ESOMAR/GRBN Guideline for Research With Children and Vulnerable Individuals Launched

ESOMAR/GRBN Guideline for Research With Children and Vulnerable Individuals Launched
ESOMAR/GRBN Guideline for Research With Children and Vulnerable Individuals Launched

New guideline highlights best practices for research and data analytics involving children, young people and other vulnerable individuals


ESOMAR and GRBN are pleased to announce the launch of their joint Guideline for Research and Data Analytics with Children, Young People and Other Vulnerable Individuals. This joint guideline was drafted so parents and guardians can feel confident when their child participates in research or when their data is being analysed for research purposes. Working with children and vulnerable individuals demands a specific approach and extra care by research professionals, as required explicitly by the ethical Codes of Conduct for research and data analytics.

Finn Raben, Director General of ESOMAR said:


“When children or vulnerable people are involved in research or data analytics, researchers must be attentive to the ethical and practical considerations, because society expects us to. With ongoing developments in privacy legislation, we have a responsibility to take extra care when we want to gain insights from vulnerable individuals. ESOMAR and GRBN expect practitioners to consider the ethical requirements to prevent harm and address legitimate concerns.”


The opinions and attitudes of children, young people, and vulnerable individuals are often sought to improve services and products designed for them. New insights about them are gained from traditional questionnaires designed specifically for this group, and increasingly, through analysis of data collected about them. The focus of this guideline is not the technical problems of such research, but the legal, ethical and practical considerations. This guideline puts the wellbeing of these individuals, including the child, first. ESOMAR and GRBN have included policies for the latest research techniques to ensure no child is incidentally harmed.

Andrew Cannon, Executive Director of the Global Research Business Network, added:


“Getting consent for research with children is not always easy, especially in the online environment, and we are delighted that we have improved guidance for practitioners. The guideline allows for a local response to a shared global concern. We trust our sector to ensure that the content and circumstances of the data collection will not upset or disturb parents and guardians. As research technologies continue to evolve, our guidance will evolve to clarify the changing legal and ethical needs.”


This new Guideline reaffirms global principles and how they should be applied by researchers worldwide. It was drafted with recent developments in privacy laws and technological changes in mind. This Guideline recognises that the age of child varies from one country to another and that local culture dictates who can give consent for studies involving children. It highlights the need to treat children, their parents, and vulnerable individuals with due respect and consideration.

The guideline includes:

  • How to get appropriate consent in online surveys.
  • What parents and guardians need to know before their child participates in the study.
  • Measures to take when children are doing product testing.
  • What researchers should do when working with children’s data on social media, with photos or audio/video recordings of children

The new guideline can be access from here.

Article reproduced with permission of RW Connect and ESOMAR.