics Committee of UCC has reviewed and approved the study.

Any further queries?

Please contact the project lead:

TECS-E study