Development of an ethical methodology for post-bushfire research with children

L Gibbs, Colin MacDougall, Jeni Harden

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    There has been a tendency for researchers and practitioners to overlook the needs and experiences of children and young people in relation to disasters. In this paper, we report on our exploration of the question of whether to involve children and young people in post-bushfi re research, and if so how? In considering children's rights in this context we were guided by a number of conceptions of the child (refl ecting research debates within the Sociology of Childhood): The citizen child; the child at risk; and the developing child. We engaged in formal, progressive consultations with experts internationally and with bushfi re affected community partners. This study determined that research with children post-bushfi res was an important, ethical and appropriate activity, provided the methodology was sensitive and allowed children to provide informed consent and to have a sense of control over the issues being discussed. We conclude that carefully considering a rights approach materially changed the fi nal methodology that includes the perspectives of children and young people in research about recovery from traumatic disasters, while still respecting their right to be safe and supported.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)114-123
    Number of pages10
    JournalHealth Sociology Review
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


    • Children
    • Children's rights
    • Disaster
    • Ethics
    • Methodology
    • Sociology


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