Children as Active Researchers

The Potential of Environmental Education Research Involving Children

Authored by: Elisabeth Barratt Hacking , Amy Cutter-Mackenzie , Robert Barratt

International Handbook of Research on Environmental Education

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  May  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415892384
eBook ISBN: 9780203813331
Adobe ISBN: 9781136699313

10.4324/9780203813331.ch41

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Abstract

The following chapter explores the potential of undertaking environmental education research which involves children as active researchers. Throughout the chapter the term “research involving children” is used to describe any research that includes children whether the child be object, subject, participant, or independent researcher. Although a range of approaches to research involving children are considered including the philosophies that underpin them and the issues arising from their implementation, the authors have elected to focus on discussing, justifying, and presenting research in which children are actively involved in research and not just objects of research 1 . Environmental education research involving children tends to be dominated by children as objects of research and some have argued for alternative approaches to be considered (Barratt & Barratt Hacking, 2008; Barratt Hacking & Barratt, 2009; Cutter-Mackenzie, 2009; Fleer & Quinones, 2009; Rickinson, 2001). Two key and interrelated arguments for actively involving children in environmental education research are presented, firstly, those to do with the general arguments for involving children in research including rights of children to participate in matters of relevance to them and secondly, those to do with the unique perspectives that children can bring to bear as experts, actors, and stakeholders in their own and other environments.

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