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The Ethics of Research with Children and Young People

The Ethics of Research with Children and Young People
A Practical Handbook

176 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Ethical issues are a crucial consideration when researchers are working with children and young people. This clear and practical text informs students and researchers about all the relevant laws and guidelines that apply when they are conducting research with children and young people.

The Ethics of Research with Children and Young People cover ethics at every stage of research, and with all kinds of research participants, particularly focusing on those who are vulnerable or neglected. The authors break down the process of researching with children and young people into ten stages, each with its own set of related questions and problems, to help the reader understand the ethical issues which they need to address at each stage of their research.

This is an accessible, practical and passionate book and will be essential reading for anyone looking to conduct research with children or young people.

Defining Some Terms
Research Ethics
The Purpose of This Book: Starting from Uncertainty and the Question Format
Researchers as Insiders or Outsiders
The Contents of This Book
Planning the Research: Purpose and Methods
Two Basic Questions

Questions about Purpose and Methods

Is the Research Worth Doing?

Do Theories Matter?

Do Viewpoints Matter?

Do Methods Matter?

Three Phases in Growing Awareness of Research Ethics

Three Ethics Frameworks for Assessing Research

Uncertainty - The Basis of Ethical Research

Summary of Questions

Assessing Harms and Benefits


Risk, Cost, Harm and Benefit Assessments

Confusion in Risk-Benefit Assessments

Risk of Distress or Humiliation

Summary of Questions

Respect for Rights: Privacy and Confidentiality
Legal Rights to Confidentiality

Opt-in or Opt-out Access

Practical Respect

Privacy Rights

Data Protection Act 1998

Confidentiality or Acknowledgement?

Intimacy between Strangers: Research Interviews

Ethics and the Internet

Respecting Local Values

Privacy and Encouraging Freely Given Responses in Face-to-Face Contact

Does Traditional Ethics Cover Modern Research Experiences and Relationships?

Summary of Questions

Designing Research: Selection and Participation
Framing the Topics and Extent of the Research

Combining Respect, Inclusion and Protection

Does Traditional Ethics Cover Social Exclusion?

Images and Symbols

Beyond Inclusion to Participation: Children and Young People as Researchers

UN-Related Work With Young People

Respecting Young Researchers' Own Qualities

Summary Of Questions

Money Matters: Contracts, Funding Research and Paying Participants
Planning, Budgeting and Research Agendas

Ethics and Funding Sources

Carbon Costs

Ethics and Contracts

Freedom to Publish

Paying Young Researchers and Participants

Payments in Context

Summary of Questions

Reviewing Aims and Methods: Ethics Guidance and Committees
Review and Revision of Research Aims and Methods

Does Social Research Need Research Ethics Committees?

Recent Experiences with Research Ethics Committees

International Standards

A National Social Research Ethics Forum?

Summary of Questions

Spoken and Written Information

Research Information Leaflets

Leaflet Layout

Examples of Research Information Leaflets

Leaflets in Other Languages

Information in Semi-Literate Societies

Relevant Research?

Two-Way Information Exchanged Throughout the Research Study

Summary of Questions

Consent and Rights

The Meaning of Consent

Consent to Open-Ended Research


Consent and the Law

Consent by and for Children and Young People

Double Standards

Complications in Parental Consent

Defining and Assessing Competence to Consent

Levels of Involvement in Decision Making

Respecting Consent and Refusal

Consent to Longitudinal Research

Consent and Secondary Data Analysis

International Standards of Consent

Research and International Contexts

Why Respect Children's Consent?

General Questions about Children's Consent

Summary of Questions

Disseminating and Implementing the Findings
Involving Children in Data Analysis

Dissemination: Getting to the Heart of Debate and Change

Dissemination and Implementation: Children, Young People and Adults Working Together for Change

Problems with Dissemination

Creative Ways Round the Problems

Dissemination and the News Media

Critical Readers and Viewers

Underlying Attitudes to Children and The 3 Ps

Summary of Questions

The Impact on Children
What Collective Impact Can Research Have on Children and Young People?

Reviewing the Impact of Research on Children

Positive Images

Summary of Questions

Ways Forward for Individuals and Teams

Questions that Cannot be Solved by Individuals Alone

The Need for Social Research Ethics Authorities

Summary of National Policy

Is the Research Worth Doing?

And Finally

References And Index

Good consideration of the complex area of research with children.

Mrs Sam Lloyd-Parry
School of Health & Social Care, Coleg Sir Gar
December 5, 2012

This book is a very practical book for students to use in their work based learning modules. There is a good mix of theory behind the concepts while having a clear logical process to follow.
I will be recommending this text to students in all years of the foundation degree in Early years.

Mrs Diane Forsyth
Early Years, Peterborough Regional College
September 17, 2010

Priscilla Alderson

Priscilla Alderson is Emerita Professor of Childhood Studies at University College London Social Research Institute. She has been involved with medical research ethics committees for nearly 40 years, and more recently with committees that review social research. She has advised on the writing of research ethics guidelines for a range of medical, nursing, social and psychological authorities. She has researched many aspects of children’s lives and rights, from premature babies to young people aged up to 18 (see ResearchGate). Recent books include Childhoods, Real or Imagined: An Introduction to Critical Realism and Childhood Studies ... More About Author

Virginia Morrow

Virginia Morrow is Visiting Professor, UCL Social Research Institute, and Research Associate, Young Lives, Department of International Development, University of Oxford. Her main research interests are sociology and history of childhood, child labour and children’s work, children’s rights, methods and ethics of social research with children; children’s understandings of family and other social environments. She has been a member of numerous advisory groups and research ethics committees.  She is the author of numerous papers and reports and she was a co-editor of Childhood: A Journal of Global Child Research, 2006-2016, also published... More About Author

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