We like to play fun games with kids!
As part of our data collection process, we travel to schools in Belfast to play games with children between the ages of 6-10 years old. Before we travel to a primary school for data collection, consent forms, an information sheet about the study and a brief background questionnaire are sent home for parents to complete and return if they would like for their child to be involved. Trained researchers from the Helping Kids! team then visit the school and invite the children with parental consent to individually play a set of games for about 10-20 minutes. Children have shared that the games are fun and overall enjoyable.
During the game session, children complete tasks assessing an array of attributes: empathy, intergroup attitudes, outgroup attitudes, social identity, recognition of social cues and categories, perspective taking ability and prosocial behaviour. These tasks employ fun, child friendly measures, which ensure that the child knows how to complete the task and feels comfortable taking part.
Following the completion of the tasks, the child is thanked for taking part in the study and they are allowed to select a prize from the ‘prize bag’. As an additional token of appreciation, they are awarded an ‘honorary child scientist’ certificate from the school of Psychology at Queens University Belfast. The child is also given the opportunity to ask the experimenter any questions they may have pertaining to the study. If they have no further questions, they are returned to class.
Throughout the 17′-18′ academic year, the Helping Kids! project involved our international cohorts from the Balkans, Ana Tomovska Misoska and Edona Maloku Berdyna, and their excellent teams. Initial results and analyses are exploring the parallels and differences in these post-accord settings with Northern Ireland.