Researching young researchers in primary schools: responding to children's evaluations of a participatory technique.
In: British Educational Research Association New Researchers/Student Conference, 5 Sep 2007, Institute of Education, University of London.
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Increased emphasis on children's "voices" and their rights to be involved in events and decisions which affect them has seen a move towards children becoming participants and co-researchers in research projects about their lives. This has prompted a further step towards enabling children to become "active" researchers in their own right (Kellett, 2005). The Children's Research Centre (CRC) at the Open University is a pioneering initiative in this field. This paper draws on data from a doctoral study exploring the experiences of groups of English primary school children who have undertaken research training through the CRC programme prior to carrying out research projects of their own choice. Issues emerging include the importance of (i) identifying a reliable method of evaluating what children have to say about their experiences of doing research (ii) offering them an authentic role in evaluating the efficacy of such a method and (iii) recognising the research knowledge and skills they have developed. 10 and 11 year old children's evaluations of a particular participatory technique as a means of representing their views have raised some important points. The value these children place upon the recognition of unique perspectives, the dangers of concealing individual priorities within group data and issues relating to internal validity all have implications for how the data generated with children within the context of this study can be analysed and represented. This is a crucial consideration if the technique is to be used to make comparisons across groups as the study continues (author abstract)
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