Researching with children in Vietnam: cultural, methodological and ethical considerations

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Graham, AP, Phelps, RA, Ha Thi Tuyet, N & Geeves, R 2014, 'Researching with children in Vietnam: cultural, methodological and ethical considerations', Qualitative Research, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 37-60.

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The involvement of children in research has gathered significant momentum following the almost universal ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the emergence of new theoretical interests that challenge conceptions of children as irrational, incompetent, vulnerable and unable to know and articulate what is in their own best interests. However, seeking the views of children and responding to what they have to say are heavily circumscribed by social and cultural norms and values that must be known and respected in order to ensure that the research is ethically and methodologically sound. This article reports on the experiences of a team of researchers undertaking a project that sought the views and perspectives of children in relation to learning and education in a rural province of Vietnam. It discusses the reflexive nature of such an endeavour that required a deep recognition of the influence of Confucian culture, particularly in relation to issues of who has authority to speak and on what matters, as well as detailed attention to children’s existing experience of being consulted.