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Ethical Research Involving Children

Ethics and researching young children’s digital literacy practices.

Flewitt, R. (2019). Ethics and researching young children’s digital literacy practices. In Erstad, O., Flewitt, R., Kümmerling-Meibauer, B., & Pereira, Í.S.(Eds.). The Routledge Handbook of Digital Literacies in Early Childhood (Chapter 4). Routledge: London. ebook ISBN: 9780203730638.

Chapter Abstract: This chapter considers the ethics of doing research about young children’s offline and online digital literacy practices. It looks at three places to understand the complexity of factors that bring to bear on research ethics in this field: to the past, present and imagined future of digital technologies in social life and in social research. The chapter describes the genealogy of universal research ethics codes and focuses on their usefulness when planning. It discusses research about young children’s digital practices, focusing on the familiar concepts of voluntary informed consent, confidentiality, privacy and anonymity, potential benefits and harm, and research integrity and quality. The chapter explores the growing influence of institutional research ethics governance on research practice and proposes a reflective, situated and dialogic ethics framework to guide future development in this field. Research ethics can be designed and developed as dialogic, where researchers and participants share in decision-making and co-construct an ethical framework through the social process of conducting research.

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