Ethical issues related to research on pregnant school-going teenagers in South Africa

Sogo France Matlala


Background: This paper describes the procedures the researcher followed in order to both observe and respect ethical issues when conducting research on pregnant teenagers attending secondary schools in South Africa.

Data sources and methods: The paper draws on the literature to discuss pregnant school-attending teenagers as a vulnerable population and indicates the measures the author took to respect ethical issues.

Findings: Pregnant school-going teenagers in South Africa are vulnerable as they are young, pregnant and under the authority of a school. Pregnancy amongst school-going teenagers is a public health issue that requires research in order to yield solutions and pregnant teenagers are important participants in such research as they have experiences and suggestions to share.

Conclusion: Researchers should ensure that pregnant teenagers are given sufficient information about the research process so they can give informed voluntary consent to participate. Furthermore there should be justice, confidentiality, anonymity and beneficence throughout the research process 


Teenage pregnancy; informed voluntary consent; vulnerable population; research ethics; learner pregnancy

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ISSN 2308-7854 (online); ISSN 0850-5780 (print)

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