ISSN 1753-0849

Childhoods Today Online JournalChildhoods Today

An online journal for childhood studies

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Volume 3 Issue 2 - December 10, 2009

“Improper” participatory child research: Morally bad, or not? Reflections from the “Reconstructing Cambodian Childhoods” study

Melina T. Czymoniewicz-Klippel

This article explores the author’s doctoral research experiences in order to reflect on whether participatory child research that involves children to a lesser extent is necessarily morally inferior to that which is child-initiated and led. It argues that in certain circumstances, conducting so-called ‘proper’ participatory child research is neither feasible nor desirable. Drawing on critical ethnographic research carried out in the rapidly modernizing tourist town of Siem Reap, Cambodia, the intricacies of involving children in the collection, analysis and writing-up of primary data are highlighted in order to illustrate the multiple methodological, professional and ethical challenges faced by researchers wishing to undertake participatory projects in Majority World settings.