Social research in the advancement of children's rights

Journal of Academic Ethics 1 (1):119-130 (2003)
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This article argues that investigators doing developmental and social research with children have, for the most part, failed to acknowledge the inherent implications of their work for children's rights. The impact of these studies upon children's rights occurs at every stage; from hypothesis formulation to hypothesis testing to dissemination of findings. This paper addresses the issue in the context of developmental research on children's ability to report experienced events accurately. This particular research area has generated data that has been extrapolated to legal contexts and created a foundation for assumptions about the credibility of child witnesses. This in turn has had profound effects on children's right to be heard and the weight given to their testimony. The argument is made that there is a need for social scientists to explicitly articulate how their work may impact upon children's rights and what is in fact the social agenda in this regard underlying their research.



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