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Ethical Research Involving Children

On, to, with, for, by: ethics and children in research.

Bodén, L. (2021). On, to, with, for, by: Ethics and children in research, Children’s Geographies, Published online ahead of print.

Abstract: The ethics of the participation of children in research have attracted the attention of childhood researchers for thirty years. By analysing central scholarly work in childhood sociology and in early childhood education research, the aim of this paper is to unfold, but also queer how ethics are articulated within literature that discusses children in research. Through the methodology of tracing-and-mapping, a map is constructed that displays how children in research are articulated in relation to the prepositions on, to, with, for and by. The map shows how these prepositions form a value scale, underpinned by certain philosophical assumptions about ethics. By relating this to a randomized control trial (RCT) study performed in Swedish preschools, the paper highlights the fact that it is not necessarily more ethical if the research is done by children, than on children. This contributes to a renewed and extended reflection on ethics, that throughly problematize a placing of research on a ‘scale of ethics’ – ranging from bad to good. (Abstract © Taylor & Francis, reprinted by special permission from Taylor & Francis Group, a division of Informa UK,

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