Research involving children and young people can give us insight into young people’s understanding of the world. It is WHY involving young people in research is a good idea.
Adults are often surprised to find how much insight children and young people have, and that even very young children can contribute meaningfully to research.
Research with young people is typically led by adults. Children or young people’s views and opinions are sought and valued, but adults define the questions posed and the terms of participation before the research takes place. In well-designed research, insights of children from as young as 2 years can be sought.
What is important is that adults and young people recognise their capability and potential to contribute to research whatever their role
• Are usually trained in research methods by adults.
• Set own research agendas (within parameters of adult guidance, depending on age/experience of children);
• Use own research processes to conduct own research studies;
• Report on own research findings.
Adults as facilitators for child-researchers.
Potential strengths of the approach
Children determine what is important to research, which could be different from adults’ views
Children carry out the research in ways that are meaningful for them
Full engagement in the research
Adapted from Payler’s (2016) Continuum of children’s engagement with research, cited in Lees, et. al. (2017) “Positioning Children’s Voice in Clinical Trials Research: A New Model for Planning, Collaboration and Reflection”, Qualitative Health Research 2017, Vol 27(14).