Children are often considered a vulnerable population regarding participation in research. As a result, additional steps are usually required to ensure they are not harmed by their participation in research. Their vulnerability arises because children are developing intellectually and emotionally and therefore may not be able to participate fully in the informed consent process. In addition, children may be dependent on others for their basic needs, and this may expose them to increased risks of being coerced or exploited. However, children develop at different rates, and this can be impacted by the humanitarian crises they encounter. Cultures differ in the age at which they grant decision-making authority to children, which complicates how researchers determine when someone is capable of consenting to participate in research. This leads to the variation in the legal age at which someone can give informed consent for research.
Here, general resources on children’s participation in humanitarian research will be provided. Other sections will discuss specific ethical issues for children’s research participation in more detail.
Which of the following are features of your study?