Participation of children and young people in research: Competence, power and representation

Michael Curtin, Jane Murtagh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Over recent years, there has been a move away from researching 'on' to researching 'with' or 'for' young people. This reflects the increasingly recognised right of young people to participate in research and to express their views and opinions. It also corresponds with the acceptance that young people both influence and are influenced by the contexts in which they live. This move has, however, raised many issues that need to be considered when using research methodologies that aim to capture young people's voices, perspectives, interests and rights. Perhaps the most pertinent of these issues are those of competence, power and representation. Without consideration of these issues, it is easy to misrepresent and suppress the very voices and identities that researchers are aiming to represent. This article illustrates how each issue was dealt with in two research projects conducted with young people who had a motor impairment and with the siblings of young people with a brain injury. It is reflected that occupational therapy researchers should work towards greater collaboration and participation when researching young people. This is particularly relevant because the occupational therapy profession claims to be person-centred and as such this must be reflected in the research that it conducts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-72
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Occupational Therapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007


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