Our research programmes are developed through partnership (with schools, playgroups, hospitals, youth groups and other users of research such as international NGOs, e.g., the Bernard van Leer Foundation and the World Health Organization). Our research priorities engage with the diversity of childhoods (for example, related to social, economic and cultural contexts) and the diversity of children’s lived experiences (for example, related to poverty and disadvantage, age, gender, parenting/family experiences, abilities, disabilities and mental health). Allied to this, our international research has a strong policy/practice focus, notably in respect of early childhood care and education, the marketing of unhealthy food to children.

Our interdisciplinary team of sports researchers, led by Dr Helen Owton, undertakes reasearch projects which are ultimately aimed at educating, understanding and improving the lives of athletes. The multi-disciplinary team draws upon a range of approaches and methodological expertise (including: auto/ethnography, phenomenology, narrative inquiry, grounded theory, creative analytical practices) spanning across numerous disciplines including psychology, sociology, nutrition, strength and conditioning and biomechanics. Qualitative and quantitative research sporting projects cover particular expertise of different sports including, athletic injury, post traumatic growth, maltreatment/abuse, identity, embodiment, and specific sports activities. Their research blog can be accessed at http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/sport-research-group.