Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Professor Linda Harrison

Professor Linda Harrison

BSc(Agr) (Hons), MSc McGill, DipT (EC) MCAE, MEd Syd, PhD Macq

Linda Harrison is Associate Dean-Research and Professor of Early Childhood Education in the Faculty of Arts and Education, Charles Sturt University. She is an early childhood educator and researcher with varied interests and expertise, most particularly in large-scale longitudinal studies and the development of innovative methodologies for studying children's lives, experiences, and perspectives as they move into and through early childhood settings and schools. Linda is a Chief Investigator on seven Australian Research Council grants (two current), an Honorary Fellow with the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Community Child Health Research Group and an invited member of the Goodstart Early Learning Thought Leaders Group, the Advisory Committee for the Centre for Statistics and Evaluation, NSW Department of Education, and the Australian Government Review of Longitudinal Data Architecture for the National Centre for Longitudinal Data

Previously, Linda led one of three research programs in the Excellence in Research in Early Years Education Collaborative Research Network, a three-year (2011-2014) research capacity building program for 70 staff and doctoral students at Charles Sturt University, Queensland University of Technology, and Monash University, funded by the Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.. She was a key contributor to the Australian government-funded Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, and co-led the development and trial of Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia for the Australian Department of Education, Employment, and Workplace Relations, and the Council of Australian Governments.

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Since taking up her appointment at CSU in 2000, Linda and her research colleagues have been awarded two ARC Discovery grants and five ARC Linkage grants. Linda has also attracted significant funding through external government and competitive research contracts and consultancies. These include: the development and national trial of Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia; the evaluation of the Inquiry to Implementation Project for the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, and an evaluation of centre-based processes in engaging with the National Quality Framework for Goodstart Early Learning. Linda has also had a long-standing involvement with the design of the 16-year Longitudinal Study of Australian Children which is funded by the Australian government Department of Social Services in collaboration with the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australian Institute of Family Studies.
Linda's research interests centre on:

Infants' and toddlers' experiences of child care

  • ARC Linkage grant with Centre Support. chief Investigators: Jennifer Sumsion, Linda Harrison, Ben Bradley
  • ARC Linkage grant with KU Children's Services and Family Day Care Australia. Chief Investigators: Jennifer Sumsion, Linda Harrison, Frances Press, Ben Bradley, Sharynne McLeod

Quality in early childhood services

  • ARC Discovery grant. Chief Investigators: Linda Harrison, Frances Press, Jennifer Sumsion, Jennifer Bowes, and Marianne Fenech

The long-term impact of communication difficulties in early childhood

  • ARC Discovery grant. Chief Investigators: Sharynne McLeod, Linda Harrison, Lindy McAllister, Jane McCormack

Promotion of child mental health in child care services

  • ARC Linkage grant with Family Day Care Australia, Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, and Windermere Child & Family Services. Chief Investigators: Elise Davis, Elizabeth Waters, Helen Herrman, Linda Harrison, Margaret Sims, Kaye Cook, Andrew Mackinnon, Bernie Marshall, and Cathie Mihalopoulos

The use and impact of multiple and changeable child care on child outcomes

  • ARC Linkage grant with the NSW Department of Community Services. Chief Investigators: Jennifer Bowes, Judy Ungerer, Ann Sanson, Sarah Wise, Linda Harrison, Johana Watson, Tracey Simpson, and Cathrine Neilsen-Hewitt.

Attachment relationships with educators in early childhood settings

  • Project funded by the Christie Foundation. Chief Investigators: Robyn Dolby, Judy Ungerer, Linda Harrison, Grant Cooper (USA), Maria Aarts (The Netherlands) 

Linda is also known for her work in developing innovative methodologies for the study of early childhood settings and children's wellbeing. These include:

Time Use Diary for Infant Toddler Childcare, a research tool for observing children's experiences throughout the childcare day

  • Harrison, L. J., Elwick, S., Vallotton, C., & Kappler, G. (2014).Spending time with others: A Time Use Diary for infant toddler childcare In L. J. Harrison & J. Sumsion (Eds.), Lived spaces of infant-toddler education and care (pp. 59-74). Dordrecht: Springer.

Random Time Sampling Time Use Diary, a Smartphone app for early childhood educators to record their working day

  • Wong, S., Harrison, L. J., Gibson, M., Press, F., Sumsion, J., & Woods, A. The construction of a taxonomy of early childhood educators' work. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 40 (3), 79-88.

The Pictorial Measure of School Stress and Wellbeing

  • Harrison, L. J. & Murray, E. (2015). Stress, coping and wellbeing in kindergarten: Children's perspectives on personal, interpersonal and institutional challenges of school. International Journal of Early Childhood, 47(1), 79-103.Murray, E., & Harrison, L. J. (2005). Children's perspectives on their first year of school: Introducing a new pictorial measure of school stress. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 13, 111-127.

Drawings methodology

  • Harrison, L. J. (2014). Using children's drawings as a source of data in research, in O. Saracho (Ed.) Handbook of research methods in early childhood education. Volume II. Review of research methodologies (pp. 433-472). Charlotte, North Carolina: Information Age Publishing.
  • Holliday, E., Harrison, L. J., & McLeod, S. (2009). Listening to children with communication impairment talking through their drawings. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 7(3), 244-263.
  • Harrison, L., Clarke, L., & & Ungerer, J. (2007). Children's drawings provide a new perspective on linkages between teacher-child relationship quality and school adjustment. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 22, 55-71.

Supervision of Higher Degree Research Students

Linda is currently supervising four PhD students whose research is exploring babies' interactions with other infants in childcare, children's speech acquisition in North Viet Nam , and movement curriculum in outdoor play for preschoolers. She has successfully supervised four early childhood PhD graduates and two PhD/EdD nurse education graduates.

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Linda was co-leader (with colleague Prof Jennifer Sumsion) of the national consortium led by Charles Sturt University that was awarded the tender to develop and trial Belonging, Being and Becoming: the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. The model we developed to facilitate successful cross sectoral collaboration, discussion and debate within the Consortium, which comprised academics universities, representatives of peak early childhood organisations, employer groups, practitioners and consultants,  proved highly effective in working with government representatives and the wider early childhood community.

This model has been applied in the subsequent establishment of the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) Early Years Learning and Development Network (EYLDN), which in 2012 became the Early Years Chapter. The ARACY Early Years Chapter is principally designed to encourage collaborative partnership across researchers, academics, practitioners, professional organizations, government and non-government agencies, and advocate for the importance of early childhood. 

Linda is an active member of national and international early childhood organisations, and is a committed participant at their annual and biennial conferences and meetings. She is an Associate Editor for the International Journal of Early Childhood and acts as a reviewer for journals such as the Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Early Years: An International Journal of Research and Development, The Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, the Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, Educational Psychology, and several others. Linda is a grant reviewer for the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council.

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Linda Harrison has published, as a sole author, co-author or Editor, 11 scholarly books/monographs, 26 research-based book chapters, 65 refereed journal articles, and 10 research reports and conference papers, reflecting a record of effective cross-disciplinary collaborations in research and publishing. She also produces knowledge translational work for a broad professional and policy audience, and presents at professional conferences.

A selection of recent and seminal work is included below:


  1. Harrison, L. J., Janus, M., Goldfeld, S., Guhn, M., & Brinkman, S. (2016). International research utilizing the Early Development Instrument (EDI) as a measure of early child development, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 35 [12 articles, 134 pages].  Available online:
  2. Harrison, L. J. & Sumsion, J. (Eds.). (2014). Lived spaces of infant-toddler education and care. Dordrecht: Springer
  3. Harrison, L. J., Ungerer, J. A., Smith, G. J., Zubrick, S. R., & Wise, S., with Press, F., Waniganayake, M. and the LSAC Research Consortium. (2009). Child care and early education in Australia. The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. Social Policy Research Paper No. 40. Canberra, ACT: Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.
  4. Harrison, L., Phillip, J., Allen, R., Reid, J. (Eds.) (2004). Into the whirly wind: Stories of first-year-out teachers. NSW: Charles Sturt University

Book Chapters:

  1. Wong, S. & Harrison, L. J. (in press). Research about and with children families and communities. In R. Grace, K. Hodge, & C. McMahon (Eds.) Children, families & communities: Contexts and consequences, 5th Edition. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
  2. Murray, E. & Harrison, L. J. (in press). Interconnections among family, childcare and education. In R. Grace, K. Hodge, & C. McMahon (Eds.) Children, families & communities: Contexts and consequences, 5th Edition. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
  3. Harrison, L. J., & Wang, C. (in press). Quantitative research methodology in early childhood education, In Fleer, M. & van Oers, B. (Eds.), International handbook on early childhood education. Dordrecht: Springer
  4. Daniel, G., Wang, C., Murray, E., & Harrison, L. J. (in press). School choice and parent involvement among Australian children starting school, In S. Dockett, W. Griebel, & B. Perry (Eds.). Families and the transition to school. Dordrecht: Springer.
  5. Harrison, L. J., Dolby, R., & Freizer, B. (in press). Applying the Tavistock Method of observation and group reflection to the study of babies and toddlers in centre-based childcare. In Liang, L., Quinones, G., & Ridgway, A. (Eds.), Studying Babies and Toddlers: Cultural Worlds and Transitory Relationships. Dordrecht: Springer
  6. Fleer, M., Duhn, I., & Harrison, L. J. (in press). The Relational Agency Framework as a tool for supporting the establishment, maintenance and development of networks of multidisciplinary professionals. In Edwards, A. (Ed.). Collaborating on Complex Problems: cultural historical accounts of relational work
  7. McCormack, J., McLeod, S., & Harrison, L. J. (2014). Communication development. In S. Garvis & D. Prendergast (Eds.) Health and wellbeing in the early years (pp. 50-60). Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.
  8. Sumsion, J. & Harrison, L. J. (2014). Infant and toddler play. In Brooker, L., Blaise, M., & Edwards, S. (Eds.) SAGE Handbook of Play and Learning in Early Childhood (pp. 306-318). London: Sage Publications Ltd.
  9. Harrison, L. J. (2014). Intrapersonal and interpersonal influences on school transition, in B. Perry, S. Docket, & A. Petriwskyj (Eds.) Transitions to school. International research, policy and practice (pp. 61-74).Dordrecht: Springer.
  10. Harrison, L. J. (2013). Playing from birth with mothers and caregivers. In Brooker, E., & Woodhead, M. (Eds.) Early Childhood in Focus 9 (pp. 20-21). Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Refereed Journal Articles

  1. Wang, C., Hatzigianni, M., Shahaeian, A., Murray, E., & Harrison, L. J. (in press). The unique and combined effects of teacher-child and peer relationships on children's social-emotional adjustment. Journal of School Psychology
  2. Vermeer, H., Van IJzendoorn, M., Cárcamo, R. A., & Harrison, L. J. (2016). Quality of child care using the Environment Rating Scales: A meta-analysis of international studies. International Journal of Early Childhood, 48
  3. McLeod, S., Harrison, L. J., Whiteford, C., & Walker, S. (2016). Multilingualism and speech-language competence in early childhood: Impact on academic and social-emotional outcomes at school. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 34, 53-66.
  4. Janus, M., Harrison, L. J., Goldfeld, S., Guhn, M., & Brinkman, S. (2016).International research utilizing the Early Development Instrument (EDI) as a measure of early child development: Introduction to the Special Issue. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 35, 1 – 5.
  5. Salamon, A., & Harrison, L. J. (2015). Early childhood educators' conceptions of infants' capabilities: The nexus between beliefs and practice. Early Years: an international research journal, 35(3), 273-288.doi: 10.1080/09575146.2015.1042961
  6. Spilt, J., Koomen, H., & Harrison, L. J. (2015). Language development in the early school years: The importance of close relationships with teachers. Developmental Psychology 51(2), 181-196.
  7. Wong, S., Whiteford, C., Rivalland, C., & Harrison, L. J. (2014). Utilisation of early childhood education and care services in a nationally representative sample of Australian children: A focus on disadvantage. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 39(2), 60-70.
  8. Neilsen-Hewett, C., Sweller, N., Taylor, A., Harrison, L. J., & Bowes, J. (2014). Family, child and location factors and parents' reasons for multiple concurrent childcare arrangements in the years before school. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 29 (1), 52-63.
  9. McLeod, S., Harrison, L. J., & McCormack, J. (2012). Intelligibility in Context Scale: Validity and reliability of a subjective rating measure. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 55, 648-656.
  10. Fenech, M., Sweller, N., & Harrison, L. J. (2010). Identifying high quality centre based childcare using quantitative data sets: What the numbers do and don't tell us. International Journal of Early Years, 18(4), 283-296.
  11. Harrison, L. J. & McLeod, S. (2010). Risk and protective factors associated with speech and language impairment in a nationally representative sample of 4- to 5-year-old children. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 53(2), 508-529.
  12. Harrison, L. J., McLeod, S., Berthelsen, D., & Walker, S. (2009). Literacy, numeracy and learning in school-aged children identified as having speech and language impairment in early childhood. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 11(5), 392-403.
  13. McLeod, S. & Harrison, L. J. (2009). Epidemiology of speech and language impairment in a nationally representative sample of 4- to 5-year-old children. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 52(5), 1213-1229.
  14. Harrison, L.J. (2008). Does child care quality matter? Associations between socio-emotional development and non-parental child care in a representative sample of Australian children. Family Matters, 79, 14-25.
  15. Harrison, L., & Ungerer, J. (2005). What can the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children tell us about infants' and 4 to 5-year-olds' experiences of early childhood education and care? Family Matters, 72, 26-35.
  16. Harrison, L. J., Rubia, K. & Manocha, R. (2004). Sahaja Yoga Meditation as a family treatment program for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 9(4), 479-497.
  17. Love, J. M., Harrison, L. J., Sagi-Schwartz, A., van IJzendoorn, M. H., Ross, C., Ungerer, J.A., Raikes, H., Brady-Smith, C., Boller, K., Brooks-Gunn, J., Constantine, J., Eliason Kisker, E., Paulsell, D., & Chazan-Cohen, R. (2003). Child care quality matters: How conclusions may vary with context. Child Development, 74, 1021-1033.
  18. Harrison, L. J. & Ungerer, J. A. (2002). Maternal employment predictors of infant-mother attachment security at 12 months postpartum. Developmental Psychology, 38, 758-773.

Commissioned Reports/Reviews

  1. Harrison, L. J., Goldfeld, S., Metcalfe, E., & Moore, T. (2012). Early learning programs that promote children's developmental and educational outcomes. Resource sheet No. 15 Closing the Gap Clearinghouse. Australian Government; Australian Institute for Health and Welfare; Australian Institute of Family Studies.
  2. Harrison, L., Sumsion, J., Press, F., Wong, S., Fordham, L., & Goodfellow, J. (2011). A shared early childhood development research agenda: Key research gaps 2010 – 2015. Research report commissioned by the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth for the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. [153 pages] Available online:

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