Ethical Research Involving Children

Access and gatekeeping in researching children’s sexuality: Mess in ethics and methods.

Sparrman, A. (2014). Access and gatekeeping in researching children’s sexuality: Mess in ethics and methods. Sexuality & Culture, 18(2), 291-309.

Abstract: There is a general idea that research methods help researchers investigate realities “out there”. Recent arguments, however, suggest that research methods are themselves productive, i.e., we can learn about a research topic by investigating aspects and details of the methods used in a research process. The present text investigates methods for gaining access to a research field in a project examining young children’s own (age 9–12 years) notions of sexuality. The article explores how and by whom the issue of children and sexuality is enacted as sensitive when trying to negotiate access to the research field. A whole variety of actors are involved in enacting children’s sexuality: institutions, groups of people, individuals, images, and architectural arrangements. The analysis reveals relationships in which fears, responsibilities, and the cultural attribution of vulnerability (sensitivity) are negotiated by adults, children, and the researcher. (Abstract reproduced with permission © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2014).

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