1991．第2卷第1期（Vol. 2 No. 1）．pp. 1118
Researching Children’s Knowledge of Controversial Issues: Some Methodological & Ethical Considerations
Geoffrey SHORT & Bruce CARRINGTON
This paper addresses a range of methodological and ethical issues involved in researching children's understanding of controversial issues. It argues that there is less need to demonstrate children's awareness of such issues than to identify what Damon (1997) refers to as their "central organising principles." To help realise this aim it is suggested that more care be taken over the design of experimental tasks so as to ensure that children are able to respond to them more meaningfully and honestly. It is further suggested that when researchers in this area make use of the clinical interview, they heed Piaget's observations about the need to distinguish different types of response.
The second half of the paper focuses on the ethical dimensions of exploring children's grasp of controversial issues. Particular attention is given to the unnecessary infliction of pain and unwitting reinforcement of stereotypes.