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A Bibliometric Analysis of 21st Century Research Trends in Early Childhood Education

Rouhollah Khodabandelou, Golnar Mehran, Vahid Nimehchisalem


The importance of early childhood education (ECE) as a foundation for lifelong learning and human development has been examined from different points of view, including those of economists, child developers, psychologists, and educators. This study aimed to explore ECE research trends by employing bibliometric mapping and bibliometric analysis. All 6,730 Web of Science records from 2000 to 2016 were analyzed using social network analysis software. We further employed bibliometric analyses on a sample of 500 of the most cited articles to identify the articles with higher quality or impact. Major trends in early childhood education research showed variations across publication years, the identification of active research areas, and the most prolific authors. The results of the bibliometric mapping showed that education and curriculum-based research; health-, safety-, nutrition-, and physical activity-related research; and gender- and family-related studies are among the most valuable ECE research themes. Implications for research institutions, education policymakers, and educational researchers are discussed.


Early childhood education, Research trends, Bibliometric analysis, Bibliometric mapping, Literature review

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