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UCL Research Ethics Committee

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Research With Children And Young People

Ethical Research Involving Children Project

A joint initiative by UNICEF Office of Research, The Childwatch International Research Network, the Centre for Children and Young People at Southern Cross University and the Children's Issues Centre at the University of Otago, the project encourages greater consideration of ethical issues. Resources include an International Charter and a Compendium on ethical issues and challenges, including over 20 case studies. www.childethics.com

MRC Ethics Guide: Medical Research Involving Children

If you are planning to conduct research on children it is extremely important that you read the ‘MRC Ethics Guide 2004: Medical Research Involving Children’. In particular, please note the following important considerations which are contained in the Guide:

(1) When a choice of age groups is possible, older children should be involved in preference to younger ones, although some research questions are specific to younger children and babies.

(2) Researchers should attempt to avoid any pressure that might lead the child to volunteer for research or that might lead the parents to volunteer their children with the expectation of direct benefit (whether therapeutic or financial).

(3) Researchers must offer no financial benefit although expenses should be paid.

(4) Research in which children are submitted to more than minimal risk with only slight, uncertain or no benefits to themselves requires serious ethical consideration.

(5) In assessing potential benefit, how likely is the research to achieve its aims?

(6) You must take particular care to be sure that anyone you ask to consider taking part in the research is given the fullest possible information, presented in terms and a form that they can understand.

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