Give Us More Credit! Recommendations for Young and Adult Researchers on Conducting Adolescent-Led Research


  • Georgiana Vasiloiu Children's Consultative Committee of World Vision Romania
  • Julia Smith-Brake World Vision International
  • Simona Eugenia Mihai World Vision Romania



child-led research, adultism, youth advocacy


Youth participatory action research, child-led research, and child-led activism are being increasingly employed to counter adultism in social work and development contexts, in a way to break down barriers for young people to have their voices heard on issues and decisions about their lives. This commentary comprises 2 open letters from a young researcher and advocate for children’s well-being and rights in Romania. The first letter is addressed to fellow young people and shares the journey of learning about and subsequently researching the issue of sexual violence, as well as a call to young people to stand up and use their voice to bring attention to issues important to them. The fear and anxiety of doing something new, that is usually in an adult space, cedes to empowerment and confidence found through the process. The second letter is addressed to adult researchers and practitioners and shares the methodology and findings of the child-led research project, lessons learned, and recommendations for adults engaging in child-led research. A key recommendation is for adults to support child researchers without manipulating the process, and to give young people more credit in commonly adult-held spaces.

Author Biographies

Julia Smith-Brake, World Vision International

Senior Adolescent Programming Specialist

Child Protection & Participation, Impact and Engagement Team

World Vision International 

Simona Eugenia Mihai, World Vision Romania

Youth Empowerment Program Coordinator 

World Vision Romania


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