WORKSHOP: “Researching with Children and Young People in Diverse Socio-Spatial Contexts”

A two-day workshop on ‘Research with children and young people in different socio-spatial contexts’ was held at Loughborough University (England) in September 2015. Dirk Bruland, staff member of the projects Teacher MHL and NEPP, participated in this workshop, which provided the opportunity for researchers to exchange on issues related to research with child and youth. The exchange was enriched with many starting points and perspectives by colleagues from divers scientific research fields. The discussion emphasized a sensitive approach, appropriate for the particular research situation, without generalizing into “right-or-wrongs”. As such, the workshop was highly beneficial for the implementation of the own HLCA projects. The program points can be summarized as followed:

The first day included two program points. The first one focused on engaging potential participants in research concerning different research methods (quantitative survey, qualitative survey – in individual and group meetings), among others online surveys: While fifteen years ago a lot of people were interested in new technologies and take part in online-surveys, the amount of requests for online-surveys increased substantially, leaving people less motivated to taking part in them. Next, two speakers offered contrasting perspectives on research in the global north and south (maybe Hemisphere?). The second part of the day include discussing and evaluating the strengths of previous research studies retrieved from working with (online) archives on old research studies and internet websites.

The second day began very playfully, with the first program point introducing different methodological approaches to get in contact with children and help them to articulate their thoughts, exemplary with Lego pieces. The workshop’s program concluded with a session on how to research on young people. Role-plays were used to enable participants to experience research approaches and procedures from different perspectives. In addition, ethical issues, including informed consent and its handling, were discussed, addressing questions as “how do we know, that a child understands enough of the performed research or why the researcher is playing with him or her?”.

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