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‘Living Your Life Because it’s the Only Life You’ve Got’

Kate Pahl (University of Sheffield)
Steve Pool (University of Sheffield)

Qualitative Research Journal

ISSN: 1443-9883

Article publication date: 3 August 2011



This article explores the processes and practices of doing participatory research with children. It explores how this process can be represented in writing. The article comes out of a project funded by Creative Partnerships UK, in which a creative agent, three artists and a researcher all worked within an elementary school in South Yorkshire, UK, for two years, to focus on the children’s Reasons to Write. It considers whether it is truly possible for children to enter the academic domain. Using a number of different voices, the article interrogates this. It particularly focuses on children’s role in analysing and selecting important bits of data. It engages with the lived realities of children as researchers. It considers ways in which children’s voices can be represented, and also acknowledges the limitations of this approach for adults who want to write academic peer reviewed articles. Ideas the adults thought were clever were found to be redundant in relation to children’s epistemologies. The article considers the process that is involved in taking children’s epistemologies seriously.



Pahl, K. and Pool, S. (2011), "‘Living Your Life Because it’s the Only Life You’ve Got’", Qualitative Research Journal, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 17-37.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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