Ethical Research Involving Children

Social research and the privacy and participation of children: Reflections on researching Australian children’s playlore.

Darian-Smith, K., & Henningham, N. (2014). Social research and the privacy and participation of children: Reflections on researching Australian children’s playlore. Children & Society, 28(4), pp. 327-338.

Abstract: Social research into the daily activities of children is important if we are to understand how children perceive themselves in relationship to their world. Ethically managed social research that allows children to speak as informed and competent subjects is thus vital. However, research regulatory bodies may be more concerned with protecting the privacy of children than facilitating their participation in research projects. In a context where publicly funded researchers are encouraged to make their data available for reuse, the bureaucratisation of the consent and ethics processes may impinge on the conduct and benefits, and the future accessibility, of the research itself. Reflecting on the findings of the Childhood, Tradition and Change research on playlore in Australian primary schools, we argue for a more balanced approach from regulatory authorities between protection and participation in relation to low-risk social research with children. (Abstract published by arrangement with Wiley Subscription Services, Inc.).

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