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Understanding research with children and young people
Understanding research with children and young people

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2 Getting started on my own research

You have now learned about the principles that should underpin good research with and by children, and thought about how to plan a project you would like to undertake. Now you are going to focus on how to get started.

When you want to embark on a research project, it is important, first, to carry out a literature review: this means reading around to find out whether any projects similar to yours have already been carried out, and what they revealed. Did they investigate exactly what you plan to investigate? Are there any ‘gaps’ that your project will address, or perhaps you think you could do it better? Reading around also means looking at existing theories in your area. These theories are often referred to in research projects, so it is important for you to be aware of them and to become familiar with them, but you must also be critical and ready to identify the possible faults as well as the merits in these theories. The box below sums up the steps you take when conducting a literature review:

Box 3: Literature Review: 5 steps

  1. Choose the topic you want to investigate.
  2. Talk to colleagues about it.
  3. Read 5 articles related to your topic.
  4. Make notes and comments on the articles.
  5. Ask yourself: Is my topic still relevant? Do I still wish to pursue it?
A photograph of a young person studying at a table looking at a laptop and making notes in a notebook.

Do you know where you might start to look for relevant material, in order to do your Literature Review? The Our Voices website [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] has links to useful resources, or one of the links below could be relevant for you:

Carrying out a literature review is a necessary task for anyone embarking on research, but it is also a fascinating and rewarding experience. You have access to so much material on the Internet, and you can also subscribe to relevant journals, publications and libraries. It is an essential way of establishing what findings are already in existence, and of justifying your reasons for carrying out your project.