Attachment in the early years
Attachment in the early years

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Attachment in the early years

Valid consent

A crucial criterion in any research is not only that participants freely consent to take part with no inducements, but also that they do so based on clearly understood information about the key elements of the research and any risks. At times, it is clearly necessary to withhold some details, where, for example, a problem has to be solved and giving full information would compromise the effectiveness of the assessment. However, it is now universally expected, except in special circumstances, that researchers should give potential participants a standard briefing, usually by preparing an information sheet in an accessible language that explains the part participants will play in the data collection.

It is also more commonly expected in the present day that participants will be given time to reflect on briefing information, to enable them to make a considered choice. Clearly, full understanding of research and the reasons behind it is not feasible for children, especially younger children. Generally, children under 16 years of age are not considered competent to give full consent, hence their parents or guardians are the only ones legally able to consent on their behalf. However, there is a risk that this does not give children enough of a voice to express their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with research participation. This issue is important with regard to the collection of video data.

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