Our Thoughts - Young Evaluators Panel
The Centre’s Research and Projects Assistant Zunaira Mahmood and Finlay from our Young Evaluators Panel reflect on the #iwill Youth Voice evaluation so far and the pros and cons of participatory research.
It has been great fun working with our Young Evaluators Panel (YEP) since October, and our collaboration on key elements of the evaluation is really starting to steer the direction of our project. Over the last few months, we have focused on setting goals for what we would like to achieve through this partnership whilst being open and aware of the boundaries of the evaluation, which enables us to set realistics ambitions for our work together.
As Finlay says, “having a group of young people working in the project alongside adult researchers is the best way to understand what we didn’t know. Often, viewpoints, ideas and interpretations adults would never have considered come from the young people themselves, including things I, as a young person, didn’t think of either - We come from a range of experiences and all see things differently”.
Collaborating with a group of young evaluators who have had a range of experiences with youth social action and youth work has allowed for unique new perspectives and ideas to be shared. Our young evaluators have fed into many aspects of our evaluation, from providing feedback on our data trawl framework, establishing what constitutes as evidence to defining what youth voice means for them. The range of activity that the YEP can be involved in means that hopefully there is something to spark everyone’s interest and speak to their skillset - this has allowed us all to learn from each other and bring our strengths and expertise to work together.
We sat down with YEP for some reflective feedback in our January monthly meeting, and they shared their thoughts on the process so far. Our panel has enjoyed the interactive meetings where we come together once a month for project updates, working through upcoming comms activities and the next stages of the evaluation. They suggested we use some of our upcoming meetings to focus on one upcoming area of our evaluation, such as planning roles and responsibilities for comms activities and capturing the learning from our upcoming residential.
We will continue to make time to regularly check-in with the YEP, to ensure we have a good understanding of what works for them and enable everyone to be involved in ways they want to be. I am extremely excited for the next phase of our evaluation with the YEP as we move onto data analysis - we’ve got our second residential coming up next month, and nothing can replace the energy and excitement of the whole team coming together!