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Ethical Research Involving Children

Conducting research with children: The limits of confidentiality and child protection protocols.

Williamson, E., Goodenough, T., Kent, J., & Ashcroft, R. (2005). Conducting research with children: The limits of confidentiality and child protection protocols. Children & Society, 19(5), pp. 397-409.

Abstract: This paper addresses the issue of child protection protocols within research conducted with children. Based partly on primary data this paper raises questions about the role of ethics committees in defining the limits of confidentiality in relation to child protection protocols within research, the perceptions of both children and parents about the meanings of confidentiality and notions of ‘harm’, and the role of the researcher in relation to legal and professional guidance about the protection of vulnerable people in society. We explore the concept of confidentiality within a research setting from a child protection perspective. In doing so we examine the legal and moral obligations of researchers to report child protection concerns, how children themselves perceive ‘harm’, and the need for much clearer guidance to researchers, as well as child participants and parents, about the limitations of confidentiality. (Abstract published by arrangement with Wiley Subscription Services, Inc.).

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