The purpose of this paper is to explore how children can be empowered in the research process, as active agents and key informants, in matters affecting their consumption.
Insights are drawn from a study that used multiple methods to explore children's everyday food consumption practices. The data set was gathered over a period of two years and included: 23 informant‐generated visual diaries; seven online depth interviews; 15 school‐based depth interviews; 42 days of school‐based mealtime observations; and home‐based mealtime observations with four families, each visited on five different occasions.
The paper uncovers how visual diaries can be used in combination with other methods to transform relationships between adults and children in the research encounter. The emergent transformations are organised around three core themes that include: children's authentic voices; multiplex reality; and power and control. It was also found that children were able to express their own interpretations and thoughts about their food consumption practices, rather than solely relying on the adult interpretations of their lives.
For scholars and practitioners, the paper offers an approach that provides an opportunity for children to participate in family food decision‐making processes. It offers a cautionary tale not just about getting children to talk, but to allow children's voices to be heard in food policy initiatives, as well as in qualitative research and marketing. This poses a challenge to social researchers to think of different ways of engaging children in research.
CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited