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Understanding research with children and young people

Free statement of participation on completion
Understanding research with children and young people

Welcome to this free OpenLearn course, Understanding research with children and young people, which is an introduction to research with and by Children and young people.

It is designed primarily for anyone with an interest in research with and by children and young people, including (but not limited to) those currently working in different areas of professional practice, and may also appeal to young people who are interested in designing their own research projects. There is also an OU website entitled ‘Our Voices’ to accompany and complement this course. You will find occasional references to this website as you go along, and in the final Session you are offered links to specific areas on the website that may be helpful as you start planning your project.

The course covers why it is important to include children and young people in research about their lives. It explores what it means to carry out research with children and young people. The course gives an insight into the fundamental rights of children and young people contained in the UNCRC, it provides a framework which can underpin all research with and by children, to help start to formulate research project ideas and consider how to go about carrying them out.


This course is structured in four sessions. Each session is designed to take about four hours of study. It is best to tackle them in order, but you can, of course, go back and look again over aspects that you would like to revisit for any reason. You will probably want to make notes as you go along, so choose your preferred method for this, either writing in a notebook or on your computer or tablet. At the end of Session 4 you will find a quiz that will challenge you to answer questions on the materials you have been studying. 

The Open University would really appreciate a few minutes of your time to tell us about yourself and your expectations for the course before you begin, in our optional start-of-course survey. Once you complete the course we would also value your feedback and suggestions for future improvement, in our optional end-of-course survey. Participation will be completely confidential and we will not pass on your details to others.

Enjoy your course!

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • Understand the value of including children and young people in research about children's lives by acknowledging their experience and expertise
  • Have an insight into the challenges and opportunities involved in research with and by children and young people and the benefit of taking a principle-based approach
  • Understand how the principles of trust and respect are the starting points for developing a sound and feasible research study with and by children and young people
  • Understand the value of taking a children's rights-based approach alongside ethically sound principles when undertaking research with and by children and young people.

First Published: 07/12/2020

Updated: 07/12/2020

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