On Barriers to Accessing Children’s Voices in School Based Research

In the research conducted since the inception of the CRC, relatively little theoretically-driven psychological work has been devoted to exploring the issue of children’s rights in classrooms and schools (Urinboyev, Wickenberg, & Leo, 2016). The purpose of this paper is to take a step back and hypothesize based on personal experience, as a research psychologist, the reasons for the relative absence of theoretically-driven empirical research. The motivation for this work stems from the following premises: Psychologists are naturally interested in studying children in a variety of domains. The school is one of the two most important domains in a child’s life; the other being the home environment. However, the study of children in school settings is controlled by school administrators and teachers. As Urinboyev et al. (2016, p. 536) state “some studies [have] found that there is a strong resistance among teachers to accept fully children as rights holders in many schools… .” Consequently, there are significant challenges for researchers in accessing children’s voices about matters that pertain to them in school settings.