Dissertation Abstracts

Children as Researchers: Exploring Belonging, Transitions and Wellbeing

Author: Amanda M Ptolomey, a.ptolomey.1@research.gla.ac.uk
Department: School of Social and Political Sciences
University: University of Glasgow, United Kingdom
Supervisor: Nick Watson and Susan Batchelor
Year of completion: In progress
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: disability , childhood , wellbeing , intersectionality
Areas of Research: Childhood , Social Classes and Social Movements , Poverty, Social Welfare and Social Policy


Stimulating the production of new knowledge from seldom heard perspectives, this research will support children and young people experiencing intersectional inequalities as a result of poverty combined with disability to engage in participatory methods to examine transitions, belonging and wellbeing. The importance of this research lies in the innovative examination of belonging at a key stage in children and young people’s lives: primary to secondary school transitions. As part of the research process, children and young people will generate and consider practical recommendations for change. While involving children in contemporary research is becoming more common, disabled children are less often involved in research than their non-disabled peers (Bailey et al 2014). While considering the importance of place, school has been identified as an important arena for research and preventative approaches to promote mental health among young people. (Eisenstadt, 2017, p.36). Disabled children in particular experience segregation and exclusion at school through discriminatory structures, cultures and attitudes (Davis & Watson, 2001). Using participatory methods, this research aims to produce new knowledge about the impact of transitions from primary to secondary school on wellbeing from the perspectives of children and young people experiencing intersectional disadvantages. In addition to generating new knowledge, the study aims to demonstrate ways to integrate participatory approaches to improving outcomes in practice for those working in education. This research will be embedded in the sociology of childhood (Corsaro 1997; Prout & James, 1997; Mayall, 2000) and will draw from a range of related theoretical understandings. This will include belonging (Antonsich 2010) and the relationship between place and identity (Cuba & Hummon, 1993); Bourdieusian theory in relation to place and belonging (Haimes, 2003; Siisiäinen & Alanen 2011; Walker, 2017); children’s geography (Holloway 2014) and recent research on the links between intersectionality and childhood studies (Emejulu 2013; Konstantoni, Kustatscher, Emejulu & Sime, 2014; Kustatscher, Konstantoni &Emejulu, 2015; 2017).