This article investigates the meanings of sound research ethics in social science research involving children. In recent years, coinciding with an increased interest in research that involves children, discussions have emerged regarding both the processes of ethical research design and subsequent approval mechanisms. In these discussions, two different views on research ethics can be distinguished: ethics as risk management and ethics as research practice. However, the international discussion seems to have had little impact on Swedish ethics deliberations. The paper aims to raise awareness and stimulate a continuing academic conversation about how to act ethically in social science research where children are included. First, the two views are explored separately. The article examines and compares how perceptions of research ethics as risk management take form in the formal regulations in two nations. Thereafter, the most significant meanings of ethics as research practice are investigated. Consequences for researchers, children and research are discussed throughout the paper.

Keywords: Research ethics, Research with children