The ethical and methodological complexities of doing research with 'vulnerable' young people

Ethics, Place and Environment 4 (2):119 – 125 (2001)
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In discussing methodological and ethical codes for working with children there is a danger that young people can become homogenised as a social category. In this paper we examine the way in which common methodological and ethical dilemmas, such as accessing potential interviewees or gaining consent, can become more complex and significant when the research involves work with a 'vulnerable' group of children or youth. Here, we draw on our own experience of working with self-identified lesbian and gay young people, to demonstrate that research with sexual minorities is particularly sensitive because of the specific laws which frame (or until recently have framed) homosexuality and because of the way in which children are popularly constructed as asexual or innocent. In doing so we also highlight the importance of finding a safe space where interviews can be conducted in privacy and confidence.



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