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Ethical issues in social research: Difficulties encountered gaining access to children in hospital for research

Stalker, K. and Carpenter, J. and Connors, C. and Phillips, R. (2004) Ethical issues in social research: Difficulties encountered gaining access to children in hospital for research. Child: Care, Health and Development, 30 (4). pp. 377-383. ISSN 0305-1862

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Abstract

This paper recounts the difficulties experienced when the authors sought access to children in hospital for social research interviews. These were part of a 2-year study, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, aiming to explore the numbers, circumstances and experiences of children who spend prolonged periods in health care settings. Ethical considerations and adequate protection of children are vital but, the authors argue, wherever possible children themselves should be encouraged to decide whether or not to participate in research. In addition, unnecessarily complex access procedures may adversely affect research outcomes.