Rights, 'right on' or the right thing to do? A critical exploration of young people's engagement in participative social work research

Holland, Sally and Renold, Emma and Ross, Nicola and Hillman, Alex (2008) Rights, 'right on' or the right thing to do? A critical exploration of young people's engagement in participative social work research. Other. ESRC National Centre for Research Methods. (Unpublished)



This paper provides a detailed analysis of the participative processes of a research project with young people that was overtly ‘participative’ in its aim. In doing so it attempts to contribute to debates about participative research. In this paper we join with others in critiquing the notion that research which aims to be participative is necessarily more enabling for participants, is ethically or morally superior to other types of research or produces ‘better’ research. Nonetheless, we argue that participatory research can make a central contribution, in providing an ethical, epistemological and political framework and in the potential for rich ‘findings’. We understand participative research with children and young people to mean that which involves participants in some of the process of research, such as question-setting, research design, ethical review, data generation, analysis or dissemination rather than simply providing data through more or less engaging methods. We understand participation as not being something just about children or about children in opposition to adults, but as part of a complex inter-subjective relationship between adults and children (where both adults and children are being encouraged to step outside normative generational roles). An analysis of participation can potentially examine microexchanges between adults and children, between children, and between adults, as well as a broader picture. In what follows we argue that, whilst the discipline of childhood studies has engaged critically with the notion of children’s participation in society, there has been less critical discussion, and perhaps indeed some complacency, about the claims made for participatory research with children.

Item Type:Working Paper (Other)
Uncontrolled Keywords:NCRM Publications
Subjects:8. Research Management and Impact > 8.5 Evidence-Based Policy and Practice
8. Research Management and Impact > 8.6 Management of User Involvement
8. Research Management and Impact > 8.9 Research Management and Impact (other)
ID Code:460
Deposited By: NCRM users
Deposited On:05 Dec 2008 18:22
Last Modified:12 Oct 2010 17:39

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