“You child is just wonderful!” : On ethics and access in research with children

Sara Eldén


This article discuss the consequences of the ambiguous view of children in the ethical guidelines – the ambitions to “give voice” while also “protect” – with a point of departure taken in the Swedish context, and in an actual research process of a project on children and care. It shows how the regulation of informed consent through the parent compromises the ideals of child-centred research; firstly, by limiting the child’s possibility to opt in to research; secondly, by affecting the relationship between researcher, child and parent in the research encounter; and thirdly, by jeopardizing the child’s right to confidentiality. The author argues that we should view not only the child’s but also the adult’s consent as a “continuous negotiation” and discusses strategies for strengthening the child’s right to opt in and participate in research on equal terms.

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JCSW was founded in 2006 and is currently hosted by University of Stavanger, in cooperation with University of Agder and Nord University. From 2010 onwards it is published bi-anually.

ISSN: 0809-9936