The inclusion of open-ended questions on quantitative surveys of children: Dealing with unanticipated responses relating to child abuse and neglect

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Abstract

Web surveys have been shown to be a viable, and relatively inexpensive, method of data collection with children. For this reason, the Kids’ Life and Times (KLT) was developed as an annual online survey of 10 and 11 year old children. Each year, approximately 4,000 children participate in the survey. Throughout the six years that KLT has been running, a range of questions has been asked that are both policy-relevant and important to the lives of children. Given the method employed by the survey, no extremely sensitive questions that might cause the children distress are included. The majority of questions on KLT are closed yielding quantitative data that are analysed statistically; however, one regular open-ended question is included at the end of KLT each year so that the children can suggest questions that they think should be asked on the survey the following year. While most of the responses are innocuous, each year a small minority of children suggest questions on child abuse and neglect. This paper reports the responses to this question and reflects on how researchers can, and should, deal with this issue from both a methodological and an ethical perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-207
Number of pages7
JournalChild abuse & neglect
Volume48
Early online date04 May 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015

Keywords

  • Abuse, Ethics, On-line survey; Open-ended questions

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