Ethical Research Involving Children

How we used moral imagination to address ethical and methodological complexities while conducting research with girls in school against the odds in Kenya.

Kiragu, S., & Warrington, M. (2013). How we used moral imagination to address ethical and methodological complexities while conducting research with girls in school against the odds in Kenya. Qualitative Research, 13(2), pp. 173-189.

Abstract: This article presents a reflection on the ethical and methodological complexities experienced when conducting research in schools in Kajiado district, Kenya, which sought to understand why some girls were in school in spite of the socio-cultural and economic problems they faced. Three complexities are discussed (positionality and power between the teachers, girls and researchers, confidentiality of girls’ information, and researchers personal involvement and advocacy). A framework of moral imagination is used to deconstruct the process of moral and ethical decision-making that took place in response to these complexities. This involves the researcher taking a position that strives, not simply to ‘do no harm’, but to go one step further and to ‘do good’, within a context of social justice. The article is drawn from an ongoing longitudinal study on girls ‘against the odds’. In the pilot study reported here, four primary schools were involved and interviews were carried out with 24 girls, alongside observations of the surrounding environment and informal conversations with eight teachers. (The final, definitive version of this paper has been published in Qualitative Research, 13/2, 04/2013 by SAGE Publications, Ltd., All rights reserved. © Sage Publications Ltd.)
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