Guidance on conducting research involving children and young people.
Research involving children and young people should only be conducted where:
- The research question posed is important to the health and well-being of children;
- The participation of children is indispensable;
- The study method is appropriate for children;
- The circumstances in which the research is conducted provide for the physical, emotional and psychological safety of the child;
- Informed consent has been obtained;
- Ethics approval has been granted.
Please review the guidance on data protection for research with children and UCL safeguarding policies.
Ethical Research Involving Children (ERIC)
In order to encourage greater consideration of ethical issues in research with children, UNICEF Office of Research in a collaboration with other organizations, have created an Ethical Research Involving Children Compendium. Resources include an International Charter and a Compendium on ethical issues and challenges, including over 20 case studies.
We strongly encourage everyone thinking about doing research with children to read and reflect on the questions they pose in chapter ‘Getting Started’, designed to help guide the researchers when planning and conducting research involving children. Please see the below chart, which highlights the main points for consideration.
Ethical Research Involving Children*
|Does this research need to be done?|
|Planning and preparation|
|Research design and methods|
|Analysis, writing, and dissemination|
* The text in the ERIC chart has been reproduced from Graham, A., Powell, M., Taylor, N., Anderson, D. & Fitzgerald, R. (2013). Ethical Research Involving Children. Florence: UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti. © United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). This chart is also available as a downloadable pdf:
- The Ethics of Research with Children and Young People
- Ethics of Research With People Under Eighteen
- Information Commissioner's Office - Children’s code
- Department of Health: Consent – what you have a right to expect. A guide for children and young people
- UNICEF: Child and Youth Participation Resource Guide
- NSPCC: Research with children: ethics, safety and avoiding harm
- UKRI Research with children and young people
- The Child Protection Practice Manual
- Population Council: Ethical approaches to gathering information for children and adolescents in international settings
- The experience of taking part in a national survey: A child's perspective
- How to best support children's participation in research? Considerations, strategies, and resources for ethics and consent
- But, what is a researcher?: Supporting informed consent with young children.
- What is a researcher? A video for children