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

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Understanding research with children and young people

Session 1: Why do it?


The first Session will look at this essential element, why it is important to include children and young people in research about their lives. This underpins this course and the OU Our Voices project overall.

By the end of this session, you should be able to:

  • give some reasons why it is important for children and young people to be involved in research that affects their own lives
  • summarise key Articles of the UNCRC which relate specifically to children and young people’s rights with regard to research that affects their lives
  • identify some challenges that may be encountered when researching with children and young people.

First of all, have a look at this short introductory video.

Activity 1

Timing: Allow approximately 15 minutes.

As you watch Video 1, consider what key points are presented in the video. What is the value of engaging with children and young people in research about their lives? Make notes as you watch, then click on the ‘key points’ below to compare your answers.

Download this video clip.Video player: Video 1
Skip transcript: Video 1

Transcript: Video 1

Researching what goes on in the world focuses on adults, but what about involving children and young people? Especially when it comes to finding out about children and young people's lives, basic research questions are designed and often even answered by adults, yet children and young people have a right to be heard. A United Nations convention has conferred upon children the right to express their views freely in all matters affecting them and to have their best interests as a primary consideration.
Adults are often surprised to discover that children and young people articulate valuable insights into their lives, and often see things that adults haven't noticed. At the Open University, we believe that children and young people are the experts in their own lives, and that adults need to work in partnership with them to create better research so that it can lead to good decisions. The Our Voices website is for everyone interested in research from children and young people themselves to teachers, health care professionals, academic researchers, and policymakers who are looking for why and how to do better research into our world working in partnership with children and young people.
End transcript: Video 1
Video 1
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).


Key points:

  • Research questions are frequently aimed at, and answered by, adults.
  • Children and young people have the right to express themselves.
  • Children and young people are often more articulate than adults think they are going to be.
  • They see things adults do not, they are experts in their own lives.
  • Adults should be partners with the children and young people; this will lead to better research.

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 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] . Participation will be completely confidential and we will not pass on your details to others.


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