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Children and Youth Voice, Youth Involvement, Youth Engagement, Youth Organizing and Youth Participation in

Participatory Action Research

 

Intro

The Freechild Project believes that youth-centered Participatory Action Research, or PAR, is an effective method of engaging young people in research in order to create positive social change. It has been defined as "collective, self-reflective enquiry undertaken by participants in social situations in order improve the rationality and justice of their own social...practices." (Definition taken from the source cited here.)

 

Point to Ponder

"We believe that to confront the challenges our communities face, people--not just their advocates--need to define issues and develop strategies for action. [We] foster leadership, literacy and language development among its participants and provides them an enriching job experience that prepares them for college and for careers in community organizing, advocacy and services delivery." (YARG homepage)

 

Resources

The following organizations and publications have been identified by Freechild's youth researchers to assist young people and their adult allies in discovering more about PAR.

 

Organizations

 

Youth Action Research Institute (YARI) - The Youth Action Research Institute (YARI) (formerly the National Teen Action Research Center) of the Institute for Community Research was formed in 1996 based on nearly a decade of work on youth-led action research for development, risk prevention, and social change. YARI promotes the use of action research for personal, group, and community development. Participants include children, preadolescents, and youth of diverse ethnic backgrounds as well as sexual minority youth.

 

Youth Action Research Group - The Youth Action Research Group (YARG) involves community residents in defining, researching and critically analyzing the challenges facing their neighborhoods. The young people in YARG learn participatory action research methods and ethnographic techniques to better understand their surrounding community for the purpose of addressing pressing social issues.  YARG was founded with the goal of developing new leaders and engaging more people in community organizing and local citizenship. We believe that to confront the challenges our communities face, people--not just their advocates--need to define issues and develop strategies for action. YARG fosters leadership, literacy and language development among its participants and provides them an enriching job experience that prepares them for college and for careers in community organizing, advocacy and services delivery.

 

Youth Strategy Project - The Youth Strategy Project provides strategic research, consultation, and training for social, economic and environmental justice organizations. It is tailored to build the research and analytical skills of the next generation of movement leaders.  The project has established partnerships with technical assistance groups supporting youth organizing throughout the U.S. We also conduct research and develop trainings for community-based youth organizations and projects around the country.

 

The Freechild Project Section Investigating Youth Involvement

 

Publications

 

Approaches to Conducting Action Research with Youth - Special Issue of the Journal of Practicing Anthropology edited by M. Berg and J. Schensul of the Institute for Community Research. Covers a wide variety of topics and examples, including PAR in schools, teen health issues, international applications, and more.
 

Youth Involvement in Evaluation and Research Brief

 

Creating Community Change: Challenges and Tensions in Community Youth Research - an issue brief

 

Youth Engaged in Leadership & Learning (Youth Mapping) annotated bibliography

 

Going the Distance: Supporting Community Youth Development - a presentation at the

Coalition of Community Foundation for Youth 2002 Annual Conference

 

 

Curricula

 

Youth Engaged in Leadership & Learning (Y.E.L.L.)by the J. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities at Stanford Univ. - [90 pg (est) PDF 2001] - For anyone involved in youth development and leadership. Designed help those training youth to become active contributors to decision-making processes in their community. Lessons in the handbook introduce youth to different research methods, analytical tools and presentation skills. The lessons can be adapted to meet the needs and interests of different communities, and can be facilitated by teachers and educators in school and out-of-school contexts.

 

Empowered Voices: A Participatory Action Research Curriculum for Girls - This curriculum is a project designed to reduce or prevent substance abuse and risky sexual behavior and increase school attachment through participatory action research. The program is based on social learning theory and was designed for use with Puerto Rican, African-American and Caribbean girls from at-risk neighborhoods.

 

Participatory Action Research Curriculum for Empowering Youth

 

Events

 

Crossroads: Critical Issues in Community Based Research Partnerships National Conference - A conference exclusively for youth that includes an adult/youth panel on PAR, an interactive workshop on PAR, a screening room with videos produced in collaboration with youth,  an open mic, as well as a session on the use of video and photography in research which includes work developed by teens. 

 

Involving Young People in Community Evaluation Research - By Barry Checkoway. An article exploring the 2002 Wingspread Conference on the same topic. Includes suggested guidelines and more.

 

 

Special thanks to Marlene Berg at the Institute for Community Research for her contributions to this webpage.

 

 

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