Aboriginal Youth Involvement in a Youth-driven Program: A Narrative Exploration of the Process and Impact of Engagement

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, North Slave Region

Tags: social sciences, community engagement, youth, aboriginal youth, participatory research

Principal Investigator: Callingham, Christina M (1)
Licence Number: 15159
Organization: University of Ottawa
Licenced Year(s): 2012
Issued: Oct 10, 2012

Objective(s): The proposed study aims to explore the following research question: “What narratives emerge, and are co-constructed, when exploring the experience of Aboriginal youth who engage in youth development programs aimed at fostering youth engagement?” Using the Centre of Excellence for Youth Engagement model for youth engagement as a conceptual framework, this study will specifically inquire how Aboriginal youth (a) become engaged in programs that promote youth engagement, (b) experience the process of their engagement in such programs, and (c) perceive the impact of their engagement on their personal development and their community.

Project Description: The proposed study aims to explore the following research question: “What narratives emerge, and are co-constructed, when exploring the experience of Aboriginal youth who engage in youth development programs aimed at fostering youth engagement?” Using the Centre of Excellence for Youth Engagement model for youth engagement as a conceptual framework, this study will specifically inquire how Aboriginal youth (a) become engaged in programs that promote youth engagement, (b) experience the process of their engagement in such programs, and (c) perceive the impact of their engagement on their personal development and their community.

Research Framework:
This study will be inspired by a Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) framework. YPAR expands on the principles of Participatory Action Research (PAR) by incorporating an element that embraces the strength of youth and conducting research “with” as opposed to “on” youth. Participatory action models strive to privilege those who have not had a voice in the past, legitimizing perspective and information that has previously been discredited. YPAR also adopts the notion that those who have been historically marginalized or silenced carry substantial knowledge about how injustice is developed in society. Elements of YPAR will be integrated into this study in the following ways:
(a) sharing a summary of the proposal with the research participants,
(b) eliciting suggestions for the interview protocol,
(c) eliciting input around avenues and venues for the interviews to take place,
(d) eliciting suggestions for other possible sources of data,
(f) eliciting feedback on interpretations of the data, and
(g) initiating reflection for how this research could lead to action.

Participants recruited for this study will be Aboriginal Youth between the age of 18 and 24 who have participated in a positive youth development program. Participants will be recruited based on their involvement with an organization called Motivate Canada, a charitable organization that specializes in improving the lives of young people by fostering civic engagement, social entrepreneurship, social inclusion and leadership among youth. One of Motivate Canada’s programs, ACTIVATE, is a youth led program that facilitates youth engagement and leadership through the development and delivery of sport and recreation programs in each participant’s community. There are two main components to the ACTIVATE program. First is a 5-day leadership conference that brings together 40 to 50 young Canadians aged 16 to 24 from every province and territory in Canada. The second is an action component that involves a youth-initiated community action project. Whereas the conference provides the inspiration, skills, resources, network, and insight to develop project ideas, the projects themselves are initiated and sustained by the youth in their communities.
Permission to recruit through the ACTIVATE program for this study will be obtained from Motivate Canada following ethics approval from the University of Ottawa’s Research Ethics Board. Potential participants will receive both a copy of the recruitment text and study description. Participants will be invited to contact the researcher by e-mail or phone if they have any questions, or are interested in participating in the study.

There will be three recruitment phases to this study:

Phase 1: Using purposeful selection, the participants will be recruited through the researcher's personal contacts with ACTIVATORS. Participants will be selected based on their involvement in existing or completed community projects through their engagement in the ACTIVATE program. Considerations in selection will be made for balancing gender, age, location, and representation from First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities.

Phase 2: Using snowball sampling, participants may be recruited through referral from other participants. Participants will be invited to pass on the recruitment text to other people who might be interested. Prospective participants will be asked to contact the researcher directly if they are interested

Phase 3: If more recruitment is further needed, the ACTIVATE Program Manager will be asked to circulate the recruitment text to all those who are eligible. Potential participants will receive an e-mail from the ACTIVATE Program Manager which will include the Recruitment Text and a Description of the study. Potential participants will be invited to contact the researcher if they have any questions or are interested in participating in the study.

Prospective Participants who express interest will then be e-mailed a copy of the consent form and asked to return a signed copy to the researcher by mail. At this time, participants will also be e-mailed a summary of the research proposal, intended to share the research goals and objectives with the participant.

Once the signed consent form has been received by the researcher by mail, participants will be contacted to set up a time for a 20-minute phone conversation to complete the Demographic Questionnaire. At this time, participants will be sent a copy of the proposed Interview Protocol for review.

Before beginning the demographic questionnaire, participants will be given the opportunity to read and ask questions about the informed consent form. The demographic questionnaire will be audio-recorded and completed for each participant prior to the interviews beginning. Questions included at the end of the questionnaire requesting participant input on the interview protocol will allow for co-construction of the interview protocol prior to the interviews taking place.

After each participant has completed the demographic questionnaire, the revised interview protocol will be e-mailed to each participant to provide an opportunity to reflect on their experiences prior to the interview. At this time, participants will also be asked about availability for the interview, inviting ideas on preferred avenues (by distance) and venues (in-person) for the interview to take place.

The interviews will be audio-recorded and will be approximately 1 hour in duration. The researcher will transcribe each audio-recorded interview for analysis. When possible, the interview will be conducted in-person and face-to-face at a time and location that is mutually convenient; the researcher will ensure a location is chosen that maintains participant’s privacy and is free from distraction. If an in-person interview is not possible, the participant and researcher will discuss the most convenient avenue for the interview to take place by distance (e.g., secure conference call via Intercall, video chat via Skype).

The researcher will transcribe and complete a within-person analysis of the interview (described below), which includes the integration of context from analysis of relevant documents. Participants will be provided a copy of the narrative generated from their respective interview by secure e-mail, and invited to verify and provide feedback on the narrative. This member check will be conducted by phone and take approximately 20 minutes. It is intended to verify the extent to which the representation of experiences through the data analysis resonates with each participant.

This study will be inspired by a Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) framework. This means that the youth participants will be involved in the research process, engaging in helping to develop the research questions and providing feedback about the results.

After the researcher has completed the within-person analysis of the interview, participants will be provided a copy of the narrative generated from their respective interview by secure e-mail, and invited to verify and provide feedback on the narrative.

Once the thesis has been completed, communities from which the participants were from will be invited to receive a copy of the completed thesis.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from October 15, 2012 to December 31, 2012.