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Researching Children’s Rights Globally in the Digital Age

Challenge 6: Producing a robust yet flexible cross-national research toolkit

This session draws on participants' collective experience to determine the feasibility of a cross-national toolkit. Key questions framing the discussion include:

- What have we learned about how to develop a research agenda on children and the internet that works in various country contexts?
- What have we learned about how to compare findings across countries so as to share best practice, generalize knowledge where possible and anticipate future issues?

Integrating earlier sessions, participants discuss what ought to be included in a research toolkit, including protocols, pilot work, sampling, participatory methods, survey administration, coordination, collaboration, policy impact, key indicators, local concerns, training needs and linguistic/translation issues.

Chair: Cristina Ponte, Associate Professor, New University of Lisbon and EU Kids Online, Portugal


- Deborah Fox
- Giovanna Mascheroni
- Lucinda Platt

1) Click play on the Soundcloud window to start an audio recording of each presentation
2) Advance PPT slides manually in the SlideShare window

Deborah Fox
Operations Account Director, Kantar, UK: Considering consistency in data collection and sampling

Deborah Fox compares the benefits and drawbacks of face-to-face and online methods of research. Criteria includes: cost, reach, inclusion of marginalized and difficult-to-access populations, likelihood of survey/interview completion, truthfulness of responses, literacy requirements, privacy concerns, speed of research completion, cross-country consistency, consistency over time and administrative complexity. Fox favors face-to-face interviews because personal contact encourages completion and honesty. However, online methods are growing in popularity because they are fast, cheap, more private, and can reach larger numbers of people.

Giovanna Mascheroni
Lecturer, Catholic University of Milan and Net Children Go Mobile, Italy: Learning from the Net Children Go Mobile experience

Giovanna Mascheroni shares lessons learned from Net Children Go Mobile and EU Kids Online. In adapting a survey instrument from one country to another, Mascheroni notes that translation must be sensitive to using child-friendly and contextually relevant language. Developing easily comprehensible questions is particularly difficult when referring to digital devices as children use colloquial and fast-changing language for digital devices and services. Cognitive interviews can be helpful to anticipate and test translation issues, for example, personal computer versus explaining when a mobile phone is or is not a smartphone.

Lucinda Platt
Principal Investigator, Social Policy, LSE and Millennium Cohort Study, UK: Lessons from the Millennium Cohort Study.

The UK Millennium Cohort Study follows 19,000 children born in 2000-01. The birth cohort has been studied at 9 months, 3, 5, 7 and 11 years old, collecting also some information about parents and siblings. Platt describes the theory of cognitive development stages and their implications for what is possible to study via interviews and surveys of children at different ages. Platt discusses the types of questions most appropriate for each age group, noting the importance of creating a space that accounts for a child's sense-making process, and being aware of literacy constraints. Cognitive testing is critical given the difficulty in predicting what words will be understood or misunderstood by children, and Platt cautions against presuming to know which questions may be sensitive or embarrassing in advance.


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