Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    Informed consent for children in Saudi Arabia
    Alotabi, Hind Hammad ( 2012)
    Informed consent is considered an integral part of the ethical dimension of research, especially in educational research undertaken with children. The procedures and details of obtaining informed consent from children’s parents have received much scholarship in the field. This study aims at exploring the issue of obtaining informed consent for children in educational research in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The thesis proposes that that there is a gap in obtaining informed consent from parents of children involved in educational research in KSA. Data was collected through a questionnaire, which was completed by six participants who hold graduate degrees in education research. Results indicated that there were clear administrative processes undertaken by the participants to obtain permission to undertake research in early childhood settings, firstly from the Ministry of Education and then the principal of early childhood settings. There were no formal ethics guidelines, protocols, or processes discussed in relation to obtaining informed consent from children’s parents in KSA. Researchers who discussed informed consent from parents and children when conducting research on children were guided by their experience in the United States or the United Kingdom. This was the major reason behind choosing post-colonialism as a conceptual frame for the study. The point being stressed is that there is no harm in importing academic and research practices from the West as long as they do not contradict major religious and cultural practices— something that goes in line with Islam’s encouragement of gaining knowledge. Post-colonial theory supports a way to navigate western concepts of informed consent with KSA’s social and historical beliefs and practices. The study concludes by stressing the necessity of adopting the informed consent procedure in research conducted on children in KSA. The nature and details of this informed consent can be appropriated to fit the social and cultural realties of KSA. It is also recommended that further research be done in this field.