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Researching With Visual Methods: Eliciting Children's Voices in Child Wellbeing Research

By: Published: 2017 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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In 2014, I enrolled in a doctoral program within the discipline of Public Health with the aspiration of conducting research on young children’s wellbeing as they transition to school. In undertaking a systematic review of the literature on young children’s health and wellbeing, it was evident that current conceptualizations of child wellbeing were derived almost exclusively from adult understandings, excluding the voices of children and how they understand and experience being well. This case provides an account of how visual methods were used within a child-centered research design to elicit children’s understandings and experiences of wellbeing. Conducting research with children, rather than on children, presents many methodological challenges as hierarchical power relations between adults and children habitually operate to exclude children and their voices from matters that affect them. This case study elucidates the challenges of conducting child-centered research with young children, and how visual research methods set within a child-centered research design allows children’s understandings and experiences to become “centre-stage” within the research process.

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