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Carol McNaughton Nicholls (Natcen) Louca-Mai Brady (NCB) Dillon Denton-Ashley Chair: Naomi Jones (NatCen) Engaging young people as researchers.

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Presentation on theme: "Carol McNaughton Nicholls (Natcen) Louca-Mai Brady (NCB) Dillon Denton-Ashley Chair: Naomi Jones (NatCen) Engaging young people as researchers."— Presentation transcript:

1 Carol McNaughton Nicholls (Natcen) Louca-Mai Brady (NCB) Dillon Denton-Ashley Chair: Naomi Jones (NatCen) Engaging young people as researchers

2 Who we are Louca-Mai Brady, Senior Research Officer, NCB Research Centre NCB is the leading support and development charity for children, young people and families The NCB Research Centre has a varied programme of high quality research across NCB’s areas of interest In both NCB and the Research Centre promoting and supporting children and young people’s participation is a key aspect of our work

3 Who we are Dr Carol McNaughton Nicholls, Research Director, Qualitative Research Unit, NatCen Naomi Jones, Research Director, Qualitative Research Unit, NatCen NatCen -Leading independent social research institute. Our work covers all areas of social policy and our aim is a society better informed through quality research. Large scale surveys, quantitative and qualitative research, often for central government.

4 Who you are… Why you were interested in attending Any experience of engaging young people in research? Current or forthcoming projects

5 Outline of session Definitions, benefits and principles of involvement Practical example from perspective of YP organisation Challenges of involvement – ideal, reality and pragmatism Practical example from perspective of research organisation Conclusion – checklist for involvement

6 Drivers behind engagement of young people

7 Consultation is the process by which children and young people are asked their opinions – on a specific issue or broader agenda (eg as research participants) Involvement/participation is the process by which individuals and groups of individuals can influence decision- making and bring about change (eg through involvement in the planning and process of research)

8 Different roles Participant Young advisor Young researcher Young people/peer-led

9 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) Article 12. Every child and young person has the right to express his or her views freely in all matters affecting them Article 13. Every child and young person has the right to freedom of expression, including the right to all kinds of information and ideas.

10 Theoretical perspectives Involving those on whom research focuses on can have a positive impact on what is researched, how research is conducted and the impact of research findings (Staley, 2009) Shift from seeing CYP as subjects of research/ objects of enquiry towards a view of CYP as social actors with right to active participation (eg Grieg et al, 2007; Prout, 2002) Increasing acknowledgement of their competence to do so and the power of the ‘child voice’ in research (eg Alderson, 2001; Powell & Smith, 2009).

11 Why is involvement important? Impacts on research: shaping research agendas to reflect those with greatest relevance; honing research designs, including ethical considerations and the appropriateness of language used; encouraging validation in the analytical process; and, when involved in dissemination, promotes trust in the research findings among the wider community. (Staley, 2009)

12 Benefits for research Research topics and questions that are relevant to CYP’s lives Appropriate and accessible research methods and tools Involving young researchers can change the nature of data collected Increasing impact of research Developing understanding and bridging gaps between adults and CYP

13 Benefits for children and young people Chance to be actively involved in issues that affect them Gaining recognition for their contribution Skills and experience Personal development

14 Model of involvement in research Consultation (focus groups or one-off meetings at key stages of the research – eg to seek views on a research proposal) Collaboration (active, on-going participation – eg reference or advisory groups; young researchers working alongside adults on elements of a study) Young people-led (locus of power is with young people for some, or all, key elements of a study)

15 Ladder of participation

16 The NCB Research Centre model Children/young people's views are taken into account by researchers Children/young people are involved in decision-making with researchers Children and young people have ownership of the research Children and young people are the main stakeholders in research Based on Kirby et al. Building a Culture of Participation (2003)

17 Questions and discussion What do you see as the benefits? For you/ the research For young people Methodological Epistemological Ethics and rights? Views on the model presented

18 Practical example of CYP’s involvement – the PEAR group

19 : our voices, our health A Wellcome Trust-funded project supporting 20 young people to contribute to UK public health research and policy Pilot project 11/2005 – 02/2008 Current project – 10/2008 – 11/2010 20 young people - meet in school holidays


21 works to: Help young people to learn about, inform and influence public health research and policy Develop links between young people and public health researchers and policy makers Produce and distributing information about public health issues and research to young people Demonstrates the impact of young people’s involvement in public health research, and how this can be applied to policy and practice

22 activity includes: Work with public health researchers, policymakers and research bodies (eg PHRC, NICE, INVOLVE) Website ( Research summaries Conference (London, 27 Oct 2010) Speaking at events and conferences Responding to consultations Commissioning own research project

23 Benefits – PEAR members’ views: Opportunities to learn about public health, gain research skills and have something to put on our CVs Having our voices heard by researchers and policymakers Helping to make research and policy more relevant to young people Letting other young people know about public health issues that affect them

24 “We’ve been able to work with researchers and give our opinions. There’s a mutual benefit, we’ve helped them and also gained knowledge ourselves” “There’s lots of research about young people and public health – we deserve to have our voices heard” “It’s important that we’re involved [in projects like PEAR] as then our opinions are heard not assumed” “It’s important that we’re involved [in projects like PEAR] so that we can have an effect on young people’s public health policies”

25 Other NCB involvement projects Developing the participation of disabled children and young people (2010-13) Involving Children in the Medicines for Children Research Network (2005 – on-going) Evaluation of Youth4U - Young Inspectors (2009 – 2011) Centre for Excellence and Outcomes (C4EO) young people-led research on impact of discrimination on educational attainment (2009) Young Researcher Network – young people-led research on ‘Media Portrayal of Young People: impact and influences’ (2008) National Review of CAMHS services (2008) What Makes the Difference? Peer research with care-experienced young researchers(2007)

26 Questions on the PEAR project?

27 Challenges of involvement

28 Questions and discussion What do you see as the challenges? For you/ research For young people Methodological Epistemological Ethics and rights? When and why might you not involve young people in research?

29 Availability Age and accrual Informed consent and the role of gatekeepers Safeguarding and child protection vs rights to participate Diversity and inclusive practice Resource implications Lack of experience Power issues Balancing young people’s & researchers’ expectations Quality and ethics Scepticism from researchers and research bodies Not always meaningful, possible or appropriate?

30 Reality and the ideal: a pragmatic middle ground?

31 IdealReality Duration of project Significant control over decision making Training and support Unique standpoint privileged P R A G M A T I S M Project set up and recruitment required before involvement Policy/funder objectives to meet Resource intensive – recruitment, training, support, admin High level of commitment asked for from peers, level of recompense? Lack of evidence regarding impact (Carr, 2004)

32 Practical example of YP involvement: Formative evaluation of v

33 V evaluation and peer researchers Pragmatic approach to peer research involvement V – youth volunteering agency V evaluation Formative Two and a half years Mixed methods – strands include survey of grant recipients, omnibus survey, review of marketing, CBA, qualitative case studies, discourse analysis, analysis of monitoring data Consortium Involvement of young people central to v – desire to involve in evaluation

34 V peer researchers Who are peer researchers: Decision ‘peer’ – 16 – 25 with experience of volunteering Recruited to reflect diversity/competency/interest 12 peer researchers recruited at the end of 2009 Residential Training weekend January 2010 What are they working on: Qualitative case studies In depth case studies began March 2010 Design of topic guides & fieldwork strategies for case studies February 2010 In depth case study visits underway (lead sections of interviews etc)


36 Preparing for involvement: Purpose of involvement: Accountability Quality Learning Parameters of involvement clarity of role and responsibilities - job spec focus on in depth case studies data collection encounters with young people constraints when designing & conducting social research Design of recruitment strategy Designing Training

37 Training: Principles underpinning training: Not making assumptions about ability levels Making involvement as accessible as possible Thinking flexibly & creatively about how best to offer support Training sessions: Overview of Evaluation: Introduction to Qualitative Research and QRU Introduction to Qualitative Data Collection Introduction to research ethics Training delivery: Formal taught sessions Group exercises – designing case studies. Facilitation by external expert


39 Support: Assigning a peer researcher coordinator; payments and invoices; setting up processes and developing guidelines; maintaining general contact Ensuring that the way we work with peer researchers meet existing organisational procedures Data Security Ethics/ Disclosure Communication Monthly newsletter Mentor Facebook Training – regular sessions

40 Mentor: Facilitate peer researchers involvement by acting as the main point of contact Monitor the time spent on tasks and the quality of work meets expectations Establish a professional but supportive relationship with peer researchers To assist and facilitate skills development

41 Challenges Young person – researcher identity is on a continuum and changes over time Support and training v normalisation Availability Fieldwork skills Staff resources Research aims and design already set Inherently hierarchical manner of working

42 A view from a young person Why involved Always been interested in society and social work Had previous interest in solving problems as a volunteer (volunteered for Turning Point and Media company working in the community) Why is it important Relate to young people Understand them – read between the lines More trusting towards other young people Young people trust the research findings more

43 A view from a young person Challenges Time My challenges – finances, cannot be paid due to benefits College and priorities Lots to understand – will I make a fool of myself? Nerves Tips on how to involve young people Look at the background, if they cannot give them money try to give them something else.

44 A view from a young person What do I want to gain from it: Experience

45 Benefits of involvement: Honing research designs, including ethical considerations and the appropriateness of language used.  Shaping research agendas to reflect those with greatest relevance.  Encouraging validation in the analytical process. ? Involved in dissemination, promotes trust in the research findings among the wider community. ? Access to population and trust in the research  Capacity builds within organisation; Engages with wider community 

46 Questions on the V evaluation?

47 Conclusion: Checklist for involvement

48 Benefits to research as well as those involved Planned from the outset Recruitment – how, where, who and for how long CYP involved in deciding if, when and how they want to be involved – and given all the information they need to do so Informing parents or carers if under 16/18 On-going training and support Involvement in as many stages of research as possible Involvement is accessible and relevant to those involved Agree clearly defined roles Genuine opportunities for meaningful decision-making Reward and recognition (and challenges re: benefits) Safe working procedures and ethics Staff resources Evaluation and feedback Exit Strategy

49 Discussion and questions why engage young people as researchers? why not engage young people as researchers? how could or should this apply to your own research? what are the implications for ESRC and other research funders?

50 Further information (INVOLVE – guides on payment, involving CYP and other information including recent report on impact) Participation Works: Children’s Rights Alliance for England: National Youth Agency: services/young-researcher-network services/young-researcher-network

51 References Alderson, P. (2001) ‘Research by Children’. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, vol 4, no 2, pp 139-153. Greig, A., Taylor, J. and MacKay, T. (2007) Doing Research with Children. London: Sage Kellett, M. (2005). How to Develop Children as Researchers. London: Paul Chapman Kirby, P., Lanyon, C., Cronin, K. and Sinclair, R. (2003) Building a Culture of Participation: involving children and young people in policy, service planning, delivery and evaluation. London: DfES. Kirby, P. (2003) A Guide to Actively Involving Young People in Research, for researchers, research commissioners and managers. Eastleigh: INVOLVE. Powell, M.A. and Smith, A.B. (2009) ‘Children’s Participation Rights in Research’. Childhood, vol 16, pp 124-142. Prout, A. (2002) ‘Researching children as social actors: an introduction to the Children 5-16 programme’. Children and Society, vol 16, no 2, pp67-76. Staley, K. (2009) Exploring impact: public involvement in NHS, public health and social care research. Eastleigh, Hampshire: INVOLVE

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