9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN04 Sociology of Children and Childhood

2009-09-03 15:30:00 2009-09-03 17:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 15:30 - 17:00 Theoretical and Methodological Issues in Researching Childhood and Children's Lives I Building II, C6.01

Disasters we have had! The importance of place when interviewing children

There is a growing literature on methodologies to engage children in research but less attention has been paid to important ways in which interview places and spaces affect the conduct of the interview and the analysis of the data. . Interview location can greatly influence power relations and contextual distractions. Given the vulnerability of children, the theoretical, ethical and pragmatic issues of place also need to be considered.

This presentation builds on child public health research conducted by the authors, then uses theory and published studies to analyse the place-based issues in relation to home, school, clinical and community-based studies. For example, home based interviewing can often give rise to a difficult choice between interviewing in a family space where children?s responses are mediated by other?s presence versus the privacy of a bedroom which is generally considered an inappropriate location for interviewers to be alone with children. The success of school-based discussions can be influenced by whether they are located in a neutral room, a fun space, or a room associated with a disliked subject or teacher. Similarly, data collected in the process of community based activity may be more useful than structured data collection activities such as interviews or focus group discussions.

Successful and unsuccessful experiences will be reported and discussed against a backdrop of theory and published studies as a means of understanding the issues for children, parents, supervising adults and researchers, and exploring how researchers can approach the sometimes difficult question of how to nominate an interview place.