Exploring the nexus between participatory methods and ethics in early childhood research

Anne Graham
Mary Ann Powell
Julia Truscott
Southern Cross University

Early childhood research has been at the forefront of participatory approaches aimed at ensuring children’s involvement in research is appropriate, safe, enjoyable and meaningful. Central to this endeavour has been closer attention to key ethical considerations, most notably around young children’s informed consent. However, there is growing recognition within the research community that adopting participatory methodologies does not, in and of itself, denote ethical research practice. In this article, we explore the critically important nexus between ethics and method in the context of early childhood research. We then draw upon our experience in leading a major international initiative, the Ethical Research Involving Children (ERIC) project, to underline the efficacy of approaches that build on the ‘Three Rs’ of reflexivity, rights and relationships in furthering a culture of ethics within the burgeoning field of early childhood research.

Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Volume 41 Number 1 March 2016

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