Ethical Research Involving Children

eric logo

Over the past thirty years, significant progress has been made in recognising the importance and legitimacy of children’s participation in research. Influenced by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and an interdisciplinary approach to theorising childhood offered through Childhood Studies, researchers have been giving much closer attention to safe and respectful ways of involving children in research. Nevertheless, many researchers report feeling isolated in their research activities, especially when it comes to making informed decisions about complex ethical and methodological issues.

The Ethical Research Involving Children (ERIC) project aims to assist researchers and the research community to understand, plan and conduct ethical research involving children and young people in any geographical, social, cultural or methodological context.

The project to date has involved several phases:

  • Formal consultation with almost 400 highly respected researchers and other stakeholders internationally who contributed their expertise;
  • A major survey documenting current practices and key ethical concerns in 46 countries;
  • A comprehensive review of existing evidence about ethical issues, concerns and best practices in research involving children;
  • Development of open access resources and accompanying website.

The open access resources are available in a print-based compendium and online via a dedicated website ( These extensive resources provide a rich repository of evidence-based information to assist researchers and guide / improve research involving children.

child and reindeer

Research Team

Professor Anne Graham (Southern Cross University), Dr Mary Ann Powell (Southern Cross University/Edinburgh University), A/Professor Nicola Taylor (University of Otago), Dr Donnah Anderson (Southern Cross University/Charles Sturt University), Dr Robyn Fitzgerald (Southern Cross University), Dr Kate Neale (Southern Cross University), Julia Truscott (CYRA Service).

Academic Publications to Date


Graham, A, Powell, M, Taylor, N, Anderson, D & Fitzgerald, R 2013, Ethical Research Involving Children, UNICEF Office of Research: Innocenti, Florence, Italy. ISBN: 9788865220238.

Associated Academic Publications

Canosa, A., Graham, A., & Wilson, E. (2018). Reflexivity and Ethical Mindfulness in Participatory Research with Children: What does it really look like? Childhood, 25(3), 400- 415. doi:

Powell, M., Graham, A. & Truscott, J. (2016). Ethical Research Involving Children: Facilitating Reflexive Engagement. Qualitative Research Journal, 16 (2), 197-208. doi:

Canosa, A. & Graham, A. (2016). Ethical Tourism Research Involving Children. Annals of Tourism Research, 61, 219-22. doi:

Graham, A., Powell, M. & Truscott, J. (2016). Exploring the Nexus Between Participatory Methods and Ethics in Early Childhood Research. Australian Journal of Early
41(1), 82-89. Link:

Graham, A., Powell, MA., & Taylor, N. (2015). Ethical Research Involving Children: Putting the Evidence into Practice, Family Matters, 96, 23-28. Published version available

Graham, A., Powell, MA., & Taylor, N. (2015). Ethical Research Involving Children: Encouraging Reflexive Engagement in Research with Children and Young People, Children & Society, 29(5), 331-343. doi:


Powell, MA. (2012). Ethical Principles, dilemmas and risks in collecting data on violence against children: a review of available literature. Report prepared for Statistics and Monitoring Section, Division of Policy and Strategy, UNICEF: New York.

Powell, MA., Graham, A., Taylor, N., Newell, S. & Fitzgerald, R. (2011). Building capacity for ethical research with children and young people: an international research project to examine the ethical issues and challenges in undertaking research with and for children in different majority and minority world contexts. Report prepared for the Childwatch International Research Network: Oslo, Norway.

Project Partner: 

UNICEF Office of Research Innocenti