Child and Youth Participation Research Group

An association of researchers, practitioners and policymakers dedicated to the development and promotion of best practice of child and youth engagement and participation in research. The group organises events, training workshops and publications and aims to bring together people who can collaborate to advance research actively engaging children and young people.

The Child and Youth Participation Research Group is Chaired by Susan Mc Donnell, and supported by the Research Coordinator of the Children's Research Network.

News and Updates

December 2019: Update - Child and Youth Participation Book

Work is well underway on a book on Children’s and Young People’s Participation in Research. The project was spearheaded by previous Chair, Aoife Price. Two rounds of chapter abstracts were completed, and a book proposal is being brought together by editors Dr Deirdre Horgan (UCC) and Dr Danielle Kennan (NUIG). SIG Chair Dr Susan McDonnell and CRN Research Coordinator, Dr Derina Johnson, are also involved in the continuing development of the book.

In recent years Ireland has been at the forefront of promoting rights based participatory approaches when working with children and youth. This edited volume provides the opportunity to showcase the constructive, creative and innovative approaches to child and youth participation across the domains of research, policy and practice. The body of work to date in Ireland has been valuable in asserting its importance and generating learning, nonetheless, participation is a contested concept and key challenges remain which will be interrogated in this book. It is proposed that there will be three sections in this edited book, focused on rights based participatory approaches to policy-making, practice and research.

Policy: This section will document the Irish Government’s commitment to child and youth participation, originating in the National Children’s Strategy 2000 to the present National Strategy on Children and Young People’s Participation in Decision-making (DCYA, 2015) - the first of its kind in Europe. As well as documenting the development of the policy framework in place supporting children and youth participation, this section will examine both Governmental and Non-Governmental participatory structures for consulting with children and youth in Ireland for the purpose of giving them a stronger voice in policy-making.

Practice: This section will present case studies of how practitioners in Ireland have operationalised rights based participation in practice, across a range of contexts including, early years settings, schools, youth work, the courts, the child welfare and protection system and mental health services. The authors are interested in case studies of practices with different cohorts of children, including, marginalised cohorts. It will examine the conceptual frameworks and methods underpinning these approaches and the challenges of participatory practice with children and youth.

Research: Presently participatory approaches to research are gaining prominence across disciplines. Children in Ireland are becoming more actively engaged in the research process, participating in research design, choice of methods and analysis. This section will present case studies documenting efforts to achieve deeper engagement through a variety of approaches with children and youth. However, along with the growth of child and youth participatory research, there is an awareness of its complexity, specifically unaddressed power inequities in the research relationship as well as non-reflexive use of methods and consideration of the time and resources required. Throughout, there will be an emphasis on ethical issues in participatory research with children.

October 2019: Masterclass on Creative Methodologies in Research with children

On 24th and 25th October, the SIG co-funded a Masterclass on Creative Methodologies in Research with Children, convened by the ISS21 Children and Young People Research Cluster at University College Cork.

This masterclass reflected on cross-disciplinary methodological and ethical issues which frame diverse forms of research exploring children and young people’s lives. Keynotes were Prof. Kay Tisdall, Chair of Childhood Policy at the University of Edinburgh, Title - "Thinking critically about creativity? Using creative research methods with children and young people"; and Patricio Cuevas-Parra, Senior Global Policy Adviser for Child Participation and Rights with World Vision International, Title - "Child-Led Research: Questioning Knowledge"

September 2019: New Chair for the Child and Youth Participation Research Group

The wonderful Aoife Price heads off to Brussels in September 2019 to begin a exciting new chapter in her life. We wish her all the very best, and thank her for her energy, enthusiasm and leadership during her time as Chair and member of the Children's Research Network Advisory Committee. We look forward to seeing you back as Dr Price in a few years! We welcome Dr Susan McDonnell as the new Chair of the Group.

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