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March 5, 2004

youth-led research

Last fall, CIRCLE issued a call for groups of young people (adolescents, or people 20-25 who haven't attended college) to study youth civic engagement, possibly in partnership with adult mentors. CIRCLE has the funds to support a few such projects. We are looking for genuine, high-quality research that really emerges from young people. We closed the competition some weeks ago and deliberated today about 75 applications.

Meanwhile, a different group of colleagues and I are in the last stages of planning our own youth-led research project--a study of geographical factors in our community that may influence healthy eating and exercise. Next Monday, 35 high school students will come to the University to discuss these issues and help us begin planning a series of mapping exercises that they will conduct. I have been spending a lot of my time working on issues like: how to rent a school bus, how much pizza to order, and where to get tape recorders with mikes.

It's clear that our work is far from state-of-the-art. We adults have done too much of the planning before the kids arrive on Monday. However, I don't know whether any of the true youth-led projects generate excellent research. There is presumably a tradeoff between research quality and youth leadership. To get both at once would take time; you would need cadres of young people and an infrastructure for serving them (regular classes, meeting places, community partners, etc.). So I hope that we are at least on the road to doing work like that proposed by the best applicants to CIRCLE.

March 5, 2004 9:39 PM | category: none


Peter, I found your blog while googling youth-led research for a website I am helping one of my professors put together. I am a phd candidate at uncg and am planning to use youth-led research in my dissertation.
Although I agree that there is alot of work to be done in this field of research, as one of my professors constantly reminds me, we have to put all things in their historical context, and so with this issue. Although we may be far from have young people who understand how to do quality research, it is amazing to think that we are in a place where some people in our society appreciate youth voice and youth participation enough to give them the opportunity to learn. I look forward to the next ten years and to being a part of what the youth in my community uncover and address.

November 9, 2004 9:22 AM | Comments (1) | posted by amy bith gardner

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