Recruiting young researchers'
How to brief young people about what being a young researcher involves
Before you start planning your research project, check that the young people you have recruited fully understand what you are proposing. In particular, discuss what ‘research’ and being a young researcher involves.
A good way to check understanding and get informed consent is to invite potential recruits to a meeting. Start the meeting with introductions and ask the young people why they are interested in being involved with the project. Then find out how much they understand about research. The term itself can be seen as somewhat elitist – something that academics do – and it is important to demystify it. Research is essentially an investigation and young people (especially primary school age children) may be more comfortable with this term.
A good starting point for talking about ‘research’ would be to ask the young people what they think research is and what research, if any, they have been involved in as participants or researchers. You could repeat this activity at the end of your research project, to see how the young people’s perceptions and understanding of research have changed.
If the team has had little or no involvement with research, they may need some help in understanding what being a young researcher involves. As outlined in Treseder’s model of participation, being a young researcher means that you carry out research – being the researcher rather than the subject of the research. Talking through other young people’s research projects and the nature of their involvement may be useful.
If everyone if still happy to join the research team:
collect everyone’s full contact details (email address, mobile phone number, home address)
collect information on next of kin and emergency contacts
make sure that you have the young people’s schools’ and parents’ consent to be involved in the research project (as appropriate)
make a register for use in future team meetings.