Madeleine Leonard
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Researching young people’s perceptions and experiences of place
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A dominant theme in childhood research is to view children and young people as having different but not lesser competencies than adults, and this feeds into data-collection strategies. This research used a combination of techniques, including questionnaires, focus-group discussions, photo prompts and story writing, in order to gain access to the complexity of young people's everyday worlds. The youth leader of an advisory group set up by Belfast City Council to advise it on issues affecting young people growing up in Belfast was contacted about the research. While questionnaires are often avoided in research with young people, more interactive and creative methods being favoured, this study found the questionnaire to be a valuable tool. Photo-elicitation is considered as a particularly appropriate tool for use in research where the participants are children and young people, as traditional interviewing may pose particular problems.

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