Journal Article

Involving Young Service Users as Co-Researchers: Possibilities, Benefits and Costs

Hugh McLaughlin

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 36, issue 8, pages 1395-1410
Published in print December 2006 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online December 2006 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bch420
Involving Young Service Users as Co-Researchers: Possibilities, Benefits and Costs

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This article seeks to contribute to the debate concerning the benefits and costs of involving young service users in research. The paper locates involvement within a continuum of consultation, collaboration and user-controlled research. The mandate for children and young people’s involvement is identified. In particular, the paper focuses on the benefits and costs in relation to: research and development, research dissemination and service development, service users and researchers. The paper does not suggest that these benefits and costs can be measured arithmetically but argues that if the costs in terms of resources, training, support, timescale and remuneration are not addressed, the research will be undermined and in danger of becoming tokenistic. The article argues that the involvement of young service users as co-researchers is worthwhile, but that it should not be entered into lightly and that further work needs to be undertaken on which parts of the process young service users can be included in and where their involvement results in change in service delivery or service outcomes.

Keywords: young service user; co-researchers; benefits; costs; involvement

Journal Article.  6983 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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