The Ethics of Research with Children and Young People

Issue date: 07 September 2005

Issue date: 07/09/05

8 – 9 September 2005

Leading international experts in the ethics of research with children will gather at the University of Hull in September for a major conference examining some of the key issues in this highly sensitive area.

Dr Margaret Fletcher and Dr Nicola Eaton from the University of the West of England are speaking at the Conference which UWE is helping to organise along with the universities of Hull and Limerick (Ireland).

Carrying out research involving children is essential to develop medical treatments which save or improve the lives of thousands every year.

It can provide new insights to help tackle social issues affecting children’s quality of life and develop innovative educational approaches.

However, this vital work presents experts with a series of difficult ethical and moral dilemmas. This is because children are more vulnerable and considered by many to be less capable than adults of expressing their views about things they are happy or unhappy with. Therefore, professionals involved in research with children face a number of questions in their effort to protect young people’s human rights.

The way they choose to tackle them affects everyone in society who either is or has a child. Some examples are:

o How do they ensure the child gives his or her consent to participate in research willingly and without coercion?

o What is the best way of ensuring the child’s rights are protected?

o What methods can be employed to help the child express their discomfort when they are not happy with a research project they are involved with?

The conference will feature high profile speakers who are internationally renowned for their work in the field – from countries such as Lebanon and Australia.

Keynote talks to be given at the conference will include ‘History of Ethics with Children’, by Professor John Pearn from The University of Queensland, Australia; ‘Qualitative Research with Children: is it always on the side of the angels?’ by Professor Philip Darbyshire from University of South Australia and ‘Powerlessness, Patronisation and Paternalism: The ethics of research with children in developing countries’ by Professor Linda Shields from the University of Hull; ‘Research Governance: Institution and The Researcher’ by Professor Roger Watson from the University of Hull and ‘Ethical Challenges of Conducting Research in Paediatric Palliative Care’ by Professor Huda Huijer Abu-Saad from the American University of Beirut .

Barbara Elliott, one of the conference organiser from the Faculty of Health and Social Care, University of Hull said, ‘This conference will bring together people from a range of backgrounds who are conducting leading research involving children, to consider and discuss ethical dilemmas and issues in their work. The conference organisers are proud that this conference is supported by eminent professionals in the field and The Wellcome Trust’.


Editor’s notes

The conference, called The ethics of research with children and young people, is taking place from September 8 to 9 in the University’s Dennison Centre, on Cottingham Road, in Hull.

For further information contact Jeanette Gilchrist on 01482 463602 (Hull University) or

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