The ChiCI Group has created an ABCD of ethics policy for doing research with children. All research carried out by the group is required to follow this policy.
Below is a brief outline of each section of the ABCD policy.
A = Agreement
The first aspect of the ABCD policy covers agreement and consent from the school and parents. Four elements that need to be present for informed consent: competence to make decisions, voluntary participation, full information about the research activity, and comprehension of processes.
B = Behaviour
The group have created leaflets for new researchers that includes hints and tips, checklists and guidance. In addition to guidance on how to organise such events, it outlines some basic rules in interacting with children, such as not taking identifiable photos unless permission has been pre-arranged with children‟s parents, and not to be alone in a room with a child. The advice for new researchers also includes tips such as always being encouraging towards the children, making sure they know it is the technology that is being tested and not the child, that they cannot “fail” at an activity (that there are no wrong answers), and to always thank the children.
C = Classroom Experience
Ethical clearance for visiting schools says nothing about how a researcher should prepare for a study in a classroom, how they will adapt and react in the classroom environment to the children during the study, and how they manage their own expectations of what the children will produce and its value. These three areas are crucial to providing a good experience for the children participating in the study, through successfully running and controlling a study that engages the children and generates useful data.
D = Dissemination
Each time a study is carried out the researchers update the children on the progress of previous research they have been involved with and highlight where their contributions have been used since the previous study. The researchers have aimed to explain to children how their designs, tests of technology or surveys have fed into research and/or product development, including the overall aims of the research and if possible also explaining how the research was funded and where it will lead in the future. If an academic paper or poster has been produced in this time then they are also presented to the children, with time given for them to ask questions about the research. The children are welcome to have a copy of any papers written and the participating schools are given the opportunity to display any posters created.