Citation: Ní Bhroin, N. & Staksrud, E. (2022). What to consider when engaging children and young people as co-researchers? An annotated bibliography and guided reading list. CO:RE – Children Online: Research and Evidence.
Archer, L., Dewitt, J., Osborne, J., Dillon, J., Willis, B., & Wong, B. (2010). “Doing” Science Versus “Being” a Scientist: Examining 10/11-Year-Old Schoolchildren’s Constructions of Science Through the Lens of Identity. Science Education, 94(4), 617–639.
This article, based on focus-group research conducted as part of a five-year longitudinal study, explores how children’s attitudes towards science and interest in science change and develop with age. It draws on a theoretical framework of identity to investigate how children’s attitudes to science are formed and expressed, and how this shapes their understandings of science and scientists.
Bennett, V, Gill, C, Miller, P, et al. Co-production to understand online help-seeking for young people experiencing emotional abuse and neglect: building capabilities, adapting research methodology and evaluating involvement and impact. Health Expect. 2022; 25: 3143- 3163.
Based on a practical case study involving ten young people as co-researchers the authors of this article reflect on how the ‘meaningful involvement’ of young people as co-researchers can be achieved in qualitative mental health research. It also investigates how the impacts of participation can be evaluated. The case study involved an exploration of on and off-line approaches to research participation which aimed to build relationships, knowledge, skills, and confidence with young people as co-researchers. The authors argue that flexible approaches to co-production with young people can support the balancing of ethical and epistemological impact in mental health research.
Caslin, Marie (2022) We may be listening but are we ready to hear? A reflection of the challenges encountered when seeking to hear the educational experiences of excluded young people within the confines of the English education system. International Journal of Research & Method in Education
This article reflects on the barriers that researchers can encounter when engaging children and young people in research. It is based on a study of the educational journeys of excluded young people in the UK. It focuses on the role that adult researchers can play in silencing the voices of young people. It articulates ethical dilemmas arising from adult researchers’ role as gatekeepers, both in determining the location of the study and whose voices are included in the research.
Coad, J., & Evans, R. (2008). Reflections on practical approaches to involving children and young people in the data analysis process. Children & Society, 22(1), 41–52.
Based on two case studies the authors of this article outline a pragmatic framework to consider how to engage children and young people in data analysis. This includes considerations of power relations (between adults and children), training, support, ethical considerations, and time and resources. The authors argue that involving children in data analysis can have several benefits including enhancing understandings of children’s perspectives and helping to prioritize children’s agendas in policy and practice.
Cowie, B., & Khoo, E. (2017). Accountability through access, authenticity and advocacy when researching with young children. International Journal of Inclusive Education. 21(3), 234 - 247
In this article the authors reflect on challenges they experienced when recruiting children and young people as research participants. They argue that this participation is critical when considering children as social actors and experts in their own lives. They propose an ethical framework with three different aspects to foreground these challenges. The aspects are access, authenticity, and advocacy. The authors argue that consideration of these aspects can pave the way for greater agency for children and young people in research collaborations.
Fløtten, KJØ, Guerreiro, AIF, Simonelli, I, Solevåg, AL, Aujoulat, I. Adolescent and young adult patients as co-researchers: A scoping review. Health Expect. 2021; 24: 1044– 1055.
This article reports on a review of research about how young patients can be involved as co-researchers. While some of publications accessed considered involving children and young people at stages of the research process, few involved children and young people throughout the research. The resource demanding and time-consuming aspects of this practice were also highlighted. At the same time, the review revealed that involving young patients as co-researchers contributes to the achievement of their right to participation and may improve the relevance of research. However, the authors argue that more reflection is needed about what meaningful participation is and what this means for children and young people. Benefits of co-researching for young people include empowerment, skills building and raised self-esteem. While few of the publications considered ethical questions in-depth, none discussed legal considerations.
Hunleth, J. (2011). Beyond on or with: Questioning power dynamics and knowledge production in “child-oriented” research methodology. Childhood-a Global Journal of Child Research, 18(1), 81–93.
Grounded in examples of research based on different methods, such as drawing, child-led tape-recording and focus group discussions, this article discusses the power dynamics and processes of knowledge production involved in social research with children. The author argues that more consideration should be given to what ‘child-oriented’ research is, and that researchers should actively consider children’s own reasons for participating in research. The author maintains that these considerations might offer a more comprehensive view of children’s experiences.
Kellett, M. (2011). Empowering Children and Young People as Researchers: Overcoming Barriers and Building Capacity. Child Indicators Research, 4(2), 205–219.
This article explores the concept of ‘children-as-researchers’ by drawing on the work of the Children’s Research Centre (CRC) at the Open University in the UK. Grounded in an empowerment and rights framework it focuses on illustrating some of the key issues, challenges, and outcomes of child-led research. The impacts of this research in terms of understanding children’s lived experiences and influencing policy and practice are also discussed.
Kellett, M., Forrest (aged ten), R., Dent (aged ten), N., & Ward (aged ten), S. (2004). Just teach us the skills please, we’ll do the rest?: empowering ten-year-olds as active researchers. Children & Society, 18(5), 329–343.
This article describes a study where a group of ten-year-olds participated in a programme that aimed to equip them with the knowledge and skills to design their own research. It debates some of the barriers that are commonly cited regarding children and young people’s participation in research and taking ownership of their own research agendas. These include power relations, competence, knowledge and skills and challenges to the status quo. The programme resulted in children undertaking research projects of their own choosing which were designed, implemented, and reported on from their own perspective.
Lomax, H., Fink, J., Singh, N., & High, C. (2011). The politics of performance: methodological challenges of researching children’s experiences of childhood through the lens of participatory video. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 14(3), 231–243.
This article reports on the use of participatory video methods to explore childhood and children’s experiences in the context of a larger project about a ‘disadvantaged’ neighborhood. The authors focus on the implications of the participatory video methodology for research outcomes. They argue that understanding participatory video as a process can support greater insights into children’s social connectivity, relationships and friendships as well as theoretical development regarding children’s identities and childhoods.
Lomax, H., & Smith, K. (2022). Seeing as an Act of Hearing: Making Visible Children’s Experiences of the COVID-19 Pandemic Through Participatory Animation. Sociological Research Online, 27(3), 559–568.
In this article the authors report on the production of an animated film with children aged 9-11 during the covid-19 pandemic. The aim of the film was to support children in voicing their own experiences of the pandemic in accordance with their own aspirations. The authors also reflect on the process of transforming data made by and with children into an animation that is both representative of children’s diverse experiences and acknowledges their contributions which enable audiences to engage with their perspectives through ‘seeing’. In describing their methodological and ethical practices, the authors highlight the relational and dialogic processes inherent in co-production with children and young people.
Lundy, L., McEvoy, L., & Byrne, B. (2011). Working With Young Children as Co-Researchers: An Approach Informed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Early Education and Development, 22(5), 714–736.
This article is grounded in a premise that examples of children being involved as co-researchers are rare. It reports on a research project which involved a research team working with two groups of children, each composed of four children aged 4 to 5. The research project sought to ascertain children’s views on after-school programmes. Reflecting on the experiences of this project, the authors discuss the contribution the children made to the development of the research questions as well as the choice of methods and their involvement in the interpretation of data and dissemination of findings. The authors argue that while there are limits to what children can and will want to do in adult-led research studies, they can engage in research in a meaningful way if they are properly supported and assisted. The authors submit that this has consequent benefits for research findings and outputs.
All of the resources referenced in our reading lists are also included in our Zotero library.
All annotated reading lists on research ethics
What to consider when engaging children and young people as co-researchers?What to consider when engaging children and young people as co-researchers?
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