Ethical challenges in researching with children: An application adopting a mixed method approach

  • Belem Barbosa
  • Pedro Quelhas Brito


Applying ethical principles to research is essential to ensure both participants' universal rights and data quality. From the ethical point of view, researching with children poses additional challenges in designing the research, collecting and analysing data. The ethical principles generally accepted in scientific research are complementary, yet presenting conflicts that must be anticipated and mitigated by the researcher. This article explores the application of ethical principles in research with children, considering the different stages of research and both quantitative and qualitative research, proposing a set of six ethical principles to be applied before, during and after the collection of data. The text includes examples from research adopting a mixed-method approach which involved 779 participants aged 7 to 15 years old. The study demonstrates that there is a strong interdependence among ethical principles applicable to research with children, not devoid of contradictions. Even widely accepted principles such as informed consent are complex and multifaceted. Moreover, the adoption of mixed methodology, in this particular case, has proven to be able to create ethic synergies, making the research globally more balanced.