Research Briefing – Child-Led Research: From Participating in Research to Leading it – Addressing Inequalities in Decision-making

Article 12 of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child recognises the right of children and young people to express their views on issues relevant to their lives. Countries who have ratified the Convention have a legal obligation to take appropriate measures to implement this right. However, implementing children and young people’s participation rights has been challenging for countries and existing structures, as it entails substantive changes in how children and young people are viewed by society, ways of working and priorities. Globally, efforts to realise children and young people’s right to participate have generally been tokenistic and have a minimal impact on decision-making. As models and programmes have been developed to address these limitations, child-led research has emerged as an approach that can provide children and young people with particularly meaningful opportunities to participate. Therefore, there is a growing interest in child-led research as a mechanism to enhance participation rights, based on the premise that children and young people bring particular expertise to the research process. This study explores examples of children and young people who led their own research and took actions based on their research findings.