Informed agreement to participate: Beginning the partnership with children in research
Date of this Version
This paper aims to create a heightened awareness of the purpose and processes of seeking informed assent from young children when attempting to undertake collaborative research projects. This holds particular weight where the research project has the intention for children to hold the lead, or shared, agency with adult researchers. Acknowledging the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the current thinking about the child as an agentic being, the authors believe it is timely to create a context for professional discussion in relation to how genuine partnerships can be formed with children as research collaborators. It would appear that the process of seeking the child's informed assent (as opposed to just their assent) to participate in the research project is critical. In concluding with a discussion about significant aspects to consider when seeking informed assent from a young child, the authors also reflect on perceived obstacles which may impede this process of collaboration.