Being a Grandparent: Research Evidence, Key Themes and Policy Recommendations

 Bob Broad,
 The Grandparents Association
 ISBN 978-0-952026785,

 Star rating 3/5

Bob Broad has done well to find and review 122 articles and books on an increasingly important topic – the issues faced in being a grandparent and fulltime carer, writes Robert Bullard.

The coverage is exhaustive – from childcare and class, to legislation and learning – and much of the research uncovered is important (for example, grandparents as confidantes after divorce and separation) and useful (ethnicity and changing family structures).

But the booklet, though well presented, is confined to a review of the literature rather than an introduction to the topic, and as such may be of more use to researchers than
practitioners, and those already familiar with the subject. It catalogues the evidence – even when there is little to summarise – but it lacks a narrative thread or, until the
recommendations, a clear policy stance. The issues are rarely introduced or their significance explained, and it is the research evidence rather than the reviewer that speaks.

As a result, the potential impact of the booklet – that might, for example, have been achieved by including quotes from grandparents, examples of good practice, or the work of support organisations – may be lost.

This is an informative piece of research, but one to dip into for information and ideas, rather than to sit down and read and be inspired by.

Robert Bullard is a freelance journalist. He writes on social care and rural issues for the national press

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