Questions about ethics
The ethical principles (such as respect, beneficence, non-maleficence and justice) underlying research are the same regardless of whether the participants are children or adults. However, the ethical considerations take on particular nuances (and challenges) in research with children. By virtue of children’s social status, perceived immaturity and vulnerability, ethical research with children requires special attention to affording children protection from harm and exploitation. At the same time, upholding children’s right to participate and be heard is critical to respecting their dignity and wellbeing. Such tensions in research with children, alongside significant issues of power and representation, require critical reflection and dedicated methodologies.
The Ethics Charter and Ethical Guidance are relevant to all types of research with children, across all sectors and disciplines and have been developed in consultation with researchers from a wide range of countries, sectors and disciplines. In-depth guidance for each specific sector is beyond the scope of the Ethical Guidance, however,where readily available sector and context specific ethical guidelines have been included in the Library section of our Resources webpage.
[toggle title=”In which cultural contexts can the Ethics Charter and Ethical Guidance be used?“]
The Ethics Charter and Ethical Guidance can be used in any and all cultural contexts. They are based on universal ethical principles and invite researchers to reflect on these in conjunction with the specific local context in which they are undertaking research involving children. The Ethical Guidance is not prescriptive in approach, thus has broader international and cultural application. It encourages researchers to look closely at their own cultural context and emphasises local consultation.