In Covid times, organizations insist on participation and try to reach many respondents through surveys. Those initiatives coming from the academic world, NGO’s are a real necessity. As I completely support those initiatives, I wanted to highlight positive signs in what has been done so far for children and parents with two examples and also give some tips for more accessibility.
My first example is the worldwide survey for children under Covid (Covid under 19): I find it a great initiative and am very supportive when children are asked their views from a child rights perspective and with the purpose to gain better information about their experiences in a respectful way with a very professional and multidisciplinary approach. The survey was translated in many languages and an accessibility effort was made through a facilitator’s guide and by contacting organizations who could help children fill in the survey with the help of an assisting adult.
I understand how difficult it is to think about everything when designing a survey. But a survey is part of the participative tool kit to get return from citizens and as events, documents, … It should be accessible for all.
For parents in Belgium a phone line was organized for parents (SOS parents) along with an online survey. The initiative is embedded in a continuum of research and other online testing is foreseen on the website: https://en.burnoutparental.com/test-pba
The project and organizers have a very important message to convey: parental burn out should be known because it can be prevented and parents can be supported.
The project tests all means of access and tried to reach all types of families. Which really seemed to have worked when we read the results “feedback from the phone line came from all types of families” https://www.laligue.be/leligueur/articles/le-confinement-a-des-effets-tres-contrastes-sur-le-burnout-parental
So for children, it shouldn’t be different. The council of Europe (children) has issued a participation assessment tool clearly stating participation should be inclusive in its requirements. With a very relevant question we should ask at the very beginning of a project: “Are there any measures in place to facilitate access for more marginalized or excluded children?” Accessibility is often seen as a compensation measure, at the end of the process, whereas all professionals working in the field are asking for society to adopt principles of universal design. It should also be done online, and probably therefore the Accessibility act has selected most of its scope to bridge the digital gap.
In times of crisis, surveys have sometimes been less accessible than the ones designed before that period.
Accessibility is about Easy read, using visuals when reinforcing context, structuring, contrasting colors, reducing the number of manipulations and clicks, cognitive strategies of your respondents. This requires a know- how and the respect of international guidelines and best practices.