Recent years have witnessed the rising importance of studying children's lives and wellbeing from their own perspective. That said, studying children as participants of the study, rather than studying their parents or observing them as objects raises great challenges and dilemmas. The current paper examines them in an exploratory analysis of the Children's Worlds international survey of children's subjective wellbeing, by examining the international survey process, focusing on ethical and practical aspects of data collection from children. Research teams in 35 countries that took part in the survey submitted a questionnaire regarding their data collection process, including the number of ethical permissions required, type of permissions, school participation rates, objections to the study, etc. Findings reveal that the majority of countries required at least two permissions, and 40% required four and more. Additionally, an increasing requirement for parental active permission was observed. Approximately 80% of countries reported encountering objections to the study. Countries reporting only one required permission also reported 100% school participation, while countries requiring four or five permissions reported 53% average school participation rate, indicating that as the number of required permissions increased, chances of child participation decreased. Findings largely support the gatekeepers phenomena in studying children, thus we discuss conclusions and implications for research directly involving children.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The third wave of the Children’s Worlds survey was supported by the Jacobs Foundation.
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.