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Speaker:  Dr Gina Crivello, Senior Qualitative Researcher, Young Lives, Department of International Development, University of Oxford

Abstract:  Young Lives (2002-2017) is the first cross-national, longitudinal, mixed methods, multi-generational, child-focussed, policy-engaged study of its kind to have been carried out in the developing world.  It uses survey questionnaires and qualitative interviews to trace the life trajectories of 12,000 children growing up in poverty in Ethiopia, India (Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states), Peru and Vietnam.  It is designed as a long-term observational study, so actively avoids interventions that might alter the sample. That the study relies on the ongoing participation of vulnerable children and families raises ethical challenges with respect to research reciprocity, and these challenges are exacerbated the longer the study goes on. 

In this presentation, I draw on the experiences documented by the qualitative research team over a seven-year period (2007-2014), including the recorded accounts of the children, families and fieldworkers most directly involved in the generation of data ‘on the ground’. I draw on classic anthropological theories of ‘gift exchange’ (Mauss 1924) to describe and explain the way reciprocal relations were created, maintained and challenged in the study, and I offer concrete examples from qualitative fieldwork in the four study countries. Reciprocal relations were experienced in different ways, on the one hand, as a ‘constrained ethics’ giving rise to tensions and frustrations; for example, participants do not gain any material benefit by being part of the study and fieldworkers are asked not to give personal gifts or contacts to families. On the other hand, a ‘transformative ethics’ was also at play and created a generative space for new capacities, identities, relationships and data. Long-term research collaboration with vulnerable children and families has meant developing an ethical literacy that acknowledges both constraints and transformative potential, and is best understood as an evolving, negotiated, imperfect process over time. 


Please note: If you are not a member of the Ethox Team and are planning on coming, please email Jane Beinart

Forthcoming events

NDPH Seminar - Changing the way medical research is funded: Some lessons from Australia

Thursday, 26 September 2019, 4pm to 5pm @ Seminar rooms, BDI, Old Road Campus, OX3 7LF

Ethox/WEH Seminar - Reclaiming a Sense of Common Humanity: A Confucian Ethical Vision

Wednesday, 02 October 2019, 11am to 12.30pm @ Level 1 Ax Meeting Room, BDI, Old Road Campus, OX3 7LF

UVBO Seminar - Can wearable sensors and machine learning enhance our understanding of lifestyle health behaviours?

Thursday, 17 October 2019, 1pm to 2pm @ L1 Meeting room, Richard Doll Building, Old Road Campus, OX3 7LF

UVBO Seminar - Nutrient timing and human health

Thursday, 24 October 2019, 1pm to 2pm @ School of Anthropology, 61 Banbury Road, OX2 6PE

Pharmaceutical policies in the long run: reflections on 60th anniversary of the Hinchliffe Report

Monday, 11 November 2019, 9.30am to 5pm @ Merton College, Merton Street Oxford, OX1 4JD

Designing and Running Streamlined Randomized Trials

Monday, 13 January 2020 to Tuesday, 14 January 2020, 9.30am - 5pm