Creating ‘buddy partnerships’ with 5- and 11-year old-boys: A methodological approach to conducting participatory research with young children.
Levy, R., & Thompson, P. (2015). Creating ‘buddy partnerships’ with 5- and 11-year old-boys: A methodological approach to conducting participatory research with young children. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 13(2), pp. 137-149.
Abstract: Building on literature concerning participatory research, this article explores the use of ‘buddy partnership’ as a technique to access the voices of young children. In this study, 5- to 6-year-old boys were paired with 11- to 12-year-old boys, and each dyad was asked to contribute towards the creation of an information DVD that would help teachers and parents understand the factors that influenced children’s engagement with reading. This article reflects on how this research technique addressed some of the methodological concerns of researchers conducting participatory research with young children. In particular, it addresses issues related to the ‘role of the researcher’ and the impact of presence of an adult researcher when researching young children’s views. This study revealed that the use of a buddy partnership with older children was a highly effective method in eliciting the voices of these young children. This article argues that the success of this research technique can be attributed to the cultivation of a strong and unique relationship that was built between the children throughout the duration of the project. It is concluded that the older children played a crucial role in the research, as their empathetic and playful approach meant that they communicated with the younger children in a context that was defined by the existence of ‘shared understanding’, which would not have been possible within an child–adult research relationship.(The final, definitive version of this paper has been published in The Journal of Early Childhood Research by SAGE Publications, Ltd., All rights reserved. © [SAGE Publications, Ltd.]).