ESRA 2019 Programme at a Glance

A Comparative Longitudinal Survey of Child Well-Being in Europe: Challenges and Solutions

Session Organisers Professor Gary Pollock (Manchester Metropolitan University)
Dr Toni Babarovic (Ivo Pilar Institute)
Dr Britta Busse (University of Bremen)
Dr Jessica Ozan (Manchester Metropolitan University)
TimeWednesday 17th July, 09:00 - 10:30
Room D30

Significant child well-being inequalities exist as well as a desire to better support children. Policies must be evidence based – there is a need for high quality data upon which to base an intervention. Longitudinal survey data, collected from birth, allows one to see how individuals change over time and the extent to which experiences early in life are associated with outcomes later in life. It is important to collect such data in order to explore the long-term effects of bullying at school, the enduring effects of living in poverty during childhood, and much more. A comparative longitudinal survey, able to observe processes and policy interventions in different national contexts, is ideal. This session seeks to explore the challenges in developing such a survey. While developmental work has already begun on an accelerated cohort survey design in the European Cohort Development Project (ECDP) - an H2020 Design Study, there remains much to do before data collection for the first cohort begins. The challenges include 1) developing the survey design, from sample selection through to data collection and archiving, 2) gaining national funding for the duration of the study 3) establishing a governance structure to manage the complexities of a comparative longitudinal survey, 4) ensuring that the data platform is highly usable and reaches a broad field of researchers, 5) ensuring that the results will be of use to policy makers at both national and European levels, 6) involving children and young people at all stages of the process, from design through to policy recommendations.

This session brings out the most important methodological developments related to developing a European cohort survey and highlights questions and challenges as well as proposed solutions in creating such a complex survey design.

Keywords: accelerated birth cohort, child well-being, comparative, Europe

Child and Youth Well-Being – The Interplay of Policies and Measurements

Dr Britta Busse (University of Bremen) - Presenting Author
Miss Thalia Hirsch (University of Bremen)
Mr Florian Sipos (University of Debrecen)
Mrs Judit Csoba (University of Debrecen)

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In the “European Cohort Development Project”, we are concerned with preparing the first pan European cohort study on child and youth well-being. Thereby, we are confronted with methodological as well as organisational challenges. Among the project’s central tasks are:
• to define most crucial life domains that influence child and youth well-being and
• to link the most effective measurement instruments to these domains.
In our presentation, we will introduce our research strategy and present our conclusions for survey design. As a basis, we will review existing approaches for measuring child and youth well-being, identify gaps and reveal best practice examples. The results of a rapid evidence assessment as well as semi-structured interviews among researchers and child and youth survey representants will point out the most important well-being domains to be considered for child and youth well-being across Europe and the preferred measurement approaches. We will also reconsider measurement concepts of well-being domains with respect to their ability to capture the information needed for most effective policies.
Our results reveal the need for developing new measurement instruments in certain domains that have recently become more relevant. Moreover, it is necessary to put more emphasis on subjective measures and design appropriate survey instruments according to different cohorts. This refers to the relevance of certain topics as well as the person providing information on our target group (the child or young person himself/herself, parents, teachers, etc.).
Our presentation focuses on the interplay between policies, well-being concepts and measurement approaches. By this means, we hope to contribute to a long-term improvement of child and youth well-being across Europe.

Engagement with Children and Young People in Studying Well-Being: Results from the European Cohort Development Project (ECDP)

Dr Maja Tadić Vujčić (Institute of social sciences Ivo Pilar) - Presenting Author
Professor Andreja Brajša Žganec (Institute of social sciences Ivo Pilar)
Dr Jessica Ozan (Manchester Metropolitan University)
Dr Jaroslav Mihálik (University of Saints Cyril and Methodius)

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Important note: This paper is part of the symposium "A comparative longitudinal survey of child well-being in Europe: challenges and solutions"

The European Cohort Development Project (ECDP) is a Design Study aims that aims to specify a business case for a European Research Infrastructure that will provide comparative longitudinal survey data on child and young people’s well-being from birth until the age of 25 across Europe. This is of high importance for policy makers as it will provide solid evidence on which to base their decisions. ECDP has a strong focus on engaging children and young people, as their input is essential for the successful development and implementation of the survey. Using a child-centered approach, the project stresses that survey instruments’ content, format and ways of implementation and interpretation should be developmentally valid and appropriate for child and youth as survey participants.
Hence, the project set up the Children and Young Person’s Advisory Groups in two countries (UK and Croatia), which captured their views and expectations on well-being and discussed important ethical issues (e.g. child consent, data protection, confidentiality). In this paper, we present the results of the workshops (i.e. focus groups) conducted in UK and Croatia with children aged 10 to 15 years. The results of this qualitative research show how children experience different aspects of well-being and what they consider to be the most important factors influencing their well-being. Moreover, this paper presents children and young people’s views on ethical issues affecting longitudinal survey design and their recommendations on how to improve consent forms. We will discuss our findings and their implications for practice and future studies, and particularly for the development of EuroCohort.

Piloting Large-Scale Longitudinal Survey of Child Well-Being in Europe: Approaches, Challenges and Solutions

Dr Toni Babarović (Ivo Pilar Institute of Social Sciences) - Presenting Author
Mr Pau Serracant (Catalan Youth Observatory)
Mrs Mireia Sala Torrent (Catalan Youth Observatory)
Professor Renata Franc (Ivo Pilar Institute of Social Sciences)

Conducting a pilot study prior to the actual, large-scale survey became a standard scientific tool used to test the research feasibility, its equipment and methods. Moreover, the pilot study can provide logistical and financial estimates for the main survey and the project can be steered more efficiently in terms of resources and time. Pilots can also play important role in attracting research grants as the piloting results can be placed before the funding bodies. This paper presents an overview of piloting practices in large-scale longitudinal surveys conducted in the field of social sciences. The focus is put on longitudinal and panel surveys and surveys conducted on children and youth. Also, the piloting model of the future European Cohort Development Survey will be presented and elaborated. The EDCP pilot is designed to mirror main study fieldwork as closely as possible in order to test all elements of fieldwork procedures. It is planned as a smaller scale version of the main study preceding each wave of the main research and assessing each cohort of children and youth. Specific challenges and problems that can occur in piloting cross-national panel cohort survey on children and youth will be discussed.

Making the Business/Funding Case: Challenges and Opportunities in the Assessment of the Policy Impact of Longitudinal Surveys

Dr Chris O'Leary (Manchester Metropolitan University)
Ms Aleksandra Szymczyk (Manchester Metropolitan University) - Presenting Author

Longitudinal surveys can provide unique insights that are invaluable to policy makers in the design, implementation, and evaluation of social policies. Yet because of the costs of such surveys, and completing demands for funding, survey teams are often asked to demonstrate the policy impact benefits of their work. Demonstrating such benefits can be challenging, both because surveys often have a 'wider influence' and not 'direct impact' on policy, but also because evidence works alongside competing political, emotional, and financial factors that might influence policy makers' decisions.

Drawing on work on the development of EuroCohort, this paper sets out the challenges and opportunities faced in attempts to demonstrate the policy impact of longitudinal surveys. EuroCohort is a proposed accelerated cohort study of children and young people's wellbeing in Europe, for which demonstrating the policy impact is a key requirement for initial funding and sustainability. Drawing on understandings of the policy process from the public administration and public policy literatures, as well as theories around knowledge mobilisation, this paper sets out the method by which, and the challenges faced, the EuroCohort team has demonstrating the potential policy impact of EuroCohort.