Research Seminar: ‘Using youth advisors in research on “hard to reach” groups – the challenges and benefits of Peer Interviewing’, 9 December 2014

Dr Avril Keating, Institute of Education

3.00 to 4.30 pm, Tuesday 9 December 2014, Room 784, Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL

In recent years there has been increasing interest in participatory research methods and their practical, ethical, and epistemological benefits. These methods have been found to be particularly beneficial in increasing access to (and understanding of) social groups that academic and professional researchers often find difficult to engage in the research process (such as homeless people, asylum seekers, or drug users).

This seminar reports on a recent small-scale project that sought to use participatory research principles to collect in-depth qualitative data from young people with low income, low skills, and/ or from deprived backgrounds. As part of this project, we recruited youth workers to conduct peer interviews in their own (deprived) communities and to contribute to the developing research agenda and analysis. In this seminar, we will report on the results of these efforts, and highlight both the benefits and the challenges of putting these participatory principles into practice. In particular, we shall see that while the peer interviews produced very valuable data for the academic team, maintaining the participatory principles proved much more challenging.

This project was undertaken as part of LLAKES Project 1.2 – The Crisis for Contemporary Youth: Young People, Opportunities and Civic Values in the UK.

Avril Keating is a Senior Lecturer in Comparative Social Science, and an ESRC Future Research Leader fellow. She is jointly based in the LLAKES Research Centre and the Department of Lifelong Learning and Comparative Education (Institute of Education). At LLAKES, Avril is leading Project 1.2 with Andy Green, and overseeing the continuation of the Citizenship Education Longitudinal Study (CELS).

The seminar is free to attend, but prior registration would be helpful: to register, please contact

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