Challenging barriers to participation: doing research with migrant children and young people

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

    58 Downloads (Pure)


    The methodological and ethical aspects of conducting research with children and young people have been a significant area of debate across disciplines over the last few decades, with two broad issues emerging in relation to children’s involvement in the research process: (i) children should be seen as competent agents, who have the right to participate in research at all stages; (ii) researchers must ensure that children’s participation is fair, inclusive and ethical, and uses appropriate techniques for children to be able to contribute. Drawing on recent studies with first generation migrant children for whom English is a second language and the more general literature on conducting research with children and young people, this chapter examines the ethical and methodological challenges one needs to consider when aiming to include migrant children in research, with a focus on Eastern European groups. The chapter explores questions such as: What are the main practical challenges in getting access to migrant children and securing informed consent? What are the advantages and disadvantages of existing methods and techniques in eliciting migrant children’s views? How important is ethnic and language matching between the researchers, interpreters and families, and how do spaces such as children’s homes or schools affect the research process? The chapter reflects upon the way in which the researchers’ structural position, in terms of age, ethnicity and class, can influence power relationships in the research process and affect issues of access, consent, data collection, analysis and dissemination. The chapter concludes with the observation that child-centred, qualitative research has clear advantages in giving migrant children a voice and inform current policy, practice and debates on global migration and social justice. However, researchers need to be mindful of migrant children’s position within their families and society overall and think of their participation as often hedged around by constraints and controls.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationMethodological Approaches
    EditorsRuth Evans, Louise Holt, Tracey Skelton
    Place of PublicationSingapore
    Number of pages23
    ISBN (Print)9789812870193
    Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2017

    Publication series

    NameGeographies of Children and Young People


    • migrant children
    • research methodologies
    • ethics in research
    • research with children
    • children's participation


    Dive into the research topics of 'Challenging barriers to participation: doing research with migrant children and young people'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this