When the Children’s Policy Research Unit wanted to carry out some new research into how easy, or challenging it is for children with a disability or long term health issue to transition from children's to adult healthcare services, they approached us for help.
In particular, the Children’s Policy Research Unit wanted to involve our specialist team of Young Research Advisors (YRA’s). They asked them to help shape the research, from what questions should be asked to how best to engage with the target audience and finally what results should be shared and how.
Our talented team of Young Research Advisers (YRAs) are aged between 12 to 21, going up to 25 for disabled young people. We provide training in research methods for them to help us plan, design and deliver our research projects.
How did we do it?
We believe passionately that children have the right to influence and direct the research, policy and decisions that affect their lives and so this was a perfect project to get them involved with. They got stuck in from the start. They asked our YRA’s to think about the issues of transitioning and then come up with ideas about what the questions should be. They then advised on how best to ask them, whether via face to face interviews, online questionnaires or focus groups.
Once the research had been completed the team once again got involved. They spent time analysing the research findings, deliberating the parts that they found most interesting about it and discussing the possible factors that might have contributed to the findings. The group were particularly interested to learn that young people with long term health conditions, (such as asthma or diabetes), tended to be admitted to A&E much more frequently during the ‘transition’ years as opposed to before or after. Also, boys tended to stay in hospital for longer than girls.
They also discussed ways that the research could be shared with young people on social media. As well as how best to raise the work amongst Government and policymakers so that they have a better understanding of the issues young people faced.
YRA advised Children’s Policy Research Unit to create an animated film that highlighted the findings of the report and which could be used to inform both young people and policymakers. Finally the team worked with the animator to create the final version, which can be seen here:
The group also made a film of the animation production which demonstrates the importance of involving children and young people in research.
The Children’s Policy Research Unit report is due to be published later this year.