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International Literature Review: Ethical Issues in Undertaking Research With Children and Young People

This paper reviews recent literature regarding ethical issues in research with children and young people. Although there is a significant body of literature on this topic, the paper finds that there is room for development and the opportunity for the UNCRC to take a leading role in driving ethical research with children in majority and minority world contexts.

Over the last two decades, developments within childhood studies have led to increased recognition of the importance of listening to children’s voices and experiences, and emphasis on their rights to participation and expression of their views is recognized in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

The ethical issue of consent has probably generated the most debate in regard to research with children. In the literature, informed consent rests on four core principles: consent involves an explicit act, for example, verbal or written agreement; consent can only be given if the participants are informed about and have an understanding of the research; consent must be given voluntarily without coercion; and consent must be renegotiable so that children may withdraw at any stage of the research process. 

Published 2014-06-27

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