In this essay, one will outline the main points and discuss in detail the ethical considerations which would need to be clarified before the research can begin in an early childhood setting. Ethical considerations when conducting research with children in an Early Childhood Education (ECE) setting happens at all stages throughout the research process. Ethical considerations should be well-organized as an ongoing and automatic part of the research. In one’s opinion ethical considerations is one of the most important pieces of doing research, particularly within the early childhood setting. The term ethics (or morality) refers to what we believe to be ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in terms of acceptable conduct (Farrimond H,2013, P.12). Ethics is an vital consideration to consider throughout research. It’s important to consider ethics from the beginning of the research process. Research Ethics are so vital as its emphases on preventing and reducing harm in research and ensuring suitable protection is in place of the children participating. It also promotes the aims of research and emphasis moral and social values on a wider scale.
Throughout this piece of research, the student will know about the children and their everyday lives by conducting research with qualitative and quantitative as a research tool. The knowledge of the child’s perspective are key to protect, promote and support their health and well- being (Department of Health and children, 2000). The researcher, A third year Early Childhood Care and Education student from DIT, will be involved in a research with children and is responsible for safeguarding and confirming that the research is ethical. The ethical considerations in research needs knowledge and skills which are continued and improved by suitable support, and chances for professional development.
There are many different ethical considerations that would need to be clarified by the researcher before this research could begin and of course that must be considered ongoingly throughout the research. In this essay, one will discuss the main ethical considerations which must be thoroughly considered throughout.
Confidentiality and anonymity:
According to Farrimond (2013), Confidentiality means not sharing the data after collection beyond agreed limits. Confidentiality covers not only data protection and storage but also how the researcher shares the data in other ways, such as in conversation. Researchers must ensure that participants should remain anonymous and their answers should not be able to be traced back to the participant. Confidentiality is very vital in the day to day surroundings of research as leaving copies lying around with children’s names could occur problems within the setting. It’s about thinking before you speak on. In this piece of research, it involves the student not sharing the children’s development of pre-literacy skills. If the student gives comments back to individuals who are not related to authorised people, they will need to choose a pretend name for the child to overcome this problem so that it cannot be linked back to the individual. According to “The Child Care Regulations 2006”, it clearly states that material on children in an ECE setting is acceptable by inspection only to parents of the child or to a person working in the setting who is authorised by the person carrying out the service and one other authorised person (Farrimond, H,2013). The data which in this case, would include children’s pre-literacy skills through qualitative and quantitative methods will be collected with the consent of the manager of the setting which means the student should also explain who will have access to the data and why. Throughout this research the student will need to be trustworthy, honest and show integrity as these are main skills needed in conducting research and ensuring to consider one’s confidentiality. The student plans to do a detailed observation on four children which is a qualitative component. One of these individuals, may have a personal or sensitive matter which would be a huge part of their confidentiality and anonymity. The manager will expect the student to follow through with these abilities for this purpose of the research and likely outcomes. Once the information is received it should only be used for the research related purpose, if the student fails to do this it may affect the results of the research.
Protection from harm:
Before the research begins the student must be aware of any possible harm that could occur in the setting, so they can be fully up to date and prevent any harm from occurring. They must safeguard that plans are put to ease against various forms of harm. According to Farrimond H, 2013) within research ethics harm is defined as a damaging amount, or negative outcome. Assessment of possible harm is the assessment of negative outcomes which may occur to participants, communities or even to society as large as the result of a given piece of research.
One of the main concerns in research ethics, is the protection of children from harm or the control of risk of harm. The level of risk to which children in the ECE setting may be unprotected to is a key ethical consideration. Throughout this research the children should have the right to be heard, listened to and taken seriously. It is very important for all the professionals working with children to be able to recognize the signs of harm, what harm is and how the effects of harm can affect children in their lives. In this setting that the research is taken place, there is a diversity of different backgrounds shown. In this case, a form of bullying could occur due to the different cultures, race, abilities, beliefs or family background, which in a small area can develop. This can become verbally harmful to vulnerable children. This would need to be addressed in this research before it begins. Farrimond H (2018), states that ‘Vulnerable groups’ tend to be neglected in research of disadvantaged and existing groups. Performing research with children who are from a disadvantaged area, the student should be familiar with the ethical literature on both children and the group (Farrimond, H,2013). The UN Convention on The Rights of The Child 1989, state that no child should be treated unfairly on any grounds. (Flood&Hardy,2013). Throughout the research the student will have to a note of this ethical consideration as the parents of the children want the best opportunities for their children attending the service. This ethical consideration is more applicable to quantitative research as the researcher must ensure to remember that the children come from disadvantaged areas and may be less capable to understand if potential harm may be possible through the research. It is the researcher’s responsibility to not take advantage of this and must determine what may cause risk to the participants.
Children’s participation in the research process:
Participation incudes the right to express feelings, the right to materials and the right to freedom of association (Flood&Hardy,2013, p.28). The children having these rights will help them to be an active member of society. It involves who is included as participants and who is excluded which is an ethical issue. Throughout this piece of research, the researcher may easily pick their participants through their sense that some children were excluded or perhaps the manager may advise which children would be best to observe during the research. This is a very one-sided system to pick the children, as everyone should be included or to pick the children in a reasonable way, instead of working from the best children to observe. This may also result in inaccurate results. “It is unethical to exclude certain groups for no good reason, as well as scientifically suspect” (Farrimond, H,2013, p.66). The researcher in this current case study, must ensure to consider this when picking their participants, as the setting is based in a disadvantaged area with children from diverse backgrounds. After the participants that will be studied is picked, the researcher still must consider the children who are not participating, for example, giving sweets to the children that took part in the research will leave other children feeling left out and not involved. Children have a right to be included in many parts of the research process. All children are unique, and each have different skills, as no children are the exact same. According to Aistear The Early Childhood curriculum framework under equality and diversity it is stated that “All children are individuals, unique in their abilities, from a rich diversity of backgrounds, beliefs and cultures”. Each child can have a different learning ability, although each child has the rights to be involved and to participate in all activities/tasks and to be treated equally with dignity and respect. In the case of this research, the student will have many responsibilities before taking on the research using qualitative and quantitative as methods to ensure positive participation for the children as parents are expecting possible opportunities for their children in the setting.
Throughout this essay, one outlined the main points and discussed in detail the ethical considerations which would be needed before taken on the research. This Essay has proved that ethical considerations are very important in the archiving of qualitative/quantitative research data. It promotes the aims of research and it rises public support for research. One focused mainly on four types of ethical considerations– Confidentiality and anonymity, protection from harm and Children’s participation in the research process. One discussed each one of these in specific detail.