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Research involving children

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Conducting research with children
MAIN TYPES OF EXPERIMENTS INVOLVE CHILDREN:
 ASKING CHILDREN ABOUT THEIR FEELINGS, EXPE...

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Consent
Consent is of essential importance in conducting ethical research. However, in case
of children it is very differe...

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Extra tips:
 Incentives are useful to offer during research, where appropriate, such as thanking
participants each time, ...

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Research involving children

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This slide is part of a collection of exam revision slides from Atypical Child Development. The slides have been created by me, and based on several different research papers. The slides were created for essay exam.

This slide is part of a collection of exam revision slides from Atypical Child Development. The slides have been created by me, and based on several different research papers. The slides were created for essay exam.

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Research involving children

  1. 1. Conducting research with children MAIN TYPES OF EXPERIMENTS INVOLVE CHILDREN:  ASKING CHILDREN ABOUT THEIR FEELINGS, EXPERIENCES AND OPINIONS (I.E. FACE TO FACE INTERVIEWS, INTERVIEWING PARENTS, QUESTIONNAIRE)  OBSERVING CHILDREN’S BEHAVIOUR (I.E. MONITORED EXPERIMENTS OR ACTIVITIES, OBSERVING CHILDREN IN UNCONTROLLED SITUATIONS TO SEE HOW THEY REACT)  ANALYSING INFORMATION FROM FILES ABOUT CHILDREN (I.E. SOCIAL CARE RECORDS, SCHOOL RECORDS, SERIOUS CASE REVIEWS) (NSPCC, 2014)
  2. 2. Consent Consent is of essential importance in conducting ethical research. However, in case of children it is very different from adult consent:  Children under the age of 16 cannot legally give consent to participation in research  In this case, parents/guardian/care giver has to sign the consent form  However, it is also possible – and recommended- to seek the child’s consent as well to ensure they are willing participants  Children and parents equally have to be informed of the right to withdraw the child or the child her/himself from the research at any time  Children also need to informed about the right and given contact details in case they wish to make a complaint and childrens’ complaints need to be adequately represented (NSPCC, 2014)
  3. 3. Extra tips:  Incentives are useful to offer during research, where appropriate, such as thanking participants each time, or vouchers, sweets or little tokens  Children might time to time “withdraw” from the study, by saying “no” or being non- responsive, pulling away or ignoring the researchers requests. This is not necessarily a permanent withdrawn, however researchers need to understand these signs of unwillingness to ensure sensitivity to child’s wishes. (Skanfors, 2009)  Retrospective Consent: In some researches it is not possible to obtain consent before hand (observational research) however the same consent procedure is required as in normal cases after observation happened  It is good practice to employ translation of final report into languages of participants, to avoid exclusion of other communities, and a simple report ( what the child can understand) could be produced as well to ensure positive and inclusive experience (NSPCC, 2014)
  4. 4. Critical view:  Research consent procedure is primarily adult- proxy oriented, which makes it highly questionable whether the research is truly child- oriented  Caution of course must be taken, to consider children's’ potential for exploitation, however should not stop thoughtful, well- thought out and well- designed research to be undertaken. (Carter, 2009)  This approach views children as vulnerable and homogenous group, with no consideration to the diversity of children in terms of capabilities, capacities to understand, which in the other hand makes reviewers adopt an overly cautious attitude towards “barbarian researchers” (Carter, 2009 pp. 863)  Children are defined by their “otherness” to adults or “negatively defined”; so they are defined by what they are not in comparison to adult capabilities, lower language skills, less rational, incomplete, pre-social (Alanen, 1999)
  5. 5. Abused children In case of abused children and similarly sensitive topics, it is important to consider:  They can find participating stressful  The possibility to re-awaken old distressing feelings and memories  Research may uncover hidden or supressed feelings  Participation may create additional concerns (Gorin et al, 2008) There must be a balance between the need of the researcher and the need to protect the child from further harm by:  Assessing beforehand the damage participation may cose  Assessing resilience  Avoid interviewing children in the house or room where abuse took place  Researchers have to consider before hand if involvement of children is truly necessary (Gorin et al, 2008)
  6. 6. Pre-assessment According to Mental Capacity Act (1990): Children need to assessed on their mental capacity to:  make choice about the proposed course of action  Knows about the risks, benefits and alternatives  Understanding that consent is voluntary and continuing permission  Understands that consent can be withdrawn at any time
  7. 7. Consider as researcher  The standards tend to link to factors specific to each individual: such as, age, gender, ethnicity, ability, maturity and personal experience. Also relevant are the individual’s hopes, fears, values, life-plans, temperament and degree of independence and assertiveness and willingness to take risks.  Yet it is equally vital to consider factors around the individual: Are they usually encouraged to share knowledge and decisions or not? Are they used to being listened to? What is the research setting like, welcoming or intimidating? What research is being discussed, how complex is it? Has the potential participant been told all the main points? How is information provided? Is it written down in a way the participant can understand, by summarising key points in a leaflet? Is that appropriate for your sample?  Consider how to find enough time and a quiet space to talk. You also need to make sure that the researchers are skilful and confident about sharing information, overcoming language barriers, using appropriate language – e.g. using simple words, and responding to the individual’s cues and body language. (Research ethics guidebook, n.d.)

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