Existing power imbalances in UK society can discourage children and young people to actively engage in their communities. Instead they learn to please adults with tried and tested responses which they know will not challenge adults when their opinions and views are sought (REF).
Since 2013, the Open University’s Children’s Research Centre has supported many children worldwide to undertake their own research on aspects of their family or school lives, community or social issues. Children and young people have told us this helps them feel more confident and can be fun. Finding out about a topic in-depth can be empowering, giving a sense of responsibility and enhanced self-esteem – and can lead to more active participation in other aspects of their live. A wide range of children and young people should be empowered as researchers, so that a diverse range of voices are heard in our communities.
We believe that involving young people in research and developing their curiosity and critical skills of inquiry to articulate their thoughts on the world could contribute to: