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Issues in research with children and young people

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Are you interested in how research can contribute to our understandings of children and young people and learning more about their worlds? This module examines the research process through studies with young children, children and young people carried out in the fields of education, health and social care. It explores topics central to the research process such as ethics, diversity, power and the responsibilities of researchers. This is a project-based module with no exam and it will help you to develop your own research and analytical skills using audio, video and online materials. 

What you will study

What do children and young people understand about their worlds? How can research increase our understandings of the lives of children and young people in different contexts?  Are you concerned with the ethics of research, with participation and power issues, and the responsibilities of researchers? Are you interested in where research with children and young people has had an impact?

You’ll consider these, and other questions, in this module which focuses on research with participants aged from birth to early adulthood in the fields of education, social science, health and social care. It will prepare you for carrying out research with children and young people. This is achieved by introducing you to a range of research methods and approaches; alerting you to a number of important issues arising in research with children and young people; and providing you with the opportunity to reflect on specific research skills and their impact.

The module is divided into four blocks. 

In Block one – Issues in research with children and young people – you’ll investigate some of the issues faced by researchers conducting research with children and young people today. 

Block two – Research methods – looks at some of the approaches to research and you’ll explore a range of issues raised by using these approaches. 

Block three – The reality of research – provides some real life examples of research carried out by researchers. You’ll go behind their research stories, finding out what some of the difficulties and issues are. 

Block four – Engagement, dissemination and impact – re-examines the context in which research takes place and the impact of research with children and young people on policy and practice, and the academic impact as well as the direct and indirect influence on the lives of children and young people today.

The teaching is based around one module reader, together with associated audio, video and online materials.

The audio and video materials support the print materials in a number of ways. For example, they illustrate: different approaches to research with children and young people and the issues that arise; the processes of identifying research questions; collecting and analysing data; and the use of research by professionals. The online materials include a Study Guide and links to our online research articles collection.

Entry requirements

There are no formal academic or experiential requirements to study this module.

If you're not sure you're ready, talk to an adviser.

What's included

You'll have access to a module website, which includes:

  • a week-by-week study planner
  • course-specific module materials, including study guide and project guide
  • a collection of research articles
  • audio and video content
  • assignment details and submission section
  • online tutorial access
  • links to forums for you to interact with your tutor and fellow students.

You’ll also be provided with a printed reader.

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11), or macOS (11 'Big Sur' or higher).

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You’ll have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. The module also involves voluntary participation in an online forum and you will be encouraged to take part.

You can also access a programme of online tutorial sessions. These tutorials will be led by your tutor and/or by another tutor in your teaching cluster.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

The end-of-module assessment (EMA) is a project report that takes the place of an examination. The project report focuses on the design of research with children and/or young people but does not involve carrying out the proposed research. It consists of three parts – a short introduction based on a summary of literature linking back to a previous TMA, the design of a research study and a critical evaluation.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying EK313 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Future availability

Issues in research with children and young people starts once a year – in October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2023, the last time we expect it to start.

Course work includes:

4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

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