Reflecting on three creative approaches to informed consent with children under six

Arnott, Lorna and Martinez Lejarreta, Loreain and Wall, Kate and Blaisdell, Caralyn and Palaiologou, Ioanna (2020) Reflecting on three creative approaches to informed consent with children under six. British Educational Research Journal, 46 (4). pp. 786-810. ISSN 0141-1926 (

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In an era where children's rights are paramount, there are still few practical examples to guide us when seeking informed consent from children. This paper therefore makes a significant contribution to the field by examining three practical approaches to negotiating informed consent with young children under 6 years old. We draw on researcher field notes, images and observations from four research projects that employed creative methods for seeking informed consent from young children. We take a reflexive approach, considering how successful the three techniques have been in facilitating young children's decision making around research participation. Our findings suggest that innovative approaches to informed consent create spaces for children to engage in dialogue and questioning about the research project. However, in order for the approaches to be meaningful they need to be pedagogically-appropriate to the maturity and capabilities of the children. We also demonstrate that irrespective of the approach devised, researchers have a responsibility to ensure consent is continuously negotiated throughout the project through reflexive questioning.