Research and evaluation

Youth engagement openings in research and evaluation at a glance

Co-evaluation and co-research with young people strengthens the research process, increasing relevance, ownership and collective action.

Indicators of success:

Youth can play important roles as co-evaluators and co-researchers. Supported to acquire the skills to participate meaningfully, young people can strengthen the research process, increase relevance, ownership and collective action. 

Youth work as co-evaluators

Participatory evaluation helps agencies and communities determine how well projects apply resources, meet outcomes and influence target audiences. For more on how youth can be engaged in the evaluation process, check out the Monitor and co-evaluate section.

Youth are engaged as co-researchers

Youth-centered participatory action research (PAR) engages young people as co-researchers to identify and define issues or questions of interest, collect and analyze data and take social action. Working with young people as co-researchers rather than “subjects” strengthens the research process 1. Here’s how:

  • Young people can get responses from their peers in ways that adult researchers cannot due to power and generational issues.
  • Research is informed by unique perspectives of youth; young people are in the best position to provide insight into a social problem that affects them personally.
  • Analysis and interpretation of data are informed by youth who are experts in local youth culture so that the evaluation is grounded in its context.
  • The experience of youth participating as co-researchers leads to important positive outcomes for youth and fosters positive development 1,2,3,4,5,6,7.

 

Featured story: Voices against violence
Voices against Violence examines the subtle and explicit ways in which structural violence is woven into the everyday lives of young Canadians, how it influences their health, and strategies that can be used by youth to overcome and resist violence. Voices against Violence engages youth in a participatory-action-research process which means the youth themselves are co-researchers who help shape and develop the design and activities of the project. Working in partnership with youth, academic researchers, community-based knowledge users and government partners, Voices against Violence: Youth Stories Create Change is working with diverse research groups in order to understand the various aspects of structural violence – including racism, classism, homophobia, ableism and others – from the perspectives of people of ages 16 to 24.

 

  • 1. a. b. Kellet, M. 2005
  • 2. Kirshner, Pozzoboni & Jones, 2011
  • 3. Suleiman, Soleimanpour & London, 2006
  • 4. Zeldin, O’Conner & Camino 2006
  • 5. Rubin & Jones, 2007
  • 6. London, Zimmerman & Erbstein, 2003
  • 7. Sabo, 2008