oa Journal of Education - Mapping HIV/AIDS as a barrier to education: a reflection on the methodological and ethical challenges to child participation

Volume 35, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0259-479X



The authors reflect on a qualitative research project on mapping the impact of HIV/AIDS as a potential barrier to education for young, vulnerable children. The methodological and ethical challenges in this project are explored in terms of the multiple layers of context, topic and skills that impinged on the nature and process of the research design. The means of obtaining informed consent, negotiating the bounds of confidentiality and addressing beneficence and nonmaleficence are discussed. A four-stage focus group design is related to the underlying principles of valuing the child and a process approach to research. Strategies, including participatory research techniques with vulnerable children are descriptionbed. The researchers argue that especially in developing contexts, the ethical and methodological issues are interrelated and result in inherent tensions in the research process.

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