Asking practical ethical questions about youth participation

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This paper is based on case study research conducted in an economically depressed, immigrant gateway neighborhood of Escondido, California. This study has been in progress since 2005 and involves working with children at the local middle school on rights-based community environ- mental action research projects in coordination with student facilitators in an upper-division uni- versity class titled “Children and the Environment.” This case study has suggested inquiry into the practical ethical dimensions of working with children, administrators, and university students on action research. Examples of the ethical questions which arose during this study include: how can continuity for the middle school children be achieved as different groups of university stu- dents move in and out of the project as they take and finish the “Children and the Environment” class, and is it ethical for the middle school children’s work to be facilitated by university stu- dents only freshly trained in the action research technique? This paper explores these and other ethical questions involving power, coercion, tension over expectations, and obligation and pro- vides direction for on-going ethical questions scholars should pursue in involving children in rights-based community environmental action research.
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Archival date: 2014-10-01
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