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Young People and “Sensitive” Research: A Perfect Ethical Storm

A BSA Postgraduate Forum Regional Event

25 March 2020
Birmingham City University Room C420 Curzon Building, 4 Cardigan St, Birmingham B4 7BD - Directions

About the Event

A one-day, inter-disciplinary postgraduate conference exploring the unique ethical and practical issues specifically associated with including young people in research on sensitive topics.

Anyone under the age of 18 is classified as “vulnerable” in research and ethics governance. When sensitive topics (such as sex, trauma experiences, and illegal practices) are added to the equation, researchers often find themselves contending with a “perfect ethical storm”. Within the Sociology of Children and Young People, the particularities and practicalities of ethical research with children receives relatively more attention than that with young people (YP) (e.g. teens, adolescents, those aged 10 to 24 by the World Health Organisation). Putting YP at the centre of the research that aims to improve their lives and experiences is essential. However, how to carry out participatory research methods with YP on taboo or emotive topics has not yet thoroughly been considered. Therefore, this event aims to address the unique ethical and practical issues specifically associated with including YP in research on sensitive topics.

By bringing together postgraduate students, YP themselves interested and engaged in research, professionals, and academics from institutions across the Midlands this conference will facilitate a range of learning opportunities enabling attendees to engage in dialogue, knowledge exchange and methodological exploration. It will also welcome Dr Geraldine Brown (Coventry University) as Keynote Speaker, whose renowned work within the fields of Sociology and Social policy aims to give a voice to those whose voices are “often missing and/or seldom heard”, such as pregnant teenagers and young parents.

Key themes to be explored on the day, include, but are not limited to:

  • working with adult gatekeepers that variously mitigate, support, and/or impede research with YP;
  • exploring the ethical decisions unique to conducting research with YP (e.g. effectively safeguarding without compromising a participant’s right to have their voice heard); and
  • navigating participatory research techniques and approaches (from research design to collection and dissemination) with YP when conducting research on sensitive, taboo and or emotive topics.

Call for Papers

Please submit abstracts (standard and non-traditional presentation formats and workshops) of no more than 200 words along with a brief bio (100 words) by Monday, 10th of February 2020 and send to the event organisers Tamar Shiboleth and Andrea Anastassiou.


Registration for this event is OPEN.

Contact the Organisers

Event Organisers: Tamar Shiboleth and Andrea Anastassiou.