Ethical Research Involving Children

Multiple methods, complex dilemmas: Negotiating socio-ethical spaces in participatory research with disadvantaged children.

Abebe, T. (2009). Multiple methods, complex dilemmas: Negotiating socio-ethical spaces in participatory research with disadvantaged children. Children’s Geographies, 7(4). pp. 451-465.

Abstract: The paper explores the methodological and socio-ethical dilemmas of researching with disadvantaged children in two contrasting fieldwork settings in Ethiopia. The challenges of adhering to dominant, ‘Western’ ethical principles and of creating and sharing ethical spaces during fieldwork are discussed. It is argued that research ethics originating in the Global North entail standards that are difficult to apply in social, cultural and economic contexts elsewhere, and that these needed to be reworked in reflexive ways during fieldwork. The indeterminate nature of grounded field research and the fluidity of its unfolding directions, not only make the contextualization of universal ethics in local ethos about childhood necessary. The paper also highlights how fieldwork with children is a morally contested terrain embedded in and through personal, social and ethical spatiality (Soja 2001, Massey 2005). Some questions are raised that require further consideration in research with children in similar circumstances. (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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