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Undertaking research with children and young people
  1. Alison Twycross1,
  2. Joanna Smith2
  1. 1Children's Nursing, School of Health and Social Care, London South Bank University, London, UK
  2. 2Children's Nursing, School of Healthcare, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  1. Correspondence to : Dr Alison Twycross,
    Children's Nursing, School of Health and Social Care, London South Bank University, London SE1 0AA, UK; alisontwycross{at}

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In the previous edition of Evidence-Based Nursing, ‘the ethical context of nursing research’, the role of the nurse researcher in respecting and ensuring the welfare of participants was highlighted.1 Historically, children and young people (CYP) have been excluded from participating in research because of tensions between developing a sound knowledge base for interventions, care and service delivery and the need to protect them.2 Involving CYP in the planning, participation and dissemination of research will ensure that the research undertaken is relevant to their needs and considers their overall well-being. While safeguarding the child or young person is paramount, Articles 12 and 13 of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child highlight children's rights to participate, articulate an opinion and freedom of expression in matters that affect them.3 CYP should be provided with opportunities to voice their views and concerns and be involved in decisions. This article will focus on three issues: involving CYP in planning research, information provision and the legal and moral considerations when seeking consent from CYP.

Involving CYP in planning research

It is now recognised that, whenever possible, CYP should be involved in all stages of the research process, from planning, data collection and analysis, and dissemination. Several organisations facilitate and support CYP's involvement in research such as Generation R (, a national advisory group made up of local youth forums across England. Groups typically consist of 10–15 members, aged 8–19 years, meeting every 6 weeks with their views feeding into the design and delivery of research. The National Children's Bureau also have Young Research Advisers (YRAs), aged 12–21 and 25 years for disabled young people ( The YRAs are involved in several activities …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.