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Lack of Permission and Assent

Title: Lack of Permission and Assent

Author: Gerald P. Koocher and Patricia C. Keith-Spiegel, Children, Ethics, and the Law: Professional Issues and Cases, University of Nebraska Press, 1990.


Researchers have the appropriate permissions and assent to observe playground behavior of specific children. Nonstudy children, unaware of the study, are observed only when interacting with study children and are not identified by name. The authors present this as a case of acceptable research practice.

Headings: Informed Consent: Disclosure and Deception; Other informed consent issues; Minors (children, adolescents); Observational

Case Type: Illustrative

Lack of Permission and Assent

Complete permissions and assents have been obtained to observe on the school playground the behavior of several specific children who are having trouble socializing. However, in the course of recording the behavior of target children, notes are taken on the behavior of nonstudy children, but only when they interact with the target children. The other children (and their parents) are not aware of the fact that any study is being conducted on the playground. Non-study children are not identified by name.