Welcome to the website for the international ‘ERIC’ (Ethical Research Involving Children) project. ERIC is focused on assisting researchers and others in understanding what it means to plan and conduct ‘ethical’ research involving children and young people in different geographical, social, cultural and methodological contexts.
In recent years significant emphasis has been placed on the value, importance and legitimacy of research that captures the views and perspectives of children and young people. Much has now been written about why this is important and how such research can be approached, including with quite young children, others considered ‘vulnerable’, on issues identified as ‘sensitive’, and using a range of research methods and tools. Yet, many researchers still report feeling quite isolated in their research activities, particularly when it comes to making informed decisions about complex issues, such as how to balance the protection of children while progressing their participation in research.
It is the intention of ERIC to help ensure the human dignity of children is honoured and their rights and wellbeing are respected in all research, regardless of context. While the information provided on this website will go some way in achieving this, the critically important element is you – your attitudes, values, beliefs, assumptions and practice – since these ultimately shape the research experience for children much more than any checklist possibly can.
This website has been specifically designed to not only provide a rich repository of evidence-based information and resources to guide and improve research involving children, but also to encourage critical reflection, dialogue and collegiality within and across the international research community.
We hope you will find this website useful in not only reflecting critically on what it means to do ‘ethical’ research but also on your understandings of the children and young people involved in your research and the diverse childhoods they experience. We warmly welcome your comments, suggestions and contributions.