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

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Understanding research with children and young people

3 Am I prepared to change?

Looking at things differently and being able to adopt different viewpoints are essential skills for anyone wishing to carry out research. You need to have an open mind when you set out on your enquiry, so that you are receptive to the ideas and opinions of the children, young people or adults you are working with. You may already have started to think about your own situation differently, as you worked through the activities in this course. You will probably find that you continue to adapt your point of view as you carry out the research itself. This can be a very positive experience.

Activity 3

Timing: Allow approximately 15 minutes.

Meera gives us a good example of this change of perception. How has her perspective of her role changed, or developed? Watch the short video clip, then try the activity which follows.

Download this video clip.Video player: e809_1vid3img_0763_1_wk4_act3.mp4
Skip transcript


I think it’s really interesting when you do take on that role, and I think it is necessary. I think it’s really nice as a teacher to be able to step back and have a view of your practice in a different light. I think it’s very easy as a teacher to consistently be planning and marking and go through the routines of being a teacher, but actually to be able to step back, to be reflective, to be reflexive, to understand that actually what you’re doing is having an impact. Because of course we know it’s having an impact every day. However, to see in a different light from a student’s perspective, I think it’s really lovely. I think it’s really enlightening.
End transcript
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Using the following two lists, match each numbered item with the correct letter.

  1. in a different light.

  2. from the routine tasks of her job.

  3. about the impact she is having.

  4. is really enlightening.

  • a.She can think more deeply

  • b.She is able to step back

  • c.Seeing things from the students’ perspective

  • d.She views her practice

The correct answers are:
  • 1 = d
  • 2 = b
  • 3 = a
  • 4 = c

In this video, you heard Meera using two key terms; she said it was important to be ‘reflective’ and ‘reflexive.’ What do these terms mean?

You might already have a clear picture of what it is to ‘reflect’ on something. This means that you look back at what you have been doing and think about it; how well did it go? The ability to reflect is vital when you are conducting a research project, so that you can evaluate how effective you are being, and learn as you progress.

Being reflexive means that you relate your reflection to what you are doing as a researcher, and evaluate how successful it has been. Would you change anything next time? Could you have done anything differently? It means continuously adopting a critical approach to your research. What is your own impact on your research? This, too, is a vital part of researching and it is an approach that can be adopted by adults and the children or young people with whom they are working.

Whether you will be working in a school environment or not, take a few moments now to consider how your own role may change or develop as you carry out your research.

Activity 4

Timing: Allow approximately 15 minutes.

How might my role change as I listen to, and adopt, the views of children and young people?

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371