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

1 Framing my own research

Once you have an idea of what it is you want to find out about, and with whom, what happens next? Bearing in mind the principles you have just watched in the video, here are some key issues for you to consider as you start to plan.

First: What is the purpose of my research?

  • What is my research for?
  • Will it add to what is already known?
  • What contributions will be made by the children or young people?
  • What might be the potential costs and benefits to them?

Activity 3

Timing: Allow approximately 15 minutes.

What do you think are the ‘costs’ and ‘benefits’ referred to above? Write your thoughts in the box below, then click on the discussion to see how the comments support your answers.

What are the potential costs to the children or young people?

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Discussion

Time. Your project may have an impact on their time at school, or take them away from time with friends and family.

Intrusion of privacy. Bear in mind that you may be asking questions that can touch very personal issues.

Fear of possible repercussions. A child or young person may feel that their participation in your project could lead to them being judged or criticised.

What are the potential benefits to the children or young people?

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Discussion

Satisfaction. The project may result in a change which affects their lives in a positive way. Children and young people will gain satisfaction from being involved in decision-making, or in achieving an end result.

Learning new skills or development of knowledge. Skills gained from working on a project can be transferrable to their everyday life.

Then: Be ethical. Pay careful attention to the impact your research may have on the children or young people, and their environment. Consider the potential to cause distress or disappointment, if the project is unsuccessful, for example, or the expectations of the children or young people are not met.

This session focuses on the TRREEE principles which you saw outlined in the video. The first E stands for Ethics, but in planning your project you need to approach each of the TRREEE principles from an ethical point of view. You Trust the children and young people and Respect their Right to participate, but consider that they might share a confidence with you which raises safeguarding concerns. Who will you report this to? You recognise them all as Experts in their own lives, so how will you select the children and young people you will work with? Are the findings intended to be representative or typical of a certain group?

If so, have the children in the study been carefully selected? And importantly, can they refuse or withdraw from participating at any stage? And finally, your project has the potential to be a rewarding Experience all round, for all participants, young and adult. So you need to plan how to feedback and disseminate your findings in a way that is appropriate to all.

With this in mind, as well as the responses you gave to Activity 3 on costs and benefits, read through the key questions in the box below and give your own answers in note form in the activity which follows.

Box 1

How will you select the children or young people?

How will you ensure inclusivity?

How will you obtain consent, where necessary?

How will you manage issues of privacy or anonymity?

How will you store confidential data?

Have you considered the possible impact of your research on the children or young people?

How will the children or young people receive feedback from the research?

Activity 4

Timing: Allow approximately 15 minutes.

How will you deal with the following:

1. Selecting the children or young people, being inclusive, getting consent.

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2. Issues of privacy and confidentiality.

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3. Feeding back and disseminating.

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Now for some practical pointers. How will you support the children or young people to do their own research? In the box below, you will see four important preparatory steps:

Box 2

  1. Read around the topic you wish to investigate. Find out who else has done studies on your subject. What have they found? How will this inform your project?
  2. Consult the children or young people about how they would like to participate. What methods, techniques and materials will you offer that are appropriate?
  3. Think about the children or young people who will participate. Will they need any particular training?
  4. Do a small-scale project or ‘taster’ first. Piloting your project will help to make a better study, as it will allow you to refine the project and increase the likelihood of success.

The Our Voices website [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] offers you some useful links to research planning which elaborate on the pointers offered above. The link to the website is also in Session 4, along with other sources of help and support for planning your research.

Here again is Meera, whom you met in Session 2. In this video, she is talking a bit more about the project she carried out in school during her teacher training. Think about the preparatory steps you have just been looking at in Box 2 above, as you watch, and consider how Meera might have tackled them as she prepared her research project. When you have finished watching, try the activity which follows.

Download this video clip.Video player: e809_1vid2img_0762_and0761_front_endboard.mp4
Skip transcript

Transcript

Meera
I have worked with the Open University we've collaborated to work on a piece of research on a bit of software called Talk Factory. And this piece of software is something I trialed in my teaching practice, with the year seven class. So they're aged between 12 and 13 years old. As a part of that class, we were looking at their views as to how well they thought this piece of software was being used in the classroom to help them form their or construct their talk in the classroom.
So the reasons that I've been involved in is with the Open University. It's been a collaboration on a piece of software called Talk Factory, and we were looking at children's views on this piece of software in the classroom. As a part of that research, we had four focal students who were a part of that process and gathering data and presenting their findings. Likewise, all of the students in that room had given consent were a part of that research process too.
Interviewer
That's great. Can you explain to me the focal students?
Meera
OK. So the focal students we had two boys and two girls, these were students who I felt had started the year somewhat shy a bit more less confident in the year. So it was a way for me to try and develop their confidence throughout the year.
End transcript
 
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Activity 5

Timing: Allow approximately 15 minutes.

Which of these statements below is an accurate summary of the research Meera was doing? Select as many as you think are correct.

a. 

Meera was conducting some research in collaboration with a University.


b. 

Meera was researching as an individual.


c. 

Only four students had given consent to participate in her project.


d. 

The purpose of her research was to build students’ confidence.


e. 

The purpose of her research was to seek the students’ opinions on some software.


f. 

The students were able to contribute their ideas on how they would prefer to learn.


The correct answers are a, e and f.

Answer

Answers to Activity 5: accurate statements of the research Meera was doing.

Correct Incorrect
Meera was conducting some research in collaboration with a University. Meera was researching as an individual.
The purpose of her research was to seek the students’ opinions on some software. Only four students had given consent to participate in her project.
The students were able to contribute their ideas on how they would prefer to learn. The purpose of her research was to build students’ confidence.

This project may have been initiated by adults (in other words, it was not ‘child-led’), but apparently the Year 7 (Y7) students gained much from it. How does Meera ensure this? Note down your answers to the question in the box below.

What does Meera say that indicates that she was putting the voices of the students first? How did she listen effectively?

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Discussion

She explains how they talked of a range of ways they would prefer to learn, and that these were ways she had not considered. She ‘opened up a space’ for them to communicate. This indicates that she was attuning to them.

e809_1

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