Changing conceptions of children and childhood have in the last three decades led to the increasing participation of children in social research and their involvement in active research roles. However, the benefits and challenges of this process are rarely discussed in relation to the wider literature on adult involvement, thus missing an opportunity to learn from potential commonalities or differences. In this paper, I argue for an explicit comparison between children’s involvement in research and (adult) service user involvement in health and social care research. The paper presents findings from a review of children’s involvement in research, first separately, and second, in comparison with themes from the literature on service user involvement. As the paper will illustrate, many of the themes manifest themselves in similar ways in the two areas of practice, leaving scope for the development of cross-disciplinary practice, reflection and conceptual development. Particular suggestions deriving from the paper are (a) a strengthening of organisational frameworks within Higher Education institutions to facilitate the involvement of diverse groups of children in research, (b) the development of a more systematic mechanism for reporting the involvement of children and young people in research and (c) cross-disciplinary and theoretical exploration of key concepts such as power and empowerment within the involvement context.
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- children’s involvement
- children’s rights
- service user involvement