Ethical Issues and Challenges in Applied Research in Child and Adolescent Development
Knowledge creation and acquisition derived from the scientific enterprise fuels the dynamic process of developing, refining, and implementing intervention strategies and social policy that promotes the development of individuals and families. The value of the knowledge derived through research is compromised, however, when study methods fail to adequately reflect the values and protect the rights and welfare of community participants. In this chapter, we describe how our personal and professional experiences led to us implementing a research ethic that builds upon shared understandings between investigators and participants. These experiences, illustrated throughout the chapter as case examples, have reinforced our conviction that employing strategies that seek to better understand the backgrounds of participants, including hopes, fears, expectations, goals, and comprehension of the specific study at hand, will contribute to an improved research design that protects participants’ welfare, respects their autonomy, and by doing so increases study validity.