Original Research

Ethical considerations in educational research involving children: Implications for educational researchers in South Africa

Jace Pillay
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 4, No 2 | a211 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v4i2.211 | © 2014 Jace Pillay | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 December 2014 | Published: 24 December 2014

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Jace Pillay, University of Johannesburg

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Adopting a social justice theoretical framework, the author proposes that the involvement of children in educational research is paramount. However, such involvement often exposes children to exploitation and a violation of their rights. As such, it is essential that all research involving children should be ethically sound. Hence, the purpose of this study was to explore ethical considerations in educational research involving children, especially in South Africa, which was historically known for the marginalization of and discrimination against children. This generic qualitative study included a sample of eight experts with extensive knowledge of the ethical concerns surrounding children’s participation in research activities. Data was collected through individual interviews, a questionnaire, and the analysis of documents and instruments pertaining to the ethical-legal protection of children’s involvement in research activities in South Africa. The findings identify several ethical principles that should be considered within a South African perspective and which have specific implications for educational researchers.


Children’s rights, educational research, ethics, social justice, vulnerable children, United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).


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