Windows on links between education and poverty: what we can learn from 11-year-olds researching children’s literacy?1 Mary Kellett* and Aqsa Dar Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association Annual Conference, University of

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Windows on links between education and poverty: what we can learn from 11-year-olds researching children’s literacy?1

Mary Kellett* and Aqsa Dar

Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association Annual Conference, University of Warwick, 6-9 September 2006

*Address for correspondence: Briggs Building, The Open University, Milton Keynes. MK7 6AA.



Two groups of children from two socio-economically diverse locations – one perceived to be affluent and one perceived to be deprived – were trained in research process and then supported to design and undertake their own research projects about aspects of literacy that interested them. Rather than risk any stigmatisation through ‘poverty self-labelling’, the children’s studies were analysed by adult researchers at a macro level for indications of links between literacy opportunities and poverty. This was additional to the micro level in which children analysed their own studies in their own discrete environments for what literacy themes they could see in their data. Two of the main themes where poverty was found to impact on literacy opportunities were confidence and homework facilitation. These are discussed in this paper along with the implications for policy and practice.


The impact of poverty on education is the topic of much debate at policy and practice levels. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation recently launched a major scoping initiative to explore this theme and the research reported here is a contribution to that programme. As such, it explores one discrete area – what we can learn about education and poverty from children themselves when we empower them as active researchers. Readers are directed to other research studies within the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Education and Poverty Programme where wider issues are examined.

The literacy strategy was introduced into primary schools in 1998 amid a sea of controversy. Responses have been mixed. Some teachers have welcomed the increased focus on phonics and structured reading techniques others have lamented that this has been at the expense of one-to-one reading time and quality reading experiences such as ‘story time’. Most of the research on children’s literacy has focused on effective teaching and learning within the classroom setting and on measuring reading ‘standards’. Little research has explored the impact of socio-economic environmental factors on literacy opportunities. Moreover, a vital piece of research evidence is missing from the body of knowledge on literacy and that is children’s own perspectives, accessed by children themselves. Children being empowered to research literacy issues from their own, ‘insider’ perspective and generate new knowledge about their lived experiences of literacy, can enlighten our understanding of circumstances in which poverty is an inhibiting factor.

The socio-economic dimension is important. Children from poorer families do not have the same access to books in their home environment as children from affluent families and many may not have willing adults who will either read with them (some adults may themselves have poor literacy skills or English may not be their first language) or take them to libraries. Overcrowded living conditions also limit quality reading opportunities. More understanding about the impact of poverty on literacy opportunities in the home can inform policy and practice in the classroom, particularly with regard to strategies to compensate for identified disadvantages. Other research where the effect of poverty has been shown to have a detrimental effect on learning – for example poor nutrition – has had positive impacts on policy and practice, such as the creation of breakfast clubs and improved school lunch initiatives.


In the current climate of participation and consultation (Green Paper Every Child Matters, 2003; Children’s Act 2004), children’s views are frequently sought (Hart, 1997; Kirby and Bryson, 2002; Sinclair, 2004). However, there is much criticism (Alderson 2000; Kellett et al. 2004) of the tokenistic nature of this and its adult orientation. Sometimes children are involved as participants, even co-researchers, but this is commonly at a data collection level only and it is adults who formulate the research questions, design the methodologies, analyse the data and disseminate the findings. Adult filters are at work at every stage of the research process and power relations predominate. One way to minimise adult filters and maximise child voice is to hand over the research reins to children themselves, empower them as active researchers in their own right so that they lead the research from conception to completion with adult support rather than adult management. Until recently scepticism about children’s ability to engage with empirical research was centred on age and competence barriers. This has been supplanted by an acknowledgement that social experience is a more reliable marker of maturity and competence. Children’s competence is ‘different’ from adults’ not ‘lesser’ (Waksler, 1991; Solberg, 1996). The claim that children do not have sufficient knowledge and understanding to investigate subjects in any depth does not stand up to close scrutiny (Kellett, 2005). To dismiss the research efforts of children as simplistic and conclude that adults could research the topics more effectively misses several important points:

  • Children succeed in getting responses from within their peer group in ways that would not be possible for adult researchers because of power and generational issues.

  • Their work generates a body of knowledge about children’s experiences from genuine child perspectives.

  • The dissemination of research carried out by them and, crucially, owned by them, is an important vehicle for child voice.

  • The experience of participating as active researchers is an empowering process which leads to a virtuous circle of increased confidence and raised self esteem resulting in more active participation by children in other aspects affecting their lives.

One of the limiting factors is that children do not have the empirical research skills to undertake their own investigations. However, barriers to empowering children as active researchers are not centred on their lack of adult status but their lack of research skills. This barrier is being systematically de-constructed by a recent initiative, the Children’s Research Centre (CRC) at the Open University (Kellett, 2003, 2004, 2005), which has pioneered a research skills training programme for children and exists to empower and support them as active researchers in their own right (see

Ethical and methodological and considerations

An ethical dilemma dominated our thinking from the outset. How could we avoid children identifying themselves as ‘poor’ if we were to explore links between literacy opportunities and poverty since this would inevitably involve comparative data? Numerous research studies (e.g. see Hastings and Dean, 2000) attest to the harm and distress that can be caused when children realize they are being stigmatized as ‘poor’. Even the potential for this to happen would be ethically unacceptable. We needed to find a different approach. We judged that if two discrete projects were run in different areas instead of one comparative project, the children would not be aware they had been identified for any poverty or affluence indicator and could enjoy engaging in their own self-determined research around children’s perspectives of literacy at a micro level. The data they would collect in their different socio-economic environments would be richly insightful and links between poverty and literacy opportunities could be extracted at a macro level by adult researchers (with the child researchers’ informed consent) thus avoiding the children in any comparative activity which might lead to self-labelling and stigmatisation. In other words, the project would have two phases: a micro phase in which the children engage in their own child-led research about literacy and a macro phase in which adults analyse the children’s research studies for emerging thematic links. The macro phase forms the focus of this paper although brief summaries of the micro stage are included.

School profiles

The two schools were distinct in terms of their social and economic background and were purposively chosen to reflect perceived affluence and poverty.

Riverside Primary is in the centre of a university-dominated town where a large percentage of the parents of pupils are academics. The SATs results for the school are above average, and the free school meal rate is the national average, at 10%. The headteacher views the parents as predominantly middle class, although this picture of affluence may be smudged by the poverty experienced by some single parent families. A striking feature of the school is parental involvement in school-based issues, as well as the social contacts that parents have formed with each other.
Valley Town Primary is located in a deprived area near the centre of a large town. The free school meal rate is 72%, although no hot dinners are available in the school because there is no kitchen. SATs results for 2006 for KS2 were judged to be too low by Ofsted and the school was put on special measures. The intake of children has recently changed as a result of a large Somali refugee community moving onto the estate. This has increased racial tensions within the community and is something that is felt by the school.

The children’s research projects

After a period of research training facilitated by university staff and a brainstorming session on what literacy means to them, the children chose their own research topics. They developed questions around their interests and what they deemed to be important from their child perspectives. A lot of attention was paid to ethical considerations and to practical aspects of their data collection. Below is a summary of their project topics and main findings. These findings were then analysed at a macro level by adult researchers to draw out any links to poverty that the research might be indicating. Children were not involved in this stage of the project because of the risk of poverty stigmatization through self-identification with the comparative elements of the process. The children’s reports appear in summary here but can be read in full via the Joseph Rowntree Fund website or the Children’s Research Centre website

The children at Riverside Primary chose to work in two groups of three.

Report 1

How confidence affects literacy at our school

The children designed and distributed a questionnaire to 80 children in years 4, 5 and 6 (aged 9, 10 and 11). They asked the following questions to try to gauge the levels of confidence children felt in their literacy skills.

How good do you think you are at reading?

How good do you think you are at writing?

How often do you read aloud in class?

How do you feel when talking in front of the whole class?

How often do you put your hand up if a teacher asks a question about a book?

If you do not like putting your hand up sometimes, why is that?

Do you prefer to work alone or in a small group?

When you work in a small group, how do you feel?

Do you think you would enjoy reading to a child younger than you?

How do you feel when you work alone?

Are you ever tempted to copy because you’re not sure of your own answer?

How often do you take pride in your Literacy work?

Their discussion of the results provided insights into the reasons for the high levels of confidence children felt in their reading, writing and speaking at this school. This research showed that 100% of the girls and 88% of the boys rated their reading ability highly. Reading was taken to mean quiet reading and children viewed this as a sign of an inner or private confidence. Confidence in oracy skills was strong, with 80% of children ‘not minding explaining their thoughts in class’. Children noticed that those aspects of reading and writing that were ‘public’, posed greater challenges for one’s confidence. Reading out aloud was one of those challenges. The children’s research showed that 74% of children offered to read out aloud in class ‘sometimes, occasionally or never’. 50% said occasionally or never. The research also discussed the reasons why children would not be as confident in their writing. They talked about a sub-culture in which children spoke less favourably about their writing. As a consequence, the child researchers proposed setting up a reading club in their school, where older children could read to younger children, as a way of increasing confidence in reading aloud.

Report 2

Children’s attitudes to Literacy homework in our school
The child researchers designed their own questionnaire to explore peers’ views on homework and included one unstructured question about how homework could be improved. 91 questionnaires were returned. The children also carried out in-depth interviews with eight of their peers and one focus group interview. Most children expressed strong dislike towards doing homework. Dislike for Literacy homework was interpreted as being due to the amount of writing involved and they spoke of a culture that was averse to writing similar to that identified in the previous project. 56% of children liked quiet reading homework. This was higher than spelling or writing homework.
Despite their dislike for various aspects of literacy homework, the majority of children at this school agreed that homework helps children to learn and that they needed to do literacy homework to help them get better at literacy. Children carry around this tension of not liking homework but yet valuing it too. 87 of the 91 children reported that they could get help with literacy homework. Also, 57 out of the 91 children in the study agreed that the amount of homework that children got was the right level for their age and ability. The focus group interview provided insights into the ways that home cultures impacted on homework including ways that parents can create favourable conditions for homework. Children offered views on ideal homework conditions which might inspire them.

Report 3

What do children think and feel about TV and Literacy?

The idea of this research came about as a result of the child researcher reflecting on her own family experiences. She wanted to gain insights into how TV impacts on literacy. She gave out a questionnaire to 25 children and conducted in-depth interviews with eight children.

For the purpose of this research, watching TV equates with watching terrestrial and SKY TV programmes, watching DVDs and playing on Play Stations.
She was able to provide insights into what children thought about reading and watching TV – namely their appeal, the amount of time they spent on those activities at home, the impact that watching TV late at night might have on how they feel the next day at school and the extent to which children felt TV was a distraction.
Her findings were that 76% of children enjoyed watching TV a lot. 10% of children thought reading books was pointless, whereas 0% though watching TV was pointless. 44% of children would prefer to watch TV rather than use their literacy skills. A quarter of children watch TV for more than four hours per day and 15% of children said that they never read a book at home either by themselves or with another person.

Report 4

Do you have any difficulties with your homework?
This research was based on 24 questionnaires and eleven in-depth interviews. The child researcher reported that a large percentage of children found homework easy. Art and Maths homework were the top two favourite subjects for homework and 45 % of children asked their mum for help and 17% asked nobody. Some children brought homework back to school and got help from a teacher. Children attended a homework club to get help from teachers. 42% of children got five minutes of help at home. 42% of children got help with Maths homework at home. Children reported that Literacy homework took longer to do than Maths and this meant that more help was needed on it and that might be why they did not get the same help from their mums.

Report 5

What environments do children like doing their homework in?

This research wanted to find out why children attended a homework club, whether they liked doing their homework there, whether they liked doing their homework in a quiet environment, whether they had distractions whilst they did their homework such as smoking, banging, swearing, loud music and TV (children’s own categories) and finally where children liked doing their homework. The project aimed to get a broad view of this collected data from children in year 3 and year 6 (aged 8 and 11).
This research was able to report on the very high percentage of children who attended a homework club because help was available from teachers. Also, TV was found to be a distraction for 44% of children. Two in-depth interviews with four children followed up the reasons why children might have given those answers.

Report 6

Children and spelling
This research project wanted to find out what made 60 children like spelling.
Do you like spelling?

Do you find spellings easy?

Are you proud when you get your spellings right?

Do you think you are a good speller?

Did your parents help you with spellings when you were little?

Do your siblings help you with spellings?

Do you like it when your teacher helps you with spellings?

Do you use spell check?

Do you get frustrated with spellings?
In the seven in-depth interviews, the researcher discussed different ways of learning spelling and reported on which methods children liked using.

  • Repeatedly copying out a word.

  • Saying the word out aloud, just as it is spelt.

  • Using mnemonics.

  • Using computer spelling games.

  • Using songs.

Report 7

Children’s views towards e-mailing.

The findings from this child researcher’s project showed that 91% of children had a computer at home, but that this could also mean having a play station rather than a PC. Also, that there was a bit of pressure to say that you had a computer at home, even if you did not.

Children mainly sent e-mails to communicate with other people they know, such as family and friends. 64% of children liked sending e-mails. 42% of children said you should be allowed to send e-mails from school, because you might not have email at home. This answer made the researcher doubt whether the 91% who claimed to have computers had email facility and many of them may just have been play stations.

Report 8

Does Technology affect literacy?
This research project wanted to find out if technology could improve children’s writing – particularly spelling, handwriting and grammar. The child researcher reported the following:
Most children thought that:

  • Spell check helped them with spellings.

  • They learned spellings from parents, teachers and books.

  • Children in year 4 (age 9) do not use spelling games to help them with their spelling.

  • Slightly more children prefer to ask parents to help them with spellings, rather than use the computer.

  • Sending e-mails can help with literacy because most children do not use slang/abbreviated words when sending e-mails.

  • Most children do not use slang words in their writing.

  • Most children prefer to use a pen/pencil to write, rather than type on the computer. This is because when you hand-write your work, you feel that the work is your own.

The impact of poverty on homework facilitation

Children in both schools were given completely free choice on the literacy topic they would like to research. So it is interestingly that half the children from both schools chose to centre their research around the theme of literacy homework. Their projects raised awareness of children’s views about the content of literacy homework, the importance of opportunities available to get skilled adult help with homework through homework clubs and ideal environments to do their homework in.

Homework clubs afford children important pedagogical opportunities because the resource of the skilled adult and material resources usually found at school, such as cubes and coloured pens, were available. In Riverside Primary, only 4.4% of children reported not always being able to get help when doing their homework at home, (Report 4) whereas at Valley Primary, 17% reported that they never got any help with homework from parents (Report 2).
I’m in the kitchen and it’s very tempting to ask for help from all the people that are around me. So, I do get quite a lot of help. I tend to go to adults, rather than use books, but I have books around the house that I can use if I want to, like dictionaries and I can go on to Wikopeadia’. (Riverside Year 6 girl)
It became a policy at Valley school for teachers to encourage whole classes to attend homework clubs in order to get help, perhaps to compensate for this lack of support at home (Report 4,). There was evidence of greater reliance on help from a teacher in data which showed that some children would bring homework back into school to ask a teacher and then take it back home to complete because the right assistance was not available from a parent (Report 4).

We can see the impact of affluence and poverty in children’s reflections on the kind of environments they liked to do their homework in. Children’s questions about this were located in their own realities. Hence, questions about children experiencing distractions such as ‘smoking, banging, swearing, loud music, TV’ whilst doing their homework, were raised by child researchers from Valley school (Report 5) but not from Riverside. This point was further emphasized by Valley children connecting their introduction to interviewing as a research tool to personal experience of being interviewed by the Police about vandalism on their estate. In contrast, children from Riverside Primary explored the ideal homework environment one of which included having/being surrounded by ‘inspiring views’ (Report 2). One child in a focus group interview (Report 2) stated that she would like it if adults helped her less, so that her homework became less of a family endeavour. Perhaps this might explain why 38 out of 91 children at Riverside did not like discussing their homework with their family because parents were too zealous in monitoring it.

Parents did not always directly help children with homework at Riverside, but facilitated it by making sure that their child was settled to work in a quiet environment, providing a desk to work at, taking away distractions (such as noise from a younger brother) and by checking the completed homework (Report 2). This facilitation and availability for helping a child reinforces the parents’ role as the central educators of the child. In the following conversation, for example, a Year 3 child from Valley Primary shows how there is not the same level of monitoring taking place in her home (Report 4).
Year 3 girl: I never do my literacy (homework)
Child Interviewer: Why is that?
Year 3 girl: I don’t know. I end up forgetting about it.
Child Interviewer: And then what happens when you come to school?
Year 3 girl: I have to do it at school.
Child Interviewer: Does your mum sometimes remind you - saying don’t forget to do your literacy homework?
Year 3 girl: No because she thinks that I’ve done them both because I said I would but then I fell asleep.

Also, when children got help at Valley Primary, for 42% it was five minutes of help, from mothers (Report 4). Since the same percentage reported getting help with Maths homework, the child researcher wondered if all the help children got was just five minutes of Maths homework. This led her to explore the kind of help that might be needed when doing literacy homework. Children reported that literacy homework took longer than Maths homework, because it would take at least twenty-five minutes and it would require more help (Reports 2 and 4).A Year 6 boy at Riverside explained why literacy homework might require a lot of time from parents, even if he was only getting help with one question.

If it’s a reading homework then I’ll {have to} read out the story to them {first} so they are able to help’. (Report 2)
Watching TV was a central theme that emerged in relation to homework. 44% of the children at Valley Primary viewed TV as a distraction when doing their homework (Reports 3 and report 5). This challenges the popular notion that doing homework whilst the TV is on helps children to concentrate.
Findings from Report 3 stated that 15% of children at Valley Primary never read a book at home by themselves or with another person. Almost a quarter of children watch TV for more than four hours a day. Whilst the amount of time children spent on the TV tells us little about the quality of the watching, i.e. whether it is passive viewing or active, the in-depth interviews did hint at large groups of Valley children watching daily programmes that came on after the watershed, particularly ‘Big Brother’. This late night viewing might explain why 28% of children said they felt more slow at school the next day after watching TV at night time. For a significant number of children, TV took the place of reading and 10% of children thought that reading books is ‘pointless’, whereas 0% thought that watching TV is ‘pointless’. Furthermore, almost half the Valley children preferred to watch TV rather than use their literacy skills, by reading a book or writing an e-mail.
Children from Riverside seemed to be reporting more discriminating TV viewing e.g. they were not allowed to watch certain programmes that were scheduled before the watershed, such as Eastenders. There was monitoring and joint analysis of television viewing reported by children, as part of the home curriculum.

A conversation with the deputy head at Valley Primary revealed that children entered the school with weak oracy skills, whereas the last Ofsted report for Riverside Primary points to the opposite experience. ‘Children’s knowledge, skills and understanding on starting school are a little above average overall’. One might speculate that an increase in passive TV technologies and a decrease in home-based conversation is impacting on the development of oracy skills. This is certainly borne out in the following quote from an interview with a Year 3 child (Report 3).

Interviewer: Where do you watch TV?
Child: In the living room and kitchen because when we’re eating it gets kind of bored and also in the living room we’ve got a 32 inch TV which I like a lot.
Valley Primary did try to engage parental involvement in helping their children with reading and to suggest strategies they could use with their children at home. However, the Deputy Head recalls that only three parents turned up to the meeting. One of those parents could not read himself, and explained that he did not want the same for his own child. His attempts to break the vicious circle of illiteracy and poverty were to be applauded but, were nevertheless ineffective and misguided, e.g. insisting his child do one hour of ‘copying’ after school every day. By attending the meeting, he was able to receive assistance from teachers on how he could help his child through the use of story tapes from the library.
Where children are not getting opportunities to read with parents at home, it is important to ensure they get opportunities to share books and ideas with skilled others in school or community environments.

Literacy opportunities and the effects on confidence and self-esteem

Children at Riverside reported a very high level of confidence in their reading, writing and oracy skills (Report 1). Children needed to have what they termed their ‘private confidence’ in certain aspects of literacy before they could become confident in the public aspects of literacy. Children were more confident in quiet reading than they were in public reading. Writing was also seen as a public act.

Private confidence developed through practice and resulted in a positive feeling towards that skill. Before children can develop confidence in writing, they need to develop some private confidence and have opportunities to practise writing that is less visible. What stood in the way of public confidence for them was peer pressure.

Children suggested that one way of boosting their confidence in reading aloud would be to read to children younger than themselves. This would benefit those younger children being read to and would also provide an opportunity for older children to develop confidence in their public reading, because they saw it as less threatening to read aloud in front of younger children.
Children’s thinking around literacy development makes a direct link between reading and oracy, since private and public confidence in reading helps with the development of their oracy.
Implications for policy and practice

It is widely acknowledged that education is a route out of poverty (e.g. see Card, 1999; Dearden et al., 2004). Literacy is a pivotal part of education and a platform on which much curricular endeavour is built. Furthering our understanding of links between poverty and literacy opportunities can inform policy development and ultimately help to address the literacy ‘poverty gap’. Empowering and supporting children to undertake their own research about literacy has given voice to their insider perspective and provided a window into their literacy worlds as they see them. These snapshots, spontaneously designed by children, are richly descriptive of children’s own experiences and, we would argue, generate data that adults could not. The simplicity of the children’s questions and of the language in their questionnaires and interviews elicited open and honest responses from their peers. Absence of power relations in child-child data collection suggests that children’s responses were very genuine and were untainted by efforts to ‘please the adult’. This was evident in that some children were happy to talk of their parents being too interfering and controlling about their homework and some were happy to admit to books being pointless - views which might not have been offered as freely to an adult researcher.

The pictures painted by this research are of children from affluent backgrounds exuding literacy confidence derived from a variety of opportunities: routine support for homework, parental oracy role models, favourable environments for reading and writing, absence of distractions and opportunities to talk about literacy. By contrast children from poor backgrounds had few, if any, of these opportunities. For them homework clubs were a life line. The findings from this research send a strong message that homework clubs are an essential route to educational progress for children in poverty. It is important, therefore, that these are managed effectively and that any barriers to children in poverty participating – such as transport issues, language issues, staff resources – should be urgently addressed.

An important self-development strategy uncovered in one of the children’s reports was the need to ‘practise your private confidence’ before you could develop ‘public confidence’. Children identified reading aloud and writing as activities requiring ‘public confidence’ and were activities which needed a lot of practice ‘privately’. A striking characteristic of children from affluent backgrounds was how easy it was for them to access opportunities for ‘private confidence’ building. This tells us something about possible approaches to literacy in schools which might be of benefit to children in poverty. Can we create environments in classrooms which afford children opportunities to build their literacy confidence ‘privately’? How much time are children allowed to read quietly or read to younger pupils in non-threatening environments? Does children’s writing always have to be public? To some extent, we operate in a ‘Big Brother’ environment where even children’s draft work is scrutinised by teachers and kept as ‘evidence’ for Ofsted. Can we provide enough skilled adults in the classroom and at homework clubs to engage in discussion with children? How can we make homework clubs more accessible to the children who need them the most? Can we find ways of skilling up parents in poorer areas to be able to help their children with literacy? Are schools, with all their associated power issues, the best place to work with parents on literacy improvement strategies? These are just some of the reflections that the children’s small-scale research studies have prompted. They provide a glimpse into their literacy worlds through their windows and enable us to infer some links between poverty and literacy opportunities. How ready are we to act on what they have shown us?


*Alderson, P. 2000. Children as Researchers. In Research with Children’ Christensen P, James, A. (eds). Falmer Press: London: pp. 241-257.

* Card, D. (1999) The causal effect of education on earning, in O. Ashenfelter and D. Card (eds) Handbook of Labor Economics Vol , Amsterdam: Elsevier.
*Children Act (2004), London: HMSO.
*Dearden, L., McGranahan, L. and Sianesi, B. (2004) An in-depth analysis of the returns to National Vocational Qualifications obtained at Level 2, London: Centre for the Economics of Education, Discussion Paper No. 46.
*Green Paper (2003) Every Child Matters, London: HMSO.
Hart, R. (1997) Children’s Participation: The Theory and Practice of Involving Young Citizens in Community Development and Environmental Care, London: Earthscan.
*Hastings A. and Dean, J. (2000) Challenging images: housing estates, stigma and regeneration, York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation publication ref 020.
*Kellett, M. (2003) ‘Enhancing pupils’ learning skills through their engagement with research process’. Paper presented at Research in Practice Conference of Westminster Institute of Education, Oxford.
*Kellett, M. (2005) Developing Children as Researchers, London, Paul Chapman Publishers.
*Kellett, M., Forrest, R., Dent, N. and Ward, S. (2004) ‘Just teach us the skills, we’ll do the rest: empowering ten-year-olds as active researchers’, Children and Society, 18, 5: 329-343.
*Kirby, P. & Bryson, S. (2002) Measuring the Magic: Evaluating and Researching Young People’s Participation in Public Decision Making, London: Carnegie Young People’s Initiative.

*Solberg, A. 1996. The challenge in child research from “being” to “doing”. In Children in Families: Research and Policy. Brannen, J, O’Brien M (eds) London: Falmer Press, p.53-65.

*Sinclair, R. (2004) Participation in practice: Making it meaningful, effective and sustainable’, Children & Society, 18, 2: 106-18.
*Waksler, FC. 1991. Studying the Social Worlds of Children: Sociological Readings. Falmer: London.

1 this research has been funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation

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