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"Participation is everything": young people's voices on participation in school life
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work, Örebro University, Sweden. Mälardalen University, Eskilstuna, Sweden.
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis shows that participation is an important and comprehensive concept for young people. The aim of the thesis is to explore young people’s perspectives on and experiences of participation in school. Young people are in this research project understood as competent participants and as valuable contributors in research. Young people (aged 13–19 years) are involved as both research partners and research respondents. The design is explorative and mixed methods are used. Study 1 describes an interactive research circle with young people as research partners. Participation and asymmetric responsibility are identified as integral to research with young people. Study 2 describes a youth survey about young people’s participation that was conducted by the research partners in the research circle. This study shows that young people’s opportunities and abilities to communicate are crucial to their participation.  Supportive relations are an important aspect and the young people describe that they want adults to support them in taking responsibility themselves. Study 3 is based on the results of the youth survey and describes a model of young people’s perspectives on participation. Viewed from young people’s perspectives, participation is shown to include social, educational and decision-making dimensions. Communication is identified as a central participatory dimension. This study describes how participation in school is created in both horizontal and vertical relations. Study 4 is about participation and exposure to bullying and threats in school and is informed by the results of the youth survey. This study shows how students with disabilities and especially students with multiple disabilities are in a vulnerable situation. They face greater risks of being excluded from participatory dimensions in school or of being more exposed to degrading treatment if they do participate. Girls with multiple disabilities seem to be in an extra vulnerable situation. Overall, this research project shows that young people’s perspectives are an important complement to adults’ perspectives on participation in school.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro university , 2014. , 143 p.
Series
Örebro Studies in Social work, ISSN 1651-145X ; 14
Keyword [en]
children’s rights, human rights, participation, youth, interactive research, mixed methods, communication, intersectionality, disability
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-35795ISBN: 978-91-7529-041-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-35795DiVA: diva2:735215
Public defence
2014-10-10, Långhuset, Hörsal 2, Örebro universitet, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-07-24 Created: 2014-07-24 Last updated: 2015-12-28Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Young people as partners in research: experiences from an interactive research circle with adolescent girls
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Young people as partners in research: experiences from an interactive research circle with adolescent girls
2013 (English)In: Qualitative Research, ISSN 1468-7941, E-ISSN 1741-3109, Vol. 13, no 5, 528-545 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article presents an interactive research methodology for young people's participation in research. A model of the research circle, based on the Scandinavian study-circle tradition with democratic ideals, was created and is described. The empirical example is from Sweden. Academic researchers invited young people to be research partners in a research circle. The asymmetrical relationship between the researchers and the young research partners made asymmetric responsibility and respect into central parts of the methodology. The interactive process in the research circle concerns research fundamentals: developing methodological knowledge, designing a study, how to formulate the research questions from the viewpoint of young people, how to analyze from a generational insider perspective, and how to handle institutionalized and asymmetric power relations in social knowledge formation.

Keyword
Action research, children, children's rights, interactive research, methodology, participation, Sweden, young people
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-32399 (URN)10.1177/1468794112451035 (DOI)000324535000003 ()- (PubMedID)2-s2.0-84884367415 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2013-11-15 Created: 2013-11-15 Last updated: 2017-01-17Bibliographically approved
2. Intra- and inter-generational perspectives on youth participation in Sweden: a study with young people as research partners
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Intra- and inter-generational perspectives on youth participation in Sweden: a study with young people as research partners
2015 (English)In: Children & society, ISSN 0951-0605, E-ISSN 1099-0860, Vol. 29, no 2, 134-145 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this study, intra- and inter-generational perspectives on youth participation are combined and compared. Young people were invited to participate as research partners in an interactive research circle and conducted a survey about participation with other young people as respondents. The discussion concerns how an interactive methodology contributes to the understanding of the concept of participation. It is suggested that political definitions of participation be amended to include having a sense of being recognised in a communicative context, taking responsibility and share with other people one's experiences. This is based on the perspectives of young people.

Keyword
Children's rights; Generation; Interactive research; Participation; School
National Category
Social Anthropology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-37213 (URN)10.1111/chso.12027 (DOI)000348844900005 ()- (PubMedID)2-s2.0-84921542409 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2014-09-29 Created: 2014-09-29 Last updated: 2015-03-09Bibliographically approved
3. A model of participation in school-life
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A model of participation in school-life
2014 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Participation in decision making is often considered to be a fundamental right of children and young people. In this chapter, a model is presented of young people’s perspectives o nparticipation in school life. This model is based on a Swedish survey study where 100 girls and boys (15–19 years) answered a questionnaire about their perceptions and experiences of participation in school. The survey was conducted by eight adolescent girls who collaborated as research partners with two adult researchers in a research circle. In this interactive research, young people’s perspectives were explored. The young research partners defined the purpose, research questions and participants of the survey study. They also performed their own intra-generational analyses of the empirical data collected in the study. In their intra-generational analyses, the research partners identified dimensions and aspects of participation in school that were described as important by the girls and boys who participated in the survey. Based on the results from the research partners’ analyses,this chapter calls for a wider understanding of participation and greater awareness among adults and young people in schools of how to use communication inclusively, approach young people as individuals, and treat them with respect.

National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-37227 (URN)
Available from: 2014-09-29 Created: 2014-09-29 Last updated: 2017-02-21Bibliographically approved
4. Participation and exposure to bullying and threats in school: young people with multiple disabilities at great risk
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Participation and exposure to bullying and threats in school: young people with multiple disabilities at great risk
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Young people’s participation in school is explored using young people’s perspectives. The study is based on a survey in which 7930 Swedish students (13–19 years) responded. Data is interpreted with bivariate analysis and multiple correspondence analysis. The results show that students with one disability experience more bullying and threats than students without disabilities. Further, students with multiple disabilities face greater risks of low participation and exposure to bullying and threats than students with one or no disability. More support in school is needed for students with disabilities in general and for students with multiple disabilities in particular. 

National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-37228 (URN)
Available from: 2014-09-29 Created: 2014-09-29 Last updated: 2014-09-29Bibliographically approved

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