The Children’s Research Centre draws upon a range of disciplinary perspectives and theoretical approaches to evaluate whether and how children and young people can benefit from designing, implementing and sharing findings from their own research into areas that interest them.
For real-life examples of what we do, please see the short videos below which feature young researchers:
Our central concern is to critically evaluate whether giving young people an opportunity to be researchers in their own right can foster their participation in society. We adopt a broad perspective on what ‘participation’ means in practice, which includes young researchers’ participation in:
- the knowledge community (by contributing to knowledge production and sharing research);
- the world of science (e.g. by learning its culture and by experiencing what it is like to be a scientist by doing research);
- the local community (e.g. by being a critical thinker, debating, interviewing, questioning, advocating);
- helping to bring about evidence-based change in practice/policy;
- the development of child-centred research methods.
In addition, the Children’s Research Centre examines the different ways in which children and young people engage in research practice and the impact of independent enquiry upon learning. Our broad, multi-disciplinary approach allows us to consider different types of learning, including;
- Curriculum focused learning through field work enquiry (e.g. learning about the relationship between physical and human geography by designing and carrying-out research);
- Skills based learning (e.g. using research dissemination skills, such as poster and conference presentations to share research findings);
- Self reflective learning (e.g. gaining confidence and self awareness through research engagement).
We support young researchers to participate and to learn by developing their understanding of three key elements of research process (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Key elements of research process
CRC academics represent a range of disciplines including Psychology, Childhood Studies, Education and Technology-Enhanced Learning (please see the ‘Staff Team’ tab above). Our pedagogic approaches to developing young researchers’ understanding of research process and skills are varied and reflect our own epistemologies. To date we have adopted teacher-led, dialogic and blended learning approaches. Also, our evaluation studies reflect our broad disciplinary perspectives. These have focused on exploring and investigating areas such as young researchers’ empowerment, agency, self-efficacy, feelings, learning, and the role of adults in supporting the research process. For details of current projects and publications please see the tabs above.