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June 16 , 2008

Children as co-researchers: The need for protection


Participatory approaches are becoming increasingly popular in research involving children. A growing trend is research by children where researchers engage or employ children as co-researchers or primary researchers. Caroline Bradbury-Jones explores the ethical, methodological, practical and protection issues associated with this participatory approach and provides a range of practical solutions to these issues. Among the key issues that are discussed are those of assessing children’s competence; ensuring sufficient preparation; the balancing of insider/outsider perspectives; the need for appropriate remuneration; overcoming power differentials between children and adults and the safeguarding of the children working as co-researchers. The author’s pragmatic approach and the solutions proposed to overcome the issues raised by such projects will assist researchers who engage with children as co-researchers to overcome the multiplicity of protection issues that are inherent within this participatory approach. As such it is a valuable resource for postgraduate students and academic staff from a range of disciplines, particularly health, social care and education who conduct research with children.

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