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Ethical Research Involving Children

Whose voice is it really? ethics of photovoice with children in health promotion.

Abma, T., Breed, M., Lips, S., & Schrijver, J. (2022). Whose voice is it really? ethics of photovoice with children in health promotion. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 21, Published Online Ahead of Print.

Abstract: Photovoice, a way of conducting research through pictures, is considered a child-friendly method to engage children in participatory research and social change but this practice can raise ethical dilemmas. These dilemmas have rarely been discussed in the literature. The aim of this article is to provide insight into the ethical dilemmas we faced using photovoice with children. It is grounded in a 4-year participatory health research project in two primary schools where we used photovoice alongside other creative and arts-based methods. We reflect critically on pressing ethical tensions and how we dealt with these dilemmas. Our logbooks and reflexive conversations were used as data sources. The findings reveal that everyday ethical dilemmas occurred throughout the project. These were sometimes anticipated but were often unexpected. Questions that arose included: ‘Who controls the outcome?’; ‘Photos to assess needs or to give voice?’; ‘Giving voice or aesthetics?’; ‘Who decides who is visible?’ and ‘Disrespectful and stereotypical representations?’ We conclude that ethical dilemmas in using photovoice with children deserve more attention to sensitize researchers and help them live up to the ideals of voice and empowerment.
Abstract reproduced with permission. The final, definitive version of this paper has been published online in the International Journal of Qualitative Methods,SAGE Publications, Ltd., All rights reserved. © [SAGE Publications, Ltd.].

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