The ethics of participatory research with children

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The ethics of participatory research with children

Recorded: July 2016

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Author: Nigel Thomas and Clare O’Kane

Publisher: Children and Society

Date: 1998

Geographic Coverage: International

Type of Resource: Ethics

Sector/setting: Unknown

Vulnerable groups: Children General

Developed with children and young people? Yes

Type of participation: Documenting participation

Availability: Restricted Access

Keywords: Best Interest, Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment



This paper argues that ethical problems in research involving direct contact with children can be overcome by using a participatory approach. A study of children’s participation in decisions when they are looked after is described in terms of how a view of the `social child'(James, 1995) shaped the approach to establishing contact with children, the choice of topics and methods of communication which were used, and the way in which children were given opportunities to interpret the data for themselves. The paper concludes with thes uggestion that a participatory approach can also assist with reliability and validity.