Accepted Paper:

Children of emigration: an exploratory study of the acculturation experience of Polish adolescents in Ireland  


Beata Sokolowska

Paper long abstract:

It is commonly argued that researches on underage participants are more demanding in terms of approaching the subject and in terms of the relationships with the research informants. Especially during qualitative approach, ethical involvement concerns the nature of developing the relationships with young respondents but also the potential effect on children when the researcher has left the field of study. Therefore for the purpose of this exploratory study on acculturation of Polish teenagers (age 12-20) the approach of working with children not on children had been taken. The shift in stress from research 'on' to research 'with' has implications for the ethical conduct of research since it emphasizes that children are competent and knowledgeable informants (Alderson1995, Seale 2004, Brzezińska and Toepliz 2007, et al). By and large existing conceptualisation on research on children focuses on their vulnerability and incompetency and treats them as objects of the research. Alderson and Morrow (2004) argue that we should move away from epistemological assumptions based on a specific formulation of the category 'child' and treat children as the social actors of research, in their own rights if we are to attempt to analyse children's experiences in social research. The research is conducted by using the qualitative multi-actor longitudinal (panel) research design. The first findings reveal that interviewing children poses many challenges: insider and outsider role combined with a uniqueness of each child and with his/her own set of experiences, sometimes very sad and burdening is demanding task to handle.

Panel P08
Methods and ethics in 'interviewing' children