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Ethical Research Involving Children

Using a picture book to gain assent in research with young children.

Pyle, A. & Danniels, E. (2016). Using a picture book to gain assent in research with young children. Early Child Development and Care, 186(9), pp.1438-1452.

Abstract: There has been a shift in perspective from viewing children as adults-in-the-making to individual agents, possessing the right and the competence to meaningfully participate in research. Many researchers are striving to obtain informed assent from young children prior to their participation in research. Methodological concerns have been presented which differ from traditional consent for adults, many related to language and process issues. In light of these, an assent protocol utilising a picture book that included photographs of young children engaged in research activities was developed to help capture children’s interest and aid in their understanding of the research project. Children in two separate studies were presented with the book and demonstrated their understanding through engaging in meaningful discussion about the research process, assenting, and dissenting to participate. Important process considerations are discussed, along with the appropriateness of using a picture book to gather informed assent from young children. (Abstract © Taylor & Francis, reprinted by special permission from Taylor & Francis Group, a division of Informa UK,

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