We are researchers - child-led research: children's voice and educational value

This paper presents the findings from a pilot study conducted in an English community primary school with 10 and 11 year-old pupils (Year 6), where six child-led research projects were facilitated during a five-week teaching programme. Qualitative and quantitative evidence was collected to establish pupils’ views of their learning experience and to evaluate the effects of this self-guided approach on pupil learning. Results showed that child-led research is a feasible approach for establishing children’s views on their learning experience but more time and a feedback mechanism, such as a school council, are needed to make child voice effective. The qualitative and quantitative evidence showed that the pupils were interested, highly motivated and positively engaged with the project. Self-report scores for engagement were significantly higher than baseline reading. Value, team work, ownership and choice and teaching were factors which encouraged engagement. All parties felt that the project had educational value. The results from the current pilot are very encouraging, they suggest that ‘children as researcher’ projects not only provide a vehicle for child voice, but they can also provide educational benefits for the children undertaking such research.

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