Participatory research: what does the online world of youth look like?

Youth are not seen as sources of data but rather as real co-researchers. For her research on youth media literacy, Ying Chuck from the Movez Lab is conducting participatory research (Youth Participatory Action Research) with primary and lower secondary school pupils (10-14 years old). "By involving youth in the research process, we can learn together about online challenges in line with youth's real-life experiences. In doing so, we can better understand their online behaviour and develop interventions for problems that really matter to youth" said Ying.

Interactive and creative

Through three phases (explore, understand/deepen and solve), youth gain more insight into their online world and we as researchers learn what concerns them. In doing so, we listen carefully to their experience and views, ask open and in-depth questions and follow their interests. The participatory research project consists of interactive and creative assignments to support the pupils' thinking process. This allows them to share their online experiences but also critically reflect on their own online world. Thus, pupils are empowered to become media literate. The pupils state that they "learned what can happen online and that there are many advantages and disadvantages online". Additionally, they found it enjoyable to participate: "I enjoyed coming up with ways to prevent or overcome the disadvantages, and it was nice to do it together with others."

The research project is divided into several sessions in which pupils......

  1. Create mind maps to map their online world
  2. Brainstorm about advantages and disadvantages of what they do online
  3. Devise strategies for counteracting and preventing the identified disadvantages
  4. In groups, work out the strategies step by step on a poster
  5. Proudly present their posters to the class

You can read more about the content of the sessions we go through with pupils during Ying's participatory research project below. Wondering what that looks like in practice? Check out the video of the sessions at the secondary school in Breda!

Overview of sessions participatory research on media literacy among youth