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Ethical Research Involving Children

Practical approaches to seeking assent from children.

Kumpunen, S., Shipway, L., Taylor, R.M., Aldiss, S., & Gibson, F. (2012). Practical approaches to seeking assent from children. Nurse Researcher, 19(2), pp. 23-27.

Aim: To describe and evaluate two approaches–a storyboard and a wordsearch–that the authors used with children aged four to 12 years to obtain assent.

Background: The assent process is vital in helping children to understand the elements of a research project and to make a choice of whether or not to participate. However, the methods for obtaining assent are not well documented.

Data sources: Two researchers’ thematic reviews of the primary researcher’s field notes, taken during a study of eating problems during chemotherapy.

Discussion: The assent process appeared to be an enjoyable, positive experience for many children. They appeared to understand what participation entailed–that it was voluntary and that they had a choice.

Conclusion: When using child-centred techniques, children are aware of what being in a research study will mean to them.

Implications for practice: Researchers can be confident in gaining assent from children as young as five years.

Publisher’s Link
Open Access

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