What is research?

Research involves collecting and analysing data to answer a particular question. For example, EPIC have done research on young people’s experiences of taking part in their Child in Care Reviews (published in 2014).

Research can be done in many different ways, for example, by using surveys, carrying out interviews or doing a focus group. These are examples of primary research, where the information is collected from research participants. Secondary sources of data can also be used – this means information that already exists, for example, official statistics, published literature reviews and other research studies.

EPIC carry out both primary and secondary research to provide a better understanding of the important issues facing children and young people in care or young adults with care experience. EPIC is also involved in research being done by other organisations in relation to children and young people in care, for example, the Children’s Mental Health Coalition.

Doing research usually involves most of the following steps:


Ethical Principles

There are important ethical principles to take into account when doing primary research, in particular:

  • Voluntary informed consent – make sure that research participants know what is involved in taking part and agree voluntarily to do so
  • Confidentiality and anonymity – all the data should be confidential and nobody who took part should be identified (except where someone says something that raises concerns about their safety or that of someone else).
  • Doing no harm – ensure that taking part in the research will not have negative results for participants both during and after they take part.
  • Respectful and non-judgemental – listen to what people say and avoid making disapproving comments.


Why do research?
  • To find out more information about a particular issue, especially something that may not have been researched before.
  • To obtain other people’s point of view and get a better understanding of their experiences.
  • To contribute to current knowledge and provide more evidence about a topic.
  • To build links with other people doing research in the same area.
  • To make recommendations for change where needed.
Using research to make change?

It is important to have supporting evidence when making any recommendations for change especially in relation to government policy. Sometimes change can be slow and it may take many research reports all saying the same thing before change happens.

Information gathered through EPIC’s research informs EPIC’s national advocacy work, which campaigns for change in current practise and government policy affecting young people in care.

Latest Research Report

Advocacy Case Report 2014

Advocacy Case Report 2014

Report on EPIC Advocacy Cases 2014 This report gives an overview of the EPIC Advocacy cases in 2014. It presents a profile of the young people who sought advocacy support, identifies the main presenting issues and key actions taken by EPIC to address their concerns. The aim of EPIC’s advocacy work is to empower children in care and young people with care experience to have a say in issues that significantly affect their lives. The nature of EPIC’s role can vary from providing basic information, for example, in relation to social welfare entitlements, to providing practical support, such as assisting a young person to find an education course or appropriate accommodation. At the highest level of engagement, one of the EPIC Advocacy team may be asked by a young person to represent their views on their behalf, for example, by attending a care or aftercare review meeting. This is the sixth annual report on EPIC Advocacy cases, the first of which was in 2009. The number of Advocacy cases has increased substantially over these six years – from 61 in 2009 to 371 in 2014. In October 2012, EPIC employed six additional staff members including a National Advocacy Service Manager and four Advocacy Officers (two for the Dublin Mid-Leinster region and two for the Southern region). This increased the number of EPIC Advocacy Officers from three to seven. In 2014, there was a total of 184 new Referrals to EPIC. The data presented in this report will help to inform the future development of EPIC’s Advocacy work. In addition, the issues raised will contribute to EPIC’s research and policy... read more
EPIC Research

“It’s About Me”. Young People’s Experiences of Participating in their Care Reviews 










Outcomes for Young People Leaving Care in North Dublin

Summary Report











Full Report











Report on EPIC Advocacy Cases 2013



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