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CCE Research

School Design: Researching Children’s Views

July 28, 2010

*Author:* Rokhshid Ghaziani

*Institution:* University of Sheffield

*Full reference:* Ghaziani, R. (2010) ‘_School Design: Researching Children’s Views_’ Childhoods Today, Volume 4 (1), 2010

Summary of key findings

In this paper the author shares her experiences of employing a variety of research methods to elicit the views of children (aged 5-7) on aspects of school design. Based on a review of literature on school design the author suggests that there is a gulf between the views of children and those of designers. The paper aims to provide guidance on approaches to the involvement of children in the school design process.

A number of research methods were tested and used to gather the views of pupils aged 5-7. The study finds that the most appropriate methods for gathering children’s views are those which do not rely on the written word, such as photo elicitation and drawings, whilst interviews could also work well. Visual methods proved especially effective for this age group (5-7 years old), although children of 6-7 years also showed their capability to write their views briefly. The study finds that children in infant schools are acute observers and explorers of their school environments. The case studies revealed children’s ability to highlight the problems, appreciate the positive design considerations and make suggestions for change (improvement) in their schools. However, the researcher discovered that data collection from a large number of pupils was a lengthy process and school schedules created serious time constraints.

!! Research Questions & Methodology

Studies were undertaken in two infant schools in Sheffield in 2006 – 7. 66 pupils participated. A variety of methods are investigated, classified as ‘evaluative’ (photo questionnaire, interviews, wish poems and smiley/sad faces) or ‘creative’ (photographs and drawings). The paper includes a literature review and presents examples of a number of children’s voices.

Go to the journal article.