Younger children’s curiosity of their ethical decision-making during research

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


This paper draws on findings from a PhD, Visualising Younger Children’s Perspectives on Digital Technology and Ethical Decision-Making, which adopted a multimodal, storytelling research design, exploring nine five-year-olds experiences of digital technology and ethical decision-making within research. Previous research has recognised younger children as valuable contributors to the ethical decision-making process (Murray, 2019; Palaiologou, 2014), yet there appears to be a void of literature representing younger children’s ongoing ethical decision-making throughout the research process. Underpinned by Goffman’s (1959) concept of Impression Management, this research explored children’s ‘different languages’ (Clark & Moss, 2017) to further understand their perspectives on ethical decision-making within research. Adopting a phenomenological perspective, video-based conversation analysis of 20 video-recorded storytelling sessions recognised and explored younger children’s curiosity, sense-making, and agency as research participants. The study was underpinned by EECERA Ethical Code for Early Childhood Researchers (Bertram et al., 2015). Ethical considerations and findings are presented through comic strip visualisations, revealing the complexities of children’s ethical decision-making around informed assent and dissent within research. Findings suggest younger children are curious about their role in research and do make ongoing ethical decisions about their participation, building on research that does not problematise younger children’s role within research (Hackett, 2017). Findings demonstrate that a multimodal approach which is focused on children as active contributors to the ethical decision-making process, both supports and makes visible younger children’s role within research.
Period1 Sep 2023
Event title31st European Early Childhood Education Research Association Annual Conference: Children's Curiosity, Agency and Participation: Challenges for professional action and development
Event typeConference
Conference number31
LocationLisbon, PortugalShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational