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Children and young people's participation and non-participation in research

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Abstract:

Cathy Murray considers the involvement of children and young people in research in the field of adoption and fostering in the UK, based on a review in 2004 of the Quality Protects bibliographic data-base. The database comprises details of 182 research studies conducted since 1991, of which 72 were categorised as relevant to adoption and fostering. Of these, 38 (53 per cent) involved children and young people in the process. Three aspects of participation and non-participation in research are considered. First, researchers' reasons for involving children and young people are outlined. Secondly, the role of gatekeepers is examined. When embarking on the review, it had been anticipated that ethical and methodological concerns would be the key challenges to involving children and young people in research. However, gatekeepers emerged from the research outputs as equally significant. It is argued that while gatekeeping is played out in specific research projects as an apparently individualised response, it reflects the pervasiveness of a protectionist model of children and young people over a citizen-with-rights model. Thirdly, the strategies that researchers employed to increase the likelihood of children and young people's participation are reported.

Keywords: ACCESS; CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE; GATEKEEPERS; NON-PARTICIPATION; PARTICIPATION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2005

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