The study is designed around a core set of modules and principles that are replicated across all the study sites. These include participation of children aged between 8-14 years of age; an ethnographic component documenting the fieldwork setting; completion of several fieldwork stages, including:

  • Qualitative interviews with children involving open questions about important places, important people, important activities and so on from their perspective. The purpose of this stage is to work inductively from children’s narratives to identify key concepts regarding well-being as experienced in their everyday contexts.
  • A second set of qualitative interviews that explore children’s understandings of the concepts that have arisen in the first interviews in a more detailed way and also children’s understandings of some of the salient domains and concepts used in existing studies of children’s well-being.
  • Additionally individual fieldwork teams can choose to work with the participants to create short films where children prioritize topics they wish to convey to children in other parts of the world. Films created in one site are presented to children in other parts of the world, obtaining their interpretations of what children in other national contexts prioritise as important and recording their responses to other children’s understandings and experiences of well-being.

Through this methodology, the study attempts to be sensitive to value orientations and explicitly analyse how value orientations are constructed as part of enacting social and cultural contexts. By allowing for the direct participation of research subjects the study attempts to capture the richness of experiences of well-being, what it means and how it is constituted from children’s perspectives. The study explores what domains of well-being are important to children through a focus on the complexities of children’s own practices and perceptions and situates these practices (as an assumption) within the complex networks of relations and institutions that constitute childhoods in different parts of the world (including potentially the familial, peer, educational or political-economic).