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5 Ways to Boost Interest & Engagement In Your Youth Research Project

5 ways to boost young people's involvement in your project

Getting young people interested…

Have you ever designed a research project and then been disappointed with the response rate? It’s not always easy to encourage interest in what you are doing. In general, any attempt to involve people in focus groups or surveys are usually competing against a multitude of other distractions. In my experience as a youth researcher, engaging young people is even trickier, for a number of reasons:

Points to remember

  • Their lives are usually busier and more fragmented than ours – school, college, work, socialising, social media, online
  • It is unlikely that they will have seen the result of any research they have contributed to previously (e.g.: research results, amendments to products or communications)
  • There is a degree of cynicism about some methods, especially online surveys, where they can feel that they are giving their thoughts without much feedback or renumeration

Clients tend to ask me the following common questions when planning a study:

  • Will this group of young people want to take part?
  • Do I need to include their friends?
  • Will there be a rejection of the topic?

Improving engagement

You can address these issues by considering the following:

  1. Be very clear about the topic of the research and why you need their views about it
  2. How can the resulting data improve their lives? (e.g.: make a service more effective; make products easier to find)…make sure this is really clear in the recruitment material
  3. Highlight the ease of taking part and any involvement of friendship groups
  4. Think about how you would like to be approached about this work – the principles are the same
  5. How will you let your youth participants know about the results?

Please note: sensitive topics and parental consent are important considerations and should always be discussed with your client, in addition to following the Market Research Society Code of Conduct.

In summary…

Show that you are sensitive to the needs of this audience and that their time is valuable to them. Don’t underestimate your target group, but also have faith in yourself that you can do this well.

See also Gen X, Millennials…Trends Vs People.

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