This chapter begins with two assumptions. One is that naturalistic research serves unique scientific purposes in education. The other is that literacy education, especially as it relates to early childhood learners, falls within the general ambit of 'education'. Accordingly the first part of the chapter will use examples of naturalistic research conducted in the early childhood literacy field to address the general question, 'What distinguishes a "naturalistic viewpoint" from other viewpoints in educational research?' The chapter will conclude by addressing the issue, 'Naturalistic research in early childhood literacy: why and when?'