ChildForum Office of Pre-Primary EducationThe lead public advisor on early childcare and education

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Doing, Writing and Presenting Research

Ethical Guide for Researching in Early Childhood Settings


This statement is intended to guide academic researchers, teachers, postgraduate students, and any persons who may be involved, who plan to conduct or participate in research in early childhood settings. 

The growth of qualitative research, in particular, has challenged researchers to acknowledge the ethical tensions that permeate the research process. Participation in formal ethics review procedures does not negate the researcher’s responsibility to engage in on-going ethical decision making.

This framework developed by Joy Cullen, Helen Hedges and Jane Bone focuses on ethical dilemmas and issues specifically related to research in early childhood settings. It should be read in conjunction with guidelines and codes of ethics for researchers developed by universities, research associations and other organisations that take account of the responsibilities of researchers and provide some protection for participants by ensuring a process of ethical clearance.

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