Even from young ages, children can provide rich and accurate information about their lives. They can also help to tell us which questions we should be asking them. But there are specific issues to consider when carrying out research with children in order to obtain the most accurate and meaningful information about their lives, attitudes and perspectives.
This guide outlines these issues, which include question comprehension, recall of events over different time periods, compliance or willingness to provide the expected answer, salience of the information sought, and peer influences. It maps how they evolve with the age of the child and the implications for the design of research instruments. It also reflects on specific issues that may arise when researching children’s lives in the global South and in relation to digital technologies. The Guide emphasises the need for thorough formative research and pre-testing, in the context of an ethical approach that treats children as active research participants. It provides some examples of good practice in researching children, as well as specific guidance and a short summary checklist.
The guide also includes: a checklist of key points to consider when undertaking research with children, and in particular survey work; and a list of key resources.
All resources developed by Global Kids Online, including this report, are available under a Creative Commons licence (CC BY-NC) and can be used only for non-commercial purposes and with attribution.
The preferred citation for this report is:
Platt, Lucinda (2016) Conducting qualitative and quantitative research with children of different ages. London: Global Kids Online. Available from: www.globalkidsonline.net/young-children