Peer research methodology: an effective method for obtaining young people’s perspectives on transitions from care to adulthood?

2015-07-31T10:45:54Z (GMT) by Clare Lushey Emily R. Munro
Peer research has the potential to empower young people to participate in research by minimising power imbalances between researchers and participants; this may reduce bias and promote improved understanding to inform policy and practice. However, these benefits are not automatic; the relative inexperience of peer researchers adds layers of complexity to the research process. Moreover, the validity of findings from research adopting less traditional methods may be questioned and policy makers may be cautious about accepting this evidence, thus limiting its contribution and impact. This paper explores the advancement of participatory peer researcher methodology in research with children in and leaving care and ethical, practical and data quality issues that arose in two studies exploring young people’s transitions from care to adulthood. It concludes that the peer research methodology can yield rich data but that adequate resources and effective research management are crucial. The authors also caution against a reductionist approach that privileges peer research methodology above other methods of inquiry in the study of transitions from care to adulthood.