Reflexivity and Dialogue: Methodological and Socio-Ethical Dilemmas in Research with HIV-Affected Children in East Africa

Ethics, Policy and Environment 15 (1):77 - 96 (2012)
Abstract
This paper presents an integrated discussion of methods and ethics by drawing on participatory research with children in Ethiopia and Kenya. It examines the complex social, ethical, practical and methodological dilemmas of research with HIV-affected children, and explores how we confronted some of these dilemmas before, during and after fieldwork. The paper interrogates the role and limitations of ?global? ethical standards in childhood research, and the ways in which the researchers? gender, ethnicity/race, material power, knowledge and insider-outsider position all intersect to affect: (a) the level of children's involvement in the research process; (b) the generation of knowledge about the field; and (c) the negotiation of ethics in collaborative ways. We argue that doing ethical research with HIV-affected children should not be based solely on dominant and de-contextualised understandings of ethics, knowledge and social relations, but should be negotiated reflexively and through dialogue with participants, including the children, their guardians and ?local? community members?all with the aim of doing good and avoiding harm in the research process
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