Children and young people should be involved in the research process when the findings could affect them. It is important to use research tools that will facilitate their engagement as they can offer valuable contributions that generate a knowledge base that is a unique reflection of their needs. Visual methods such as drawing, collage and photography can help them to express emotions and opinions. Reference groups of children and young people can inform every stage of the research process, ensuring appropriateness of information materials, consent forms and methods. There are challenges associated with the involvement of children and young people in the research process, but with careful planning, these are surmountable.
Even young children can contribute to research if appropriate methods are used. Lisa Whiting reports and Jack Forbes (aged ten) gives his views