Research shows that play has many benefits for children, families and the wider community, as well as improving health and quality of life. PlayBoard undertakes research and evaluation to inform, shape and influence practice and policy for children and families in Northern Ireland. Our work focuses on growing an evidence base for play and establishing best practice, we do this by:

  • Developing and promoting research to provide an evidence base to improve children and young people’s lives through knowledge and understanding about play;
  • Measuring and evaluating the impact of our programmes as a whole, and supporting our membership organisations to refine and develop interventions and evaluate their impact;
  • Demonstrating the difference our services make to children and young people’s lives;
  • Supporting organisations to refine promising programmes and developing processes to help ensure that evidence-based programmes are delivered as intended, with fidelity to what makes them effective.

Our work focuses on generating the data and evidence that decision-makers need in order to make informed decisions that will improve children’s outcomes. Alongside this an ethos of reflective practice underpins and informs a culture of stakeholder engagement in using and learning from evidence.

Participation with Children and Young People

PlayBoard’s research activity also focuses on the importance of play through children’s participation in decision making and involving children in the research process and children’s right-based research methods.

“All people, however young are entitled to be participants in their own lives, to influence what happens to them, to be involved in creating their own environments, to exercise choices and to have their views respected and valued” (Lansdown 2005).

Participation is the process by which children and young people can influence decision-making which affects their lives to bring about positive change. Playboard supports children and young people to become strong, competent, social actors so that they can effectively participate in decisions that affect them, have their voices heard, valued and respected. We fundamentally believe that it is important for children and young people to have a say in the making of laws and policies, in designing and evaluating services and facilities that will affect them. We have developed and trained a group of children and young people to become peer researchers who have effectively conducted their own research in relation to their right to play (General Comment 17, UNCRC). We have also actively consulted with children to have their say on a number of policy strategies such as Towards a Childcare Strategy and Delivering Social Change.

10 children and young people trained to become peer researchers

111 give their perceptions on their right to play

432 children have their say within policy consultations

Research and Evaluation Reports

Over the coming months we will be adding research and reports to this section.