Ethical Research Involving Children

The active, competent child, capable of autonomous action: An inherent quality or the outcome of a research process?

Samuelsson, T., Sparrman, A., Cardell, D., & Lindgren, A.-L. (2015). The active, competent child, capable of autonomous action: An inherent quality or the outcome of a research process? AnthropoChildren, 5(July), pp. 1-19.

Abstract: The present article explores how “the active, competent child capable of autonomous action” is enacted through the methodological consequences of participant observations. The underlying idea is to investigate what ethnographic participant observations can tell us about child culture. Methodological choices and the ways in which researchers approach a field are not neutral processes. Moreover, the methodological choices made produce the ‘realities’ of the topic under study. The article highlights how a research project’s methodological outline, the way the field was approached, and the way the researcher and research participant interacted during the study enacted notions of the active, competent child capable of autonomous action in child culture. This is done by exploring – using detailed analyses of a single example – how research methodologies, in general, and participant observation, in particular, can tell us something about a research topic.

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