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Volume 3, Issue 1 (1974)

Ethical Issues in Research in Early Childhood Intervention

pp. 60—67

In a sense this paper represents an extension of an article by M. Brewster Smith (1967) about value conflicts in behavioral research with children that appeared in Children, since its purpose is to examine the ethical issues involved in research on the effects of planned intervention early in a child’s life. In another sense, however, I am presenting here a somewhat personal account of over a decade of involvement in intervention research with young children from low-income families. In the past decade my colleagues and I have moved from a time in which intervention research on low-income children was seen as a somewhat aberrant interest for psychologists through a time in which we were seen as in the forefront of a brave new social movement, to a time in which the desirability of our work is seriously questioned in some quarters. The wide attention given to the Jensen (1969) article in the Harvard Education & Review and the Westinghouse Report (Cicirelli, 1969), “The Impact of Project Head Start,” is indicative of the public’s interest in programs of intervention as well as of some feelings of disillusionment.

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