An interprofessional approach to the ethics of undertaking research with children
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An interprofessional approach to the ethics of undertaking research with children

Alison Twycross Principal lecturer in children’s nursing, Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences, Kingston University and St George’s, University of London, UK

Research involving children requires careful consideration of key ethical issues, says Alison Twycross

Ethics has been defined as moral principles that in the context of research pertain to treating participants fairly and responsibly throughout the research process (Williamson 1981). No researcher would deny that this is important. Research with or on children (defined as people younger than 18 years old) is important (Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health 2000, Medical Research Council 2004) but children taking part in research projects are particularly vulnerable. In light of this, several organisations in the UK have published ethical guidelines relating to research with or on children. In this paper, I will identify a number of ethical guidelines and identify common themes, including: informed consent, payments to participants, limiting the guarantees of confidentiality and protecting participants. I will look at the areas where the guidelines are in agreement, and the issues that require further debate before there can be an interprofessional approach to the ethics of research with or on children.

Nurse Researcher. 16, 3, 7-20. doi: 10.7748/nr2009.

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