"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.

Author Biography

Sara Eldén

Postdoctoral Researcher
Department of Sociology, Lund University


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How to Cite

Eldén, S. (2013). "You child is just wonderful!”: On ethics and access in research with children. Journal of Comparative Social Work, 8(2), 198–221. https://doi.org/10.31265/jcsw.v8i2.101