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Area Based Strategy


Introduction to Peer Research

YouthAction Northern Ireland facilitates a programme to develop young people's capacity as peer researchers. Based on the success of the Newry and Armagh peer research group (2005) this model of practice has been developed to support young people aged 13 years to 25 years to engage in action research processes as a mechanism to consult with other young people while bringing their own voice forward too. Key to this model is research training and simulation within the context of the agencies research ethics framework. The findings are presented back to young people who have been involved in the consultation process.

The Peer Research volunteer model implies an approach in which research is working to influencing change. The Peer Research model was set up to be a key informant in developing collaborative strategies and actions for improving services and initiatives for young people throughout the area. The model demonstrates a commitment to a three pronged investment- the individual, the group and the task.

"Those young people with experience of participation offered advice in terms of what had worked for them, these being group dynamics, the key role of support staff, time commitment, positive adult, attitudes clear communication, "fun" training, expenses, appropriate scheduling, and accessible location/venues." (Evaluator, CTC Associates)

Example/Model of Peer Research Training

The training schedule devised for the peer research model is detailed below. It should be noted that every peer research group will progress at a different pace relevant to their situation or context and adequate time and space should be allowed for this. For example social activities, teambuilding, meeting with former peer researchers etc may all be incorporated into a support/training schedule.

  • Workshop One Communication in research (listening, probing, recording)
  • Workshop Two Research basics (methods, ethics, confidentiality, sampling)
  • Workshop Three Research and youth participation (ownership, peer research, reliability and validity of data)
  • Workshop Four Practical Everyday Research
  • Workshop Five Organisational skills (planning, recording, agenda setting, resources)
  • Workshop Six Leadership skills (group-work, facilitation)
  • Workshop Seven Planning research theme and overall project (the idea and method)
  • Workshop Eight Designing research method (focus groups, questionnaires
  • Workshop Nine Testing research methods &ndash practisin
  • Workshop Ten Carrying out the research and feedback on process and findings / identify gaps
  • Workshop Eleven Summarising data and coding
  • Workshop Twelve Analysing and presenting research

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