Violence affecting children (VAC) is a significant global health and human rights issue. This article highlights a new qualitative methodology, the Round Robin, for understanding the drivers of violence against children. Traditionally, qualitative research exploring VAC has focused on identifying the risk and protective factors which affect the likelihood a child will experience or witness violence. In recent years, scholars have recognised the need to situate children in their socio-cultural context and consider what causes risk and protective factors; that is, what drives violence at the structural and institutional levels of society. The Round Robin methodology sits within the participatory paradigm and contributes not only to the field of violence research, but to qualitative research more broadly, as it can be adapted to fit diverse social issues and contexts. The Round Robin combines focus groups and participatory techniques in an intensive three-day workshop model inspired by the World Café. In this paper, we firstly introduce the Round Robin methodology and situate it in relation to other approaches. We then describe and critique how the Round Robin methodology was piloted with 136 young people in Zimbabwe to identify drivers of violence affecting children. We then justify the methods used to collect data, and the strategy for data recording and analysis. We conclude by identifying the strengths and weaknesses we uncovered piloting this new methodology in Zimbabwe.


Round Robin, qualitative research, focus groups, participatory techniques, violence affecting children, Zimbabwe

Author Bio(s)

Professor Deborah Fry (https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5211-1296) has a Personal Chair of International Child Protection Research and is the Director of Data for Childlight – Global Institute for Child Safety at the University of Edinburgh. At Childlight, Deborah undertakes primary and secondary research to measure the prevalence, nature, drivers and consequences of violence against children with a specific focus on child sexual exploitation and abuse. She has led over 35 studies on violence against children with data from 114 countries globally including prevalence studies, systematic reviews, secondary analyses of data, evaluations of interventions as well as qualitative research.

Dr Tendai Charity Nhenga is the Director of the Child Rights Research Centre and Dean of the School of Law at Africa University. Tendai had undertaken several implementation research on violence with a special focus on the social determinants of violence against children; prevalence of school based violence in different categories of schools, impact of COVID-19 on violence against children, child labour and gender based violence. Of late she has been leading a series of health-related mixed method studies focusing on motivators and barriers to access to essential health care services during the COVID-19 pandemic; landscape analysis on the disability dimensions to health information system in Zimbabwe; the accessibility of COVID 19 vaccination and behavioural & social drivers of uptake among high risk and marginalised populations in Zimbabwe.

Noriko Izumi is currently Chief of Child Protection with UNICEF Myanmar. She has also held Chief of Child Protection position with UNICEF in several other countries including Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Nepal. Noriko has over 20 years of field operation experience with focus on programme design, implementation and management in the area of child protection in both development and humanitarian contexts. She has a M.A. in Sociology from University of Toronto, Canada.

Dr Bekkah Bernheim (https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6483-7622) is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration SW Peninsula, Department of Health and Community Sciences at the University of Exeter. Bekkah is working as part of a team on a realist evaluation. The project aims to understand how Family Group Conferences can be embedded as an alternative to Initial Child Protection Conferences to improve outcomes for children and families on the Child Protection pathway in England. Bekkah previously completed a PhD in Social Policy at the University of Edinburgh focused on identifying the gendered factors enabling and constraining young women’s daily journeys and their use of public space in Inverness, Scotland.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Tendai C. Nhenga-Chakarisa, Child Rights Research Centre, Africa University. Email: deanlaw@africau.edu

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