Department of Social Work and Social Care

Child social care

Talking & Listening to Children



Period of research

2013 - 2016

Principal Investigator

Professor Gillian Ruch

A four nation UK research project exploring how social workers communicate with children in their everyday practice, and how social workers and children involved in these encounters experience and understand them.

The research is a collaboration between Cardiff University, the University of Sussex, Queen’s Belfast University and the University of Edinburgh. 

The research aims to generate new knowledge that will enhance the quality of social work education, practice and policy and in doing so improve children’s experiences of policy and practice outcomes. Specifically the research will:

  • identify how social workers communicate with children in practice, from early encounters to established relationships, encompassing the high priority areas of child protection and ‘looked after’ children
  • enable practitioners and children to reflect on specific practice encounters, helping to identify the barriers to, and enablers of, effective communicationESRC logo
  • identify how practice in this domain could be improved, and develop paper-based and video/digital resources to enable these improvements to be realised.

See more details on the TLC website:


Connectors: An international study into the development of children's everyday practices of participation in circuits of social action


European Research Council

Period of research

January 2014 - January 2019

Principal Investigator

Dr Sevasti-Melissa Nolas

The 'Connectors' project is a five year, comparative, cross-national study funded by the European Research Council that seeks to understand children's participation in public life and the development of an orientation towards social action in childhood.

Fieldwork will take place in three cities: London, Athens and Hyderabad, and will involve children aged 6-11 years who will be involved over a four year period. A number of qualitative and creative methods will be employed in the collaboration with the children. Social media will also be utilised to create a public dialogue on children's participation.

The study aims to provide rich data sources for making within- and between-country comparisons on children's participation in public life that will enable European Research Council logothe development of a theoretical paradigm for understanding participation in childhood that draws on fieldwork in diverse settings and turbulent times.


* banner image provided courtesy of the Newhaven Community Development Association (NCDA)