Action research with young people: possibilities and ‘messy realities’

Percy-Smith, Barry, Cuconato, Morena, Reutlinger, Christian and Thomas, Nigel Patrick orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-5310-9144 (2019) Action research with young people: possibilities and ‘messy realities’. Diskurs Kindheits- und Jugendforschung / Discourse. Journal of Childhood and Adolescence Research, 3 . pp. 255-270. ISSN 1862-5002

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This paper reflects on our experiences of using participatory action research (PAR) with young people as part of an EU H2020 project exploring the spaces and styles of youth participation in formal, nonformal and informal settings. The paper outlines key tenets of action research and provides a brief review of the literature concerning the use of PAR in youth research. Drawing on three case studies, we provide an honest account of some of the messy realities involved in realizing the promise of participatory action research in practice. The central focus is on how the action research played out in practice, the challenges of undertaking PAR within the context of a funded project with predefined deliverables, the power relationships between researchers and young people and how agendas are negotiated in action research

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