Competence to understand explanations of research
The second area of vulnerability relates to the difficulty that children may have in understanding what research is, why it is being conducted and what the implications are of agreeing to participate. A good example of this occurred when some researchers were seeking to film classroom activities. They went to some lengths to prepare the school, the parents and their children with advance information about what they were planning to do so that their consent would be well informed. Nevertheless, when one 5-year-old child was asked at the start of the task if she knew what they were doing, she expressed ignorance and did not understand that the objects on tripods were video cameras, nor did she appear to know what a video recording was. This was then explained to her in terms she understood!