Year: 2005
Working paper number: 103
Author: Bray, Rachel
Unit: SSU

Guidelines on ethical practice in research with children tend to focus on ways to protect children from potential economic and emotional exploitation. While such concerns deserve attention, we argue that they represent only a portion of the moral framework in which researchers and participants operate. Through an analysis of children's engagement in a long term ethnographic study, where their participation involved both providing and gathering data, we show the interconnections between so-called 'research activities' and young people's everyday decision-making. Children's participation in research takes place within existing and emerging relationships. Decision-making based on values – on the part of both children and adults – is part and parcel of these relationships. This paper demonstrates the need to engage with children's moral worlds seriously while planning and conducting social research.

Publication file: wp103.pdf