Ethical Research Involving Children

Children as co-researchers voicing their preferences in foods and eating: Methodological reflections.

Bergström, K., Jonsson, L., & Shanahan, H. (2010). Children as co-researchers voicing their preferences in foods and eating: Methodological reflections. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 34(2), pp. 183-189.

Abstract: There is an increasing and sustained interest in participatory research with children. We subscribe to these new perspectives by involving children as co-researchers investigating their preferences when it comes to foods and eating. The overall aim of the research project Sustainable Eating Children’s Way: Promoting Healthy Food Habits among Children 10–12 (Barn som medforskare i matlandskap) is to create an understanding of how children’s food habits can develop in healthier and more sustainable ways. The specific aim of this paper was to discuss the methods used in the first phase of the project in order to find an answer to the question: ‘Is it possible to gain a deeper and more nuanced understanding of children’s preferences in foods and eating?’ The research process in this project can be looked upon as two parallel processes: the overall one initiated by the senior research team and the one incorporating the children as co-researchers. The children participating were 10-year-olds attending two classes in the fourth grade of a Swedish government-funded school. We found the children knowledgeable and competent as co-researchers. Involving children in the research processes and giving them freedom to explore is a promising way of letting their voices be heard in health promotion programmes. (Published by arrangement with Wiley Subscription Services, Inc.).

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