So you’re literally taking the piss?! Critically analysing and accounting for ethics (and risk) in interdisciplinary research on children and plastics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Whilst interdisciplinarity has been an integral part of childhood studies, it is less common for social scientists and natural scientists to collaborate in this space – and especially with scholars like environmental (nano)scientists. This paper draws on vignettes from a project about children and plastics, which combined a range of qualitative, artistic and biosampling methods. Focusing on these methodological intersections, the paper critically reflects on a range of ethical issues, including institutional ethical approval, health and risk assessments, informed consent, and data analysis. Its principal contribution is to outline significant ethical issues rarely (if ever) considered by childhood studies scholars, anticipating that doing so might support others (including those beyond childhood studies) wishing to engage in similar kinds of interdisciplinary research, especially in response to complex, pressing, socio-environmental challenges facing children. The paper’s second contribution is to offer a more systematic set of ethical considerations for burgeoning new-materialist, posthuman and post-qualitative approaches to childhood studies.


Original languageEnglish
JournalChildren's Geographies
Early online date18 Jan 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jan 2021


  • Interdisciplinary research ethics, environmental science, new materialist and posthumanist childhood studies, qualitative methods, health and safety