Original Research - Special Collection: Doing Theology with Children: Exploring Emancipatory Methodologies

Research with children as theologians: Ethical and methodological issues

Annemie Dillen
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 1 | a5507 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i1.5507 | © 2019 Annemie Dillen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 April 2019 | Published: 12 December 2019

About the author(s)

Annemie Dillen, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, KU Leuven, Leuven; Extraordinary Researcher, Unit for Reformational Theology and Development of the South African Society, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


In this article, I explain why it is important for theologians to involve children in empirical research, and why children themselves can and should be considered as ‘theologians’. Therefore, I refer to theories in childhood studies and child theology (children as active participants and subjects), and also to contemporary trends in empirical research and practical theology (views on theology and ethnography, lived religion etc.). Counter-arguments for involving children in empirical research are discussed as well. In the second step, I deal with ethical issues and discuss which aspects have to be taken into account when doing research with children.


Childhood studies; Empirical research; Practical theology; Research ethics; Children’s spirituality; Empirical theology


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Crossref Citations

1. Children’s spirituality and theologising with children: the role of ‘context’
Annemie Dillen
International Journal of Children's Spirituality  vol: 25  issue: 3-4  first page: 238  year: 2020  
doi: 10.1080/1364436X.2020.1843412