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Research Participation Call: Social experiences of children with SEND

Call for Research Participants: The Social Experience of Children with SEND

About me: 

Hi, I am Junika and I study Psychology at the University of Exeter. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, I had the privilege of working with students from disadvantaged backgrounds at a local school in Kent. Here, I provided Maths support for small groups of students, some of whom had special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). As well as improving their confidence in maths, I built meaningful relationships with students – this has led me to continue tutoring alongside my current studies. It has also driven me to focus my dissertation project on the social participation of children with SEND. 


Introduction to my study: 

For my study, I am looking to explore the social experience of children with SEND. Psychological research shows that students with SEND experience more difficulties in socialising with their peers. This is important because research also shows that children’s perceptions of their friendships are linked with their development. However, some children with SEND have high-quality friendships, so I would like to explore the protective factors that enable children to experience better friendships. I would also like to identify the risk factors which may be associated with poorer quality friendships. These factors can be used to inform educational policy in England.  


Identifying risk and protective factors in the social participation of children with SEND

What is the project about?
The project seeks to understand the experiences of children with SEND through a methodology called “Narrative inquiry”. This methodology has been consistently employed in research to focus on the lived experiences of individuals from their viewpoint. Educational policy can often neglect the child’s perspective; therefore, it is important for children as it includes the provision of their voice. This research aims to identify risk and protective factors in the social participation of children with SEND in Southwest England. These factors can be used to inform educational policy in England.

Your school has been invited to participate in this study because we would like to learn more about the views and social participation experiences of pupils with SEND.

What are the benefits of participation?

Through pupils’ participation in this study, your school will be able to learn more about their friendships and other issues from the child’s point of view. The school will be able to potentially address any concerns that arise. Concerns will be general to protect pupils’ confidentiality.

What would pupils be asked to do if they took part?

Pupils identified with SEND and in Key Stage 2 or Key Stage 3 will be invited to take part in a semi-structured face-to-face interview with the researcher. Questions will relate to their social participation and will include sensitive topics such as bullying and their feelings and opinions about themselves and other pupils. Before this, pupils will be assured that they don’t have to answer any questions if they wish not to, take breaks if required and also stop the interview without having to give reasons. A member of staff will be asked to observe interviews for safeguarding purposes. We will audio record the interviews on a digital device, and the recordings will be kept in secure, protected storage. Pupils will also be asked to draw a “life map” of their friendships, they will be provided with pens, pencils, and paper for this. Lastly, they might also be observed during social interactions with peers during breaktime by the researcher in one or two of her school visits so that extra notes can be taken.

How will pupils’ data be managed?
The data we collect will be treated confidentially, and only the researcher and their supervisor will have access to the raw data (by which we mean the recordings and the transcripts of the interviews). All information collected while carrying out the study will be stored on a database that is password protected and strictly confidential. The digital and textual data resulting from the interviews will be kept in a secure and confidential location. Pupils’ names will not appear in any database or any information which is then published. Instead, a pseudonym will be used as an identifier on all data associated with each child. The results of study may be used to produce publications.

What happens if the pupil does not want to take part or if they change their mind?
Every child’s participation is voluntary; it is his/her/their choice whether to take part or not. If he/she/they decides to take part, he/she/they is free to stop at any time and without giving a reason.
It will be possible to remove each pupil’s data from the research study up to two weeks after the interview takes place. This is up to the discretion of the child and their parent/guardian. It will not be possible to remove pupils’ data once data has been transcribed (two weeks or more after the study), as analysis of the data will have begun.

Next steps and what if I have queries and I want to find out more about the research?
If you are interested in your school to taking part in the study, please reply to the principal researcher or their supervisor using the contact details below.
Additionally, If you have any concerns or complains about the conduct of this research study, please contact the principal researcher, Ms Junika Gurung at jg829@exeter.ac.uk or their supervisor, Dr Eleni Dimitrellou at E.Dimitrellou3@exeter.ac.uk
Thank you for your interest in this study

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