Children’s participation in research

Introducing her research into the nature of children’s playground games and rhymes in the new media age, Jackie Marsh describes her views on children’s participation in research. It makes for interesting discussion:

“Building on the work of the new sociology of childhood in the last decades of the 20th century (e.g. Alanen, 1988; James and Prout, 1990; Mayall, 2002), there is now wide-spread acknowledgement that children should and can play a significant role in the research process (Alderson, 2008; Christensen and James, 2008; Kellet, 2010; Tidsall et al., 2009) through the use of participatory methodologies. The notion of participation, however, is one fraught with misunderstandings and there can be forms of participation that range from passive to active (Morrow, 2008). Mason and Urquhart (2001) contend that there are three models of children’s participation. In an ‘adultist’ model, children are viewed from within a traditional approach to childhood and they are passive within the research process. The second model is the ‘children’s rights’ model and this positions children as an oppressed minority who can be active in research if adults are reflexive about the process. In the third model, the ‘children’s movements’ model, children are viewed as experts on their own lives and their involvement in the research process has the potential to challenge adults’ views.” (p.510)

However, she notes that “it is important to be cognisant of the danger inherent in such approaches, namely the use of participatory methodologies being used to signal the inherent validity of any outcomes. Researchers need to demonstrate reflexivity in relation to issues of power, agency and voice, no matter how inclusive research designs appear to be in relation to children; and simply because a research study employs participatory methods does not mean it is of better quality than studies which utilize non-participatory approaches (Gallacher and Gallagher, 2008; Holland et al., 2010; Hunleth, 2011)” (p.510)

Ref: Jackie Marsh (2012) Children as knowledge brokers of playground games and rhymes in the new media age  Childhood 19: 508 DOI: 10.1177/0907568212437190

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About backyardbooks

This blog is a kind of electronic storage locker for ideas and quotes that inform my research... literary research into fiction for young adults (with a special focus on New Zealand fiction). Kiwis are producing amazing literature for younger readers, but it isn't getting the academic appreciation it deserves. I hope readers of this blog can make use of the material I gather and share by way of promoting our fiction. Cheers!
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