Reflection on researching with children using “family group interviews” as part of a qualitative longitudinal study

Alice MacLean, Jeni Harden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Family sociologists often conduct research which generates and compares parents’ and children’s perspectives as a way of ensuring children’s voices are heard and building an understanding of family practices and cultures. It is far less common, however, for children to be interviewed in the presence of parents or to interview families as a group. Primarily, this is a response to concerns that, given generational power relations, the presence of parents may serve to influence, police, or silence children’s voices. However, by making such methodological assumptions and, in turn, not generating group accounts with parents and children, we may be missing opportunities to add further methods to our toolkit and additional analytical dimensions to our explorations and understandings of families’ and children’s lives. In this article, we reflect on our experiences of conducting family group interviews as the second wave of a qualitative longitudinal study, involving parents and children who gave individual accounts at the first and third/final waves. We explore the factors involved in designing this method into a research project, the challenges of conducting family group interviews, and of analysing the data produced. In so doing, we contribute to the methodological debate on researching with children in the context of families.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)649-665
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies
Issue number4.1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • qualitative longitudinal research
  • families
  • group interviews
  • children
  • parents


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