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Ethical Research Involving Children

Research ethics in practice: Challenges of using digital technology to embed the voices of children and young people within programs for fathers who use domestic violence.

Lamb, K., Humphreys, C., & Hegarty, K. (2020). Research ethics in practice: Challenges of using digital technology to embed the voices of children and young people within programs for fathers who use domestic violence. Research Ethics, Published on-line ahead of print.

Abstract: There has been growing enthusiasm amongst those who undertake research with children, for the development of participatory and visual research methods. The greater availability and affordability of digital technology (such as digital cameras, tablets and smart phones) has meant that there has been greater scope for digital technology to support participatory research methods, or augment more traditional qualitative research methods. While digital technology provides new opportunities for qualitative researchers, they also come with a series of challenges – some of which have been grappled with by those using more traditional research methods but also some which are new. Our study was undertaken in Victoria, Australia, and used a combination of interviews, focus groups and digital storytelling to bring together two strands of work which have historically occurred separately: work with children experiencing domestic violence and programs for men who use domestic violence. While digital storytelling proved to be an effective method of engaging children and young people in the research, a range of challenging ethical issues emerged. Some of these issues were considered as part of the formal ‘procedural ethics’ process, but additional and more challenging issues relating to anonymity and the complex safety considerations of using of the children?s digital stories within programs for men who use violence and dissemination emerged in practice. It is hoped that sharing our experiences and decision-making will contribute to the knowledge base for others considering engaging in sensitive research using digital technology.

Abstract reproduced with permission. The final, definitive version of this paper has been published on-line ahead of print in Research Ethics by SAGE Publications, Ltd., All rights reserved. © SAGE Publications, Ltd.

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