A Rights-Based Approach to Children’s Participation in Research

A children’s rights-based approach to research places particular emphasis on the participation rights of children and young people in the research process and requires that children are assisted in both forming and expressing their views on all matters affecting them. The approach adopted in the Centre for Children’s Rights is informed by the following CRC standards: children are given information (Articles 13, 17) and adult guidance (Article 5) while their views are in formation, in order to be assisted in determining and expressing what will then be both a formed and informed view (Article 12), as illustrated in diagram below.

Assisting children to (in)formed views (Lundy and McEvoy (Emerson), 2012)
Assisting children to (in)formed views (Lundy and McEvoy (Emerson), 2012)


This approach is applied in relation to:

  • children as research participants – where deliberate steps are taken to ensure that children’s are facilitated in forming views on the issues being researched
  • children as co-researchers – where Children’s Research Advisory Groups (CRAGs) are established to work alongside the adult researchers: advising on the research process; assisting with the analysis and interpretation of the findings; providing insight on the main issues under investigation. Central to work with the CRAGs is the requirement to build the children’s capacity as co-researchers in understanding the issues being researched in the project.