Involving children and young people in research

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Why is it important to involve young people in health and social care research?

There is a long history of involving children and young people in health and social care research in the UK, and an even longer history in other parts of the world through international development work.

Children and young people have rights enshrined in both national and international human rights legislation and in international conventions (UNCRC 1989), to be involved in the decisions that are made about them and their lives.

This extends to involvement in health and social care research.  It is therefore a rights issue but it is also clearly a social justice issue. As a frequently marginalised, often exploited and routinely unheard community, it is important that issues about social justice, discrimination and equality are addressed in research.

Research that relates to children, young people, their families and their communities must involve and engage with them as research participants, research advisor and as co-researchers. In order to fully understand what the world looks and feels like to children and young people, research processes must be opened up to ensure that they are able to fully engage in research opportunities.

Supporting research with children and young people

We’ve collated some resources and useful websites, below, that can support you with your work in this area. You can explore more by selecting ‘see all resources’.

If you would like any help or advice around involving children and young people in your research work, please email ARC NENC Public Involvement and Community Engagement Manager, Felicity Shenton – [email protected]

Useful websites and links


From the National Children’s Bureau – Young Research Advisors


The European Young Persons Advisory Group Network (eYPAGnet) – toolkit for involvement

Young Researchers Network

The National Youth Agency has a Young Researchers Network which includes tools, resources and information. Young Researcher’s Network – NYA

Journal articles

The Routledge Handbook of Service User Involvement in Human Services Research and Education

Ethical issues

Ethical research involving children


Remuneration guidance has recently been updated by NIHR – see Payment guidance for researchers and professionals ( – including additional guidance attached on recognition and rewards for children and young people’s involvement.