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Ethical Research Involving Children

‘Baby cam’ and participatory research with infants: A case study of critical reflexivity.

Sumsion, J., Bradley, B., Stratigos, T., & Elwick, S. (2014). ‘Baby cam’ and participatory research with infants: A case study of critical reflexivity. In M. Fleer & A. Ridgway (Eds.), Visual Methodologies and Digital Tools for Researching with Young Children (Vol. 10, pp. 169-191). Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

Chapter abstract: Following Bourdieu (1998), Agbenyega (Chap. 3, this volume, p. x) reminds us of the importance of ‘reflexivity, reflectivity and critical mindfulness’ concerning the social worlds that we, as researchers, ‘conjure up’ in our research. Being critically reflexive and mindful requires us to interrogate our epistemological and ontological assumptions, the theoretical and methodological resources that we use, the practices in which we engage and the meanings that we assign. It involves looking beneath the surface, going beyond the commonly accepted, being wary of theoretical and methodological fads and attending to power relations and their effects. It also means recognising that our desires to formulate revolutionary ways of seeing (Agbenyega) may blind us to the limitations of those ways of seeing and lead us, inadvertently, to reproduce the social, theoretical and methodological status quo and in doing so possibly exacerbate the inequities that we may have set out to address. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a case study of critical reflexivity and mindfulness concerning our use of ‘baby cam’ (our term for small head-mounted cameras worn by children aged up to approximately 18 months) in our endeavours to understand babies and toddlers’ experiences of early childhood settings from the perspective of the children themselves. In particular, we consider the extent to which baby cam might be considered a participatory approach to researching with infants, insights it might enable and/or constrain and ethical dilemmas it can create. (Reproduced with permission. © Springer International.)

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