Taking part while being apart: Conducting participatory research with children during the COVID-19 pandemic

Year: 2021

Author: Hossain, Saira

Type of paper: Individual Paper

The global Covid-19 pandemic poses significant challenges to many areas, including research. The ongoing travel restrictions, lockdown and social distancing, have brought uncertainties to physical field visits and limited the scope of face-to-face interaction between the researcher and research participants. It is challenging for participatory research, which relies upon rapport between the researcher and the participants and requires the active involvement of the research participants in various aspects of the research process. The paper is a reflective narrative of engaging school students aged 13-16 as advisors in participatory research in the context of Bangladesh during the COVID-19 crisis. It outlines different ways to facilitate the active engagement of children and young people and include their voices in research.  The authors also discuss the benefits and methodological and ethical complexities of engaging children and young people as advisors of adult researchers during the pandemic in a country from the Global South, such as Bangladesh. The findings underscore the need to rethink the traditional view of considering children as vulnerable and passive members of society in the time of emergency and explore the scope of involving them as active stakeholders in producing quality research data.