Ethical Research Involving Children

From relating to (re)presenting: Challenges and lessons learned from an ethnographic study with young children.

Dorner, L. M. (2015). From relating to (re)presenting: Challenges and lessons learned from an ethnographic study with young children. Qualitative Inquiry, 21(4), pp. 354-365.

Abstract: This article advances the conversation on conducting ethical research with children by examining the process and products of a longitudinal ethnographic study about the implementation of a new bilingual policy in one midwestern school district. Framed by “procedural ethics” and “ethics in practice,” and drawing from earlier considerations of power and representation, this re-analysis considers the following: What activities were designed to elicit children’s perspectives on the policy? How did the researcher and children relate to one another? How was children’s knowledge ultimately represented? The discussion concludes thus: As researchers address power imbalances, they must examine when and where real power shifts are ethical and desirable. Researchers must also create an “ethics-post-practice” to ensure ethical representation of children’s knowledge at the end of the process. (Abstract reproduced with permission. The final, definitive version of this paper has been published in Qualitative Inquiry, 21/4, April 2015, by SAGE Publications, Inc., All rights reserved. © SAGE Publications, Inc.).

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