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Research with Children of Migrant and Refugee Backgrounds: A Review of Child-Centered Research Methods

Abstract

This paper outlines a participatory research methodology we have found to be successful in researching the educational experiences and perceptions of children with migrant or refugee backgrounds in Australia for whom English is a second language, aged between 5 and 7 years. As such, the paper focuses on research methods that are effective in research with (rather than on) young children who have experienced transitions involved with forced or voluntary migration and resettlement. The paper outlines these methods, together with their effectiveness and usefulness in allowing children to express themselves on their own terms and become fully involved in the research process. In particular, the paper is interested in allowing children to have voices in research concerning perceptions of ‘doing well’ at school. Finally, the paper addresses the ethical issues of working with migrant and refugee children, and the common critiques of participatory research with young children.

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Acknowledgments

This research was funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (Number DP110100732).

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Correspondence to Clemence Due.

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Due, C., Riggs, D.W. & Augoustinos, M. Research with Children of Migrant and Refugee Backgrounds: A Review of Child-Centered Research Methods. Child Ind Res 7, 209–227 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12187-013-9214-6

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Keywords

  • Children
  • Research methodologies
  • Participatory research
  • Refugees
  • Migrants
  • Education