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Workshop: Engaging Young People in Research

Society for Social Work and Research Conference Workshop

Saturday, January 13, 2018: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM

Marquis BR Salon 17 (ML 2) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)

Cluster: Communities and Neighborhoods


Cynthia George, PhD, Tennessee State University 

Engaging community members in research for evidence-based practice (EBP) is essential if we are to meet the grand challenge of our conference theme in Achieving Equal Opportunity, Equity, and Justice. A central question for EBP is “whose evidence” determines a program's effectiveness. Community-engaged research (CEnR) seeks to answer this question by facilitating the engagement of community stakeholders in as many stages of the research design as is feasible. There are many challenges related to community engagement in research and especially so when attempting to engage young people. This workshop is conducted by a former teen leader with a lifetime of involvement in community coalition work and over a decade of professional experience working directly with young people and community leaders for engaged program planning and evaluation. The presenter serves as the evaluation specialist for several of the nation's top teen driver safety programs including ThinkFast Interactive, Impact Teen Drivers, and Reduce TN Crashes. She also supports the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) with teen leadership development and evaluation research. This workshop is designed to engage the audience in thinking through their own CEnR projects. While the workshop is focused on partnering with young people, anyone interested in CEnR with any age group should find it useful. During the ninety minute workshop information will be presented including: 1) the basics of CEnR and an overview of its various forms (such as community-based participatory research, action research, and participatory action research); 2) the basics of research design for studies occurring in positivist, interpretive, and critical paradigms (including ontology, epistemology, methodology, and measures of rigor); 3) an overview of the evolution of theories guiding adult roles in working with young leaders (moving from tokenism to full partnership empowerment); and 4) best practices for research ethics unique to CEnR with young people (for studies occurring in school-based and community locations). This session is designed to employ andragogical techniques with pictures, taxonomies, and frameworks being presented for discussion throughout the first half. A group activity will be facilitated for the second half of this session. Participants will select a youth-centered issue to use as an example and then talk through the steps a researcher could take in order to maximize youth engagement during all phases of the research process. The key concepts presented serve to create a common language for participants to use in examining how engagement may look different for studies designed within positivist, interpretive, and critical paradigms. Decision-making will be grounded in the three ethical principles of research, respect for persons, beneficence, and justice. Challenges that may arise in CEnR will be discussed, along with group solution planning. Participants will also be connected to resources that can help them to continue their development as community-engaged researchers.

Workshop PowerPoint Slides

Printable - Participant Workbook

Printable - PPT Slide Handouts

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