Journal of the ...Volume 11 Supplementary i... Creating spaces...
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Research Article

Creating spaces for co-research

orcid-imageRachel ProefkeRachel Proefke

Rachel Proefke is the Senior MEL Advisor for USAID/Rwanda’s Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting Activity. She was Co-Investigator on the Peak Youth, Climate Change and the Role of Young People in Seizing their Future research project while in post as Senior International Research Manager at the youth-led organization Restless Development, where she oversaw their youth-led research portfolio. Rachel has lived and worked in East Africa for the past decade, managing complex portfolios of research projects within the region and in 19 other countries across sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the MENA region. Her particular expertise is in mixed methods participatory research.

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orcid-imageAnna BarfordAnna Barford

Anna Barford is the Principal Investigator of the Peak Youth, Climate Change and the Role of Young People in Seizing their Future research project. During this project she was a Prince of Wales Fellow in Global Sustainability at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. Anna now works at the International Labour Organization, while holding a Bye Fellowship in Geography at Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge. She is an Advisor to Business Fights Poverty and an Associate of the Young Lives project.

Abstract

In the current era of peak youth, young people’s voices and authentic participation are needed more than ever. This article focuses on how youth participation in research can enhance wider understanding of young people’s experiences, perspectives and solutions, while also empowering young people. There is an established tradition of engaging young people and children with the qualitative research process, ranging from youth focussed research to youth-led participatory action research. Within this we occupy a middle ground, arguing for the need to create heterotopic spaces for participation in which both young researchers and professional researchers learn from one another’s expertise. Mindful of the roadblocks to authentic participation, this article systematically approaches engaging young people at six critical stages in the research process, namely: setting the framework; question design; data collection; analysis; validation; and sharing results for discussion and action. Youth co-research offers methodological rigour grounded in a reconceptualization of where expertise can be found, a committed approach to research training and youth empowerment, greater access to hard-to-reach groups of young people and data validity built upon close engagement with young researchers. To demonstrate our approach, we share in this article three youth co-research case studies, which focus on young people experiencing climate change disruptions in Uganda, young people impacted by COVID-19 in Indonesia and Nepal and a youth think tank convened between East, West and Southern Africa. The rigour and value of youth-engaged qualitative methodologies can benefit young people, as well as the academics, policymakers and NGOs with whom they work.

Keywords

inclusionauthorityparticipationyoung peopleAfricaUgandaIndonesiaNepal
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Published on: 2 November 2023
Volume: 11
Issue: Supplementary issue 3
Article ID: 019
Pages:19 - 42
Copyright statement
© The author(s) 2023.
Cite this article
Proefke with Barford (2023), ' Creating spaces for co-research ', Journal of the British Academy, 11(Supplementary issue 3): 019 https://doi.org/10.5871/jba/011s3.019

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Normal View Dyslexic View

Creating spaces for co-research

orcid-imageRachel ProefkeRachel Proefke

Rachel Proefke is the Senior MEL Advisor for USAID/Rwanda’s Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting Activity. She was Co-Investigator on the Peak Youth, Climate Change and the Role of Young People in Seizing their Future research project while in post as Senior International Research Manager at the youth-led organization Restless Development, where she oversaw their youth-led research portfolio. Rachel has lived and worked in East Africa for the past decade, managing complex portfolios of research projects within the region and in 19 other countries across sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the MENA region. Her particular expertise is in mixed methods participatory research.

,
orcid-imageAnna BarfordAnna Barford

Anna Barford is the Principal Investigator of the Peak Youth, Climate Change and the Role of Young People in Seizing their Future research project. During this project she was a Prince of Wales Fellow in Global Sustainability at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. Anna now works at the International Labour Organization, while holding a Bye Fellowship in Geography at Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge. She is an Advisor to Business Fights Poverty and an Associate of the Young Lives project.