1 June 2023
Harriet Baird, Engagement Lead for ADR Scotland partner the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research, discusses learnings from their children’s engagement pilot and, importantly, how to embed these across ADR UK.
Involving and engaging children and young people in research can present different practical and ethical challenges, from finding appropriate times to engage to creating materials that are age-appropriate and appealing. Despite these hurdles, it is crucial that research about children and young people is shaped by their views and reflective of their needs.
Across the ADR UK partnership, there is a range of research happening about children and young people and we engage them in different ways:
- through involving children and young people directly
- collaborating with children’s charities and organisations and the children and young people they work with, such as Barnardo’s NI, Voices of Young People in Care (VOYPIC) and Children in Scotland
- via partnerships with expert representatives.
During a pilot project last year, ADR Scotland learned lots working with a group of children and young people to unpack their understanding of administrative data, how it is used for research, and how it is communicated. Since the publication of the project findings last summer, we have been adapting our practices to further embed children’s voices and make sure our research is easier to understand by using different formats. For example, we have recently published a comic on data research and children’s rights which we developed with feedback and insights from young people. We are really proud of it and hope others can use it too!
Building on this, we are keen that best practice and awareness of children’s rights are shared across the ADR UK partnership and beyond. We would like to highlight our commitment to engaging with children and young people about data and are mindful that their needs are reflected in our Public Engagement Strategy.
To show how we plan to grow in this area, I am pleased to share a newly published approach which will guide us in developing our support and resources for our researchers when thinking about involving and engaging children and young people. Highlights from the guidance include:
- responding to the views and needs of children and young people
- making our work more accessible
- involving children more frequently in research using administrative data
- championing children’s rights and voices in the data landscape.
This is just the start - we are always learning, especially from children themselves. We are keen to develop creative, new ways of engaging people with data and to collaborate with others working in this space to help achieve shared aims. Data isn’t just about or for adults, children and young people are a key part of the data and telling its story.