Ethical Research Involving Children

Engaging with children as co-researchers: Challenges, counter-challenges and solutions.

Bradbury-Jones, C., & Taylor, J. (2015). Engaging with children as co-researchers: Challenges, counter-challenges and solutions. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 18(2), pp. 161-173.

Abstract: Participatory approaches have become de rigueur in social research involving children. A growing trend is research by children where researchers engage (or employ) children as co-researchers or primary researchers. In this paper, we critique the ethical, methodological and practical issues associated with this participatory approach. The discussion is framed around six challenges: (1) Children lack research competence; (2) A comprehensive training programme is required; (3) Insider/outsider perspectives are difficult to balance; (4) Remuneration is complex; (5) Power differentials need to be overcome; and (6) Children need to be protected. For each challenge we propose a counter-challenge. Additionally, we offer pragmatic solutions to the issues raised, so that the paper holds practical utility to social researchers who utilise this type of participatory approach. Overall we argue that despite the approach?s inherent challenges, children as researchers are a powerful conduit for other children?s voices. (Abstract © Taylor & Francis, reprinted by special permission from Taylor & Francis Group, a division of Informa UK, http://www.tandf.co.uk).

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