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Taking ethical photos of children for medical and research purposes in low-resource settings: an exploratory qualitative study.

Devakumar D, Brotherton H, Halbert J, Clarke A, Prost A, Hall J - BMC Med Ethics (2013)

Bottom Line: Photographs are a valuable but potentially harmful resource, thus informed consent is required but its form may vary by context.We suggest applying a hierarchy of dissemination to gauge how detailed the informed consent should be.Care should be taken not to cause harm, with the rights of the child being the paramount consideration.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: UCL Institute for Global Health, 30 Guilford St, WC1N 1EH, London, UK. d.devakumar@ucl.ac.uk

ABSTRACT

Background: Photographs are commonly taken of children in medical and research contexts. With the increased availability of photographs through the internet, it is increasingly important to consider their potential for negative consequences and the nature of any consent obtained. In this research we explore the issues around photography in low-resource settings, in particular concentrating on the challenges in gaining informed consent.

Methods: Exploratory qualitative study using focus group discussions involving medical doctors and researchers who are currently working or have recently worked in low-resource settings with children.

Results: Photographs are a valuable resource but photographers need to be mindful of how they are taken and used. Informed consent is needed when taking photographs but there were a number of problems in doing this, such as different concepts of consent, language and literacy barriers and the ability to understand the information. There was no consensus as to the form that the consent should take. Participants thought that while written consent was preferable, the mode of consent should depend on the situation.

Conclusions: Photographs are a valuable but potentially harmful resource, thus informed consent is required but its form may vary by context. We suggest applying a hierarchy of dissemination to gauge how detailed the informed consent should be. Care should be taken not to cause harm, with the rights of the child being the paramount consideration.

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Word cloud showing the most common words used in the focus groups. Created using NVivo software, version 10 (QSR International, Melbourne, Australia).
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Figure 1: Word cloud showing the most common words used in the focus groups. Created using NVivo software, version 10 (QSR International, Melbourne, Australia).

Mentions: The overwhelming message from all focus groups was the need for consent when taking photographs, particularly of children. However participants also highlighted difficulties in doing this. The word cloud in FigureĀ 1 shows the most frequent words used during discussions, with the size of the word representing its frequency. Consent and its equivalents was the most frequently used word (n=206) after photographs and its equivalents (n=244).


Taking ethical photos of children for medical and research purposes in low-resource settings: an exploratory qualitative study.

Devakumar D, Brotherton H, Halbert J, Clarke A, Prost A, Hall J - BMC Med Ethics (2013)

Word cloud showing the most common words used in the focus groups. Created using NVivo software, version 10 (QSR International, Melbourne, Australia).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3750443&req=5

Figure 1: Word cloud showing the most common words used in the focus groups. Created using NVivo software, version 10 (QSR International, Melbourne, Australia).
Mentions: The overwhelming message from all focus groups was the need for consent when taking photographs, particularly of children. However participants also highlighted difficulties in doing this. The word cloud in FigureĀ 1 shows the most frequent words used during discussions, with the size of the word representing its frequency. Consent and its equivalents was the most frequently used word (n=206) after photographs and its equivalents (n=244).

Bottom Line: Photographs are a valuable but potentially harmful resource, thus informed consent is required but its form may vary by context.We suggest applying a hierarchy of dissemination to gauge how detailed the informed consent should be.Care should be taken not to cause harm, with the rights of the child being the paramount consideration.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: UCL Institute for Global Health, 30 Guilford St, WC1N 1EH, London, UK. d.devakumar@ucl.ac.uk

ABSTRACT

Background: Photographs are commonly taken of children in medical and research contexts. With the increased availability of photographs through the internet, it is increasingly important to consider their potential for negative consequences and the nature of any consent obtained. In this research we explore the issues around photography in low-resource settings, in particular concentrating on the challenges in gaining informed consent.

Methods: Exploratory qualitative study using focus group discussions involving medical doctors and researchers who are currently working or have recently worked in low-resource settings with children.

Results: Photographs are a valuable resource but photographers need to be mindful of how they are taken and used. Informed consent is needed when taking photographs but there were a number of problems in doing this, such as different concepts of consent, language and literacy barriers and the ability to understand the information. There was no consensus as to the form that the consent should take. Participants thought that while written consent was preferable, the mode of consent should depend on the situation.

Conclusions: Photographs are a valuable but potentially harmful resource, thus informed consent is required but its form may vary by context. We suggest applying a hierarchy of dissemination to gauge how detailed the informed consent should be. Care should be taken not to cause harm, with the rights of the child being the paramount consideration.

Show MeSH