Where are the silences?

a scoping review of child participatory research literature in the context of the Australian service system

Rebekah Grace*, Jenny Knight, Kelly Baird, Jonathan Ng, Harry Shier, Sarah Wise, Tobia Fattore, Tom McClean, Gill Bonser, Sarah Judd-Lam, Lynn Kemp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


This paper presents a scoping review of the literature on child participatory research in Australia published in academic journals between 2000 and 2018. The review focused on research designed to engage with children and young people in the development, implementation and evaluation of services. A total of 207 papers were identified and distributed across eight service sectors: child protection and family law, community, disability, education, health, housing and homelessness, juvenile justice and mental health. The papers were reviewed against Shier's participation matrix, demonstrating that almost all of the identified papers included children only as participants who contributed data to adult researchers. Only a small number of papers involved children and young people in the other phases of research, such as designing research questions, analysis and dissemination. There is a clear interest in the engagement of children and young people in service design and decision-making in Australia. This paper is intended to serve as a catalyst for discussion on where there are gaps and where further Australian research is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-186
Number of pages15
JournalChildren Australia
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2019. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • child
  • voice
  • participation
  • services
  • perspectives

Cite this