Ethical Approaches to Gathering Information from Children and Adolescents in International Settings

This provides guidance in terms of some basic ethical principles. Respect for persons refers to a competent individual's right to self-determination. Beneficence refers to an investigator's obligation to protect participants from harm and maximize possible benefits. Justice refers to an obligation to ensure that the benefits and burdens of the activity are equitably distributed.


  • Part 1- Key considerations
  • Basic ethical principles
  • Children’s participation
  • Legal and professional requirements (including ethical supervision)
  • Culture and gender considerations
  • Considerations for especially vulnerable children 
  • Part 2 - Ethical questions and practical guidelines
  • Is this activity necessary and justified?
  • Is this activity designed to get valid information? 
  • Have community and stakeholder concerns been considered?
  • Have adverse consequences of the activity been anticipated?
  • Are procedures in place to ensure that the activity proceeds ethically?
  • Is there a clear plan and adequate funding for follow-up activities? 
  • Part 3 - Summary and recommendations
  • Annexes
  • Child- and adolescent-focused resources
  • Legal and professional resources
  • Additional resources
  • Sample documents


Schenk, K. & Williamson, J. (2005) Ethical Approaches to Gathering Information from Children and Adolescents in International Settings. Horizons Population Council. IMPACT Family Health International. Retrieved from

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Melbourne, Australia.


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