This article will explore some of the ethical dilemmas that confront researchers when they seek to invite children’s participation in research.

It firstly tracks the historical landscape of ethical research and will examine the influence of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) on participatory research with children.

Drawing on this background, the article will explore three main themes relating to the ethical participation of children: ethics as protection, the ethics of justice and the ethics of care. We look to contemporary literature in order to ask whether ethical guidelines specifically narrate ethical dilemmas in participatory research.

The following are also explored: What is examined and explained as being ethical dilemmas when engaging with children? How does the literature explicate ethics as an explicit consideration in conducting research with children? Where is the ethical sensitivity in participatory practice?

The article will conclude by identifying some of the ‘hidden’ dilemmas that need to be openly debated in the literature in order for participatory efforts to move forward.


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