oa Journal of Education - That child needs a good listening to! Reviewing effective interview strategies

Volume 35, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0259-479X



This paper provides a review of effective methods for interviewing young and vulnerable groups of children and the influence of their voices on decisionmaking from the English-speaking literature. Very few studies are designed to address questions of effectiveness. Of those that do, there is evidence to suggest that interviews with young children are enhanced by the use of activity- and computer-based techniques. Quite young children can participate successfully in interviews though their responses are affected by question format. Age, gender and family circumstances will also be an influence. Descriptive-analytical studies in the family, educare and social welfare context suggest that a range of multi-method techniques is being employed to access children�s views and that these may be beginning to influence decisionmaking. Not all young children are as yet asked for their views though involvement increases with age. The impact these have on policy, however, may be less certain. Children want their views to be listened to and treated with genuine consideration, nevertheless, and may not necessarily be upset or offended by questions probing sensitive areas. The current emphasis on widening children�s opportunities to talk, however, may risk creating a culture in which children are expected to talk. Extending the range of documented themes to include child survival, renegotiation of parenthood or children and violence that better encompass global issues are discussed.

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