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Children and families

Positioned at the cutting-edge of contemporary research on childhood, our research explores the interface between key areas of health, social care and education policy and practice and the lived experiences of children, young people and families. Specialist areas include: ‘different’ childhoods; youth and sport; young people’s health and wellbeing; gender identities; sexuality; migration; parenting; youth justice and contemporary youth cultures and transitions. Our researchers specialise in participatory methods and developing co-produced research agendas with children and young people.



The Childhoods, Youth and Sport Research Group

Our research employs a wide range of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, including developmental psychology, sociology, anthropology and ethnography, to address research questions in the areas of children’s, young people’s and sportspersons’ lived experiences and development.

The Children, Young People, Parenthood and Families Research Group

The Children, Young People, Parenthood and Families research group has a focus on social research into the lives of children and young people and their families, linking to to key areas of policy and professional practice across the health and social care sector.

A feet-up shot of two teenagers. One wears jeans ripped at the knees, one carries a skateboard

The Contemporary Youth Cultures and Transitions Research Group

The Contemporary Youth Cultures and Transitions Research Group (CYCaT) at The Open University brings together academic researchers – working across and between the boundaries of criminology, human geography, psychology, sociology, and education studies – alongside practitioners and youth activists.

The RUMPUS Research Group

The RUMPUS Research Group's key area of research is about how fun relates to learning and education.


Reading for Pleasure

The Teachers as Readers study (The Open University and UK Literacy Association) and other OU studies have established effective ways to support children's Reading for Pleasure (RfP). Based on the research, this consortium aims to support a vibrant professional community of teachers, student teachers, librarians and English leaders in order to nurture lifelong readers.