Researching young children's perspectives on "the troubles" in Northern Ireland

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It was not long after the emergence of the present phase of 'the troubles' in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s that concerns began to be expressed about the potentially negative effects that the violence was having on children's development and general sense of well-being. Since the early 1970s, a plethora of research studies have been conducted and published examining a range of different issues from children's overall levels of awareness of the conflict to their patterns of socialisation and moral and emotional development. Such work has been extremely important and has played a central role in drawing attention to and emphasising the plight of children in Northern Ireland. However, while it has certainly increased our understanding of some of the effects of 'the troubles' on children's lives, it has been less successful in drawing out and facilitating children's own perspectives and experiences. This paper outlines some of the reasons for this while also suggesting alternative methodological approaches that are more appropriate for the study of children's perspectives on 'the troubles'. It concludes with a brief discussion of two separate and quite different research studies that I have directed which have attempted to focus on the awareness and attitudes of young children towards 'the troubles' in Northern Ireland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-64
Number of pages7
JournalChild Care in Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2002


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