Youth Participatory Action Research

A consistent goal of education in the United States according to parents, educators, and students is preparation to become an informed and active citizens in their school communities and the world. Youth Participatory Action Research gives young people an opportunity to explore issues that impact their communities and matter to them, while building content knowledge, research skills, and interpersonal skills. Experiencing Youth Participatory Action Research, or YPAR, builds skills for citizenship as well as critical skills for college-level research in any field.

YPAR is not a research method, but a way of thinking about research — an epistemology. YPAR helps educators, professional researchers, and youth to approach research from the vantage point of those who will be most impacted by research-informed education policies, youth, and then puts that research process in their hands.

YPAR as a research process looks like educators and administrators supporting youth to build their qualitative and quantitative research skills through research questions about their community and learning environment. Research questions and methods are created and implemented by youth; data are interpreted and synthesized by youth, and policy recommendations are presented by youth. A healthy YPAR process includes policy implementation, assessment, and reinvestigation by the youth with support from educators and administrators. (Michelle Fine, CUNY Professor)