Recognition as a framework for ethical participatory research: Developing a methodology with looked after young people

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This paper reflects on a project which involved the authors working in partnership with a working group of looked after children and young people established by a small unitary local authority to develop a pledge defining what support, services and care looked after children can expect from them. The authors aimed to develop an approach which ensured that the young people's voices were heard and also that the well-being of those involved as participants remained at the centre of the process throughout. We argue that Honneth's theory of recognition, which identifies three forms of recognition as important to ensure that human beings feel assured of their dignity or integrity - in brief, love, rights and solidarity - offers a useful framework for achieving this. The main principles which emerged were: i) building the research around the young people's existing relationships, ii) respecting the group's decisions and iii) honouring the views expressed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-488
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Social Research Methodology
Issue number5
Early online date2 Jan 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • participatory research
  • recognition
  • children
  • young people

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