AGENTS - Towards children's efficacious agency in formal and informal contexts


This research project contributes to the Skidi Kids research programme by identifying factors both promoting and hindering children´s efficacious agency in the formal and informal contexts of childhood. In this research project, we explore the potential of theoretical concepts of self-efficacy, resilience and agency in order to define “efficacious agency” at theoretical and empirical levels. Our hypothesis is that young children are not merely reactive, passive and controlled either by environmental or biological forces but that through efficacious agency they can make themselves more efficacious, proactive and self-regulating.

The core empirical data of this research project is based on video material, which will be used in various ways: for data gathering and for producing stimulations that support the development of resilience and agency in children.  The initial progressive refinement of our hypotheses will guide the next phases in the research project whose major goal is to create and use stimulations as pedagogical methods and tools for supporting the development of children´s efficacious agency in diverse contexts. In following this line of thought, the main principle in the research project is to consider children as co-researchers who are active participants in data production and interpretation for the promotion of their efficacious agency. This approach requires the refinement of video research methods to meet the authentic worlds and voices of children.

In sum, this research project contributes to global efforts that aim to prevent marginalisation and inequality in children’s participation and well-being. Having a focus on children’s efficacious agency, its development and support mechanisms are powerful means to make negative developmental trends positive for every child.


Project duration

2010 - 2013

Project funding

Academy of Finland

Project staff

Sanna Järvelä

Pirkko Hyvönen

Arttu Mykkänen

Elina Määttä

Kristiina Kurki

Project partners

CICERO Learning,
University of Helsinki: Kristiina Kumpulainen

Department of applied Sciences of Education,
University of Helsinki: Lasse Lipponen, Jaakko Hilppö

University of Oulu: Eeva-Liisa Kroqvist


Sanna Järvelä

Last updated: 18.6.2013