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Working with Children and Young People

Ethical Debates and Practices Across Disciplines and Continents

Series:

Anne Campbell and Pat Broadhead

This book provides an interdisciplinary perspective on working with young people, focusing on education, health and social work, and draws on projects and perspectives from the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Australia. The volume highlights the ethical challenges and dilemmas as these and other services are integrated and addresses how ethical practices are confronted and shared across disciplines.
The first section looks at professional practice; the second foregrounds children’s and young people’s voices and is especially concerned with children and young people as co-researchers. Subjects addressed within the text include sex education, health education, custodial care, confidentiality and gaining consent, ethical issues around ICT and researching with vulnerable populations.
The book is intended for both scholars and practitioners. It places examples in clearly articulated theoretical frameworks as well as considering professional principles and practice.

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Angela Anning 4 Research with vulnerable people: The importance of sensitivity 59

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Angela Anning 4 Researching vulnerable people: The importance of sensitivity Research in interdisciplinary settings In the last fifty years approaches to research in the social sciences have been ‘democratized’. In the 1980s action research began to be used in British educational contexts as a tool for practitioners to improve their own prac- tice – through spirals of planning, acting, ref lecting and refining. In the United States, participatory research was promoted as a mechanism for bringing about social change by demystifying research, opening it up to real world contexts (rather than laboratories), and promoting the findings of projects with the aim of giving ‘voice’ to those perceived to be powerless – for example, those living in poverty or with disabilities. A more radical version has been emancipatory research, whereby researchers immerse themselves in communities and work alongside people who are not ‘lis- tened to’ in society, because they are outside existing power relationships and structures of social relationships, so as to give voice to marginalized and disempowered groups. All these approaches have been inf luential in the field of children’s serv- ices, and in particular in the desire to give voice to children and so-called ‘vulnerable’ adults and to the practitioners (predominantly women and tra- ditionally low status) involved in delivering services to them. These historical factors make it important that those working in children’s services are alert to the sensitivities of research in the real world of their workplaces. It is also worth spending time and energy unpacking what each of...

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