Research with young people creates an evidence base to demonstrate outcomes. Projects and services are improved when young people are meaningfully involved in research. It builds evidence to demonstrate outcomes to funders and influence policymakers. Participatory research allows young people to study a community issue and advocate for change based on their findings.
There are a few different ways to runparticipatory research with young people – thelevel of young people’s involvement can varybased on what you’re all trying to achieve. Different types of research with young people include:
Any piece of research with young people needs to consider ethical issues – is there any risk of harm for those involved? Can young people give informed consent to take part? How will privacy and confidentiality be addressed?
You won’t always need parental consent for young people under 18 to take part in research. Sometimes it might not be possible for young people to go home and get their parent or caregiver to sign a consent form, and come back. If you do feel you need adult consent, it might be better to try and get their verbal consent over the phone.
In any case, you’ll need to judge whether these young people are mature and comfortable enough to take part, and understand what the research is for and what will happen with their data. Take a look at the ethics, safeguarding and consent article to help this through some more.
In any research involving young people, there can be a number of different levels of power present. This can affect how young people participate in the research and the research findings. Be aware of the power of adults over young people, the power of young people over one another and the power of location of research (for example, if young people researching their school).
If you’re working with young researchers, you’ll need to strike a balance between supporting them to and managing (or controlling) them. Be honest about what the research can actually achieve.
Action Research is a reflective, problem solving research process. Participatory Action Research (PAR) allows young people who are directly affected by an issue to become co-researchers to study it, then advocate for change based on their findings. PAR helps young people engage with their community by:
Other benefits of PAR are:
Evaluation is research on a project, program or activity to find out what happened – indicators and evidence of success.…