Handbook: Children as experts

ECPAT is now launching its Handbook “Children as experts” – a tool for all those who conduct surveys of and with children and who are looking for new ways to collect data and include children as participants. 

The handbook is based on ECPAT’s methods for surveys of children and is the result of a three-year project funded by the Swedish Inheritance Fund. The book describes how our methods have developed and the lessons we have learnt from our work. 

Experts on their own situation 

A central theme for our method is children’s participation. We are convinced that children are experts on their own situation and must therefore play a central role when we design surveys for them. This means that children participate in all parts of our survey process – in planning, design, implementation and analysis. 

Unique datasets 

To get children engaged we use story-based questionnaires in our surveys. Thanks to many options to provide open-ended responses, we have been able to create unique datasets consisting of both quantitative and qualitative data. The results from the surveys provide the basis for several of our reports. They have also provided us with important knowledge on how to respond to and support children on our helpline. In the handbook we describe how children go through all the steps in the survey and how, through an iterative approach, we have improved – and continue to improve – our methods. 

It is our hope that ECPAT’s Handbook “Children as experts” can inspire others who conduct surveys of children and who are looking for ways to include children as participants in the process. 

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