Developing Children as Researchers: A Practical Guide to Help Children Conduct Social Research, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Developing Children as Researchers

A Practical Guide to Help Children Conduct Social Research, 1st Edition

By Chae-Young Kim, Kieron Sheehy, Lucinda Kerawalla


140 pages | 46 B/W Illus.

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Encouraging young children to create and carry out their own social research projects can have significant social and educational benefits. In addition, their research may help them to influence local and national policies and practices on issues that matter to them. To support this, Developing Children as Researchers acts as a practical guide to give teachers – and other adults who work with children – a set of structured, easy-to-follow session plans that will help children to become researchers in their own right.

Comprising of ten session plans that have already been tried and tested in schools, this guide will assist you in supporting child researchers while helping you to develop the techniques for teaching research skills effectively. The session plans also ensure that children’s views are heard and reflected by encouraging their active curiosity and investigation of issues that they may be concerned about. Forming a step-by-step guide, the ten sessions cover themes such as:

  • starting the research process and identifying a research topic;
  • the three key principles of research: be sceptical, systematic and ethical;
  • choosing research participants and drawing up a research plan;
  • the range of data collection and analysis methods;
  • reporting the results of, and reflecting upon, a research project.

Children’s research has often depended upon the support of academic researchers to provide resources and training. By making the research training and facilitation process more widely accessible, this guide will help remove the psychological and practical hurdles that teachers and others who regularly work with children might feel about helping children’s research themselves.

Table of Contents


Suggestions for using the session plans: Inclusive and exploratory practice

Session 1 What is social research?

Session 2 Starting the research process: Identifying a research topic

Session 3 Three key principles: be sceptical, be systematic and be ethical

Session 4 Data collection method one: Questionnaires

Session 5 Data collection method two: Interviews

Session 6 Further data collection methods: Observations and using visual materials

Session 7 Choosing research participants and drawing up a research plan

Session 8 Analysing data by counting up

Session 9 Analysing data by noticing meanings

Session 10 Reporting and reflecting on social research

Suggested Reading


About the Authors

Chae-Young Kim is an associate researcher at the Children’s Research Centre, the Open University, UK. She has previously worked for UNICEF in South Korea.

Kieron Sheehy researches inclusive education and innovation pedagogies. He is an active member of the Open University’s Children’s Research Centre.

Lucinda Kerawalla is a former director of the Open University's Children’s Research Centre. She also researches the technological support of classroom dialogues and mobile learning.

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