The West

Research job child�s play

It seems an obvious way to find out what children think of a children's theatre production - ask the audience.

But Spare Parts Puppet Theatre has gone one step further by recruiting children to interview their target audience as part of a groundbreaking research project.

Educational consultant Mathilda Joubert trained Year 6 and 7 students from Lance Holt primary school in research skills usually taught at university level.

The students will gather the views of younger children before and after attending Spare Parts' holiday production The Little Prince, then analyse the data and present their findings to the theatre.

Ms Joubert said research had found that children gave more honest answers and a much deeper insight into their perspective when questioned by other children.

"When adults ask a question, they give you the answer they think you want to hear," she said.

"If a child asks, they're much more prepared to be honest with a peer than they're prepared to with an adult who is a figure of authority."

Ms Joubert, who is working on a similar project to get children's views on the annual Channel 7 Christmas Pageant, said the benefit of the research method was that it gave organisations access to the authentic voice of children.

The West Australian

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