Action research with young people: possibilities and ‘messy realities’

Barry Percy-Smith, Morena Cuconato, Christian Reutlinger, N.Patrick Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issue

Abstract

This paper reflects on our experiences of using participatory action research (PAR) with young people as part of an EU H2020 project exploring the spaces and styles of youth participation in formal, non-formal and informal settings. The paper outlines key tenets of action research and provides a brief review of the literature concerning the use of PAR in youth research. Drawing on three case studies, we provide an honest account of some of the messy realities involved in realising the promise of participatory action research in practice. The central focus is on how the action research played out in practice, the challenges of undertaking PAR within the context of a funded project with predefined deliverables, the power relationships between researchers and young people and how agendas are negotiated in action research. We conclude with some critical reflections on lessons learnt, highlighting the importance of acknowledging the exploratory nature of PAR and the critical role of the researcher as facilitator.
LanguageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalDiscourse. Journal of Childhood and Adolescence Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 23 May 2019

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Action research with young people : possibilities and ‘messy realities’. / Percy-Smith, Barry; Cuconato, Morena; Reutlinger, Christian; Thomas, N.Patrick.

In: Discourse. Journal of Childhood and Adolescence Research, 23.05.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issue

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AU - Reutlinger, Christian

AU - Thomas, N.Patrick

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AB - This paper reflects on our experiences of using participatory action research (PAR) with young people as part of an EU H2020 project exploring the spaces and styles of youth participation in formal, non-formal and informal settings. The paper outlines key tenets of action research and provides a brief review of the literature concerning the use of PAR in youth research. Drawing on three case studies, we provide an honest account of some of the messy realities involved in realising the promise of participatory action research in practice. The central focus is on how the action research played out in practice, the challenges of undertaking PAR within the context of a funded project with predefined deliverables, the power relationships between researchers and young people and how agendas are negotiated in action research. We conclude with some critical reflections on lessons learnt, highlighting the importance of acknowledging the exploratory nature of PAR and the critical role of the researcher as facilitator.

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