Researching children's lives : on becoming and being a sociologist in education

Sime, Daniela; Twamley, Katherine and Doidge, Mark and Scott, Andrea, eds. (2015) Researching children's lives : on becoming and being a sociologist in education. In: Sociologists' Tales. Policy Press, Bristol, pp. 257-262. ISBN 9781447318668

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While some sociological careers are mapped out rigorously, others are framed by opportunities that present themselves to the researcher, which often help the novice researcher identify a career path and the type of research they want to undertake later on. This chapter draws on the author's experiences as a novice researcher on short-term projects which involved children and young people and the reflections on how these have shaped her career as an academic later on. Different approaches to research with children and young people are based on fundamental assumptions and beliefs about their position in society and their ability to contribute to research on their lives. This chapter aims to reflect on experiences of working with children and young people across a range of research contexts and research topics. It hopes to encourage future sociologists to reflect on research as a powerful tool for informing and supporting social change, while giving young people a voice in the process. Finally, it identifies some future research areas on children and youth, but also some challenges, for example in terms of ensuring research has an impact and benefits for the wider community and the difficulties of securing research funding.