Multilayered Ethics in Research Involving Unaccompanied Refugee Minors

Vervliet, M.; Rousseau, C.; Broekaert, E.; Derluyn, I. (2015)

Journal of Refugee Studies

28(4) | 468-485

Research articles about unaccompanied refugee minors (UM) have rarely addressed ethical issues. This is remarkable, given UM’s specific, marginalized and vulnerable position within society, and the growing interest and developments in research ethics in refugee research. This article poses the question whether studies involving UM raise specific ethical issues compared to research on other refugee groups. We formulate personal reflections on ethical issues in a particular research project—a longitudinal study of UM in Belgium—and connect them to the existing body of literature on research ethics in qualitative and refugee research. We conclude that research ethics in studies with UM need to be multilayered because of researchers’ obligation to take ethical responsibility at both the micro and socio-political levels