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Ethical Research Involving Children

Trusting children’s accounts in research.

Dockett, S., & Perry, B. (2007). Trusting children’s accounts in research. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 5(1), pp. 47-63.

Abstract: Much of the current rhetoric in areas of child and family research and in early childhood education emphasizes the importance of listening to children in research that has a direct impact on them. Despite this, there remain qualms in some research contexts and amongst some researchers about the reliability, validity and generalizability of children’s research input. This article argues that engaging with children as research participants requires a commitment to, and the facilitation of, listening to and hearing their accounts in research. Drawing on research conducted in both New South Wales and Queensland, Australia, this article adopts the stance that children are active and effective participants in research. It examines selected protocols that stand to support such engagement. Specifi cally, it considers issues of ethics and research protocols, mechanisms of engagement, principles of co-construction of the research interaction, the analysis and dissemination of data, and negotiating the research space. This article contributes to methodological understandings of research with children. (The final, definitive version of this paper has been published in the Journal of Early Childhood Research, 5/1, Feb/2007 by SAGE Publications, Ltd., All rights reserved. © SAGE Publications, Ltd.).
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