Enabling Pupil Participation in a Study of Perceptions of Disengagement: Methodological Matters

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Guidance and legislation in the UK suggest that it is becoming increasingly important to listen to the voices of pupils, to acknowledge their rights and to consult and collaborate with them in the development of personalised approaches to their education. In this article, Jackie Ravet, lecturer in inclusive practice at the University of Aberdeen, explores the methodological issues raised by a study of pupil perceptions of their disengagement in the primary classroom. She examines how an interpretative methodology was adapted to enable a group of eight- and nine-year-old primary school pupils to reflect upon their responses to learning and to express their interpretations, explanations and evaluations of their disengagement. Jackie Ravet's article details the array of interpretative methods used throughout her study with a particular focus upon a sequence of practical, activity-based interview formats designed to enable pupil communication and participation. This exposition is followed by a critique of the methodology and a discussion of its implications for research involving young children. The article closes with a call for pupils to be more effectively involved in reflecting upon the processes of participative research and in meaningful partnerships for school improvement. This article will be of interest to anyone seeking to enhance consultation and collaboration with pupils.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-242
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Special Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007


  • primary school pupils
  • research
  • participation
  • interviews
  • interpretation
  • evaluation


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