Street Children as Researchers: Critical Reflections on a Participatory Methodological Process in the “Growing Up on the Streets” Research Project in Africa

Lorraine van Blerk (Lead / Corresponding author), Wayne Shand, Patrick Shanahan

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Abstract

This chapter explores the development of participatory research with street children and considers how to ensure that their voices are properly represented in research. Through an initial discussion of the emergence of children as active agents, the chapter explores the impact of including children more readily in research for street children. Their particular position offers a unique insight into children’s lives, simply because of their more independent status, yet their position has also made it harder for researchers to access their lives. The importance of participation as a central methodological process is discussed before focusing on a new research initiative that seeks to challenge research boundaries by engaging street children as researchers and experts on their own lives. The remainder of the chapter introduces the “Growing Up on the Streets” research project and critically explores some of the practical and ethical challenges this process has presented. The chapter concludes by urging others to work more in partnership with young people, who may be excluded from traditional forms of research, adapting techniques to facilitate the greater involvement of street children and other marginalized young people, in expressing their views and representing themselves through their own stories in research arenas.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMethodological Approaches
EditorsRuth Evans, Louise Holt, Tracey Skelton
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherSpringer
Pages1-20
Number of pages20
Volume2
ISBN (Electronic)9789814585897
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameGeographies of Children and Young People
PublisherSpringer
Volume2

Keywords

  • Street children
  • Young researchers
  • Participation
  • Ethics
  • Agency
  • Africa

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    van Blerk, L., Shand, W., & Shanahan, P. (2016). Street Children as Researchers: Critical Reflections on a Participatory Methodological Process in the “Growing Up on the Streets” Research Project in Africa. In R. Evans, L. Holt, & T. Skelton (Eds.), Methodological Approaches (Vol. 2, pp. 1-20). (Geographies of Children and Young People; Vol. 2). Springer . https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-4585-89-7_6-2