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Youth Research Case Studies

Below are case studies of just some of the youth research projects 4D Youth Matter has delivered for clients…Direct comments from these clients can be found here.


  • Transport Focus, ‘unearthing young people’s real-life experiences of bus use’

For some young people, bus travel can be a vital link to a world of opportunities in learning and work. However, difficulties in identifying times and routes, uncertainties about what to ask for as well as the on-bus environment, can be real barriers to using buses. This exploratory piece of research significantly enhanced the client’s (Transport Focus) understanding of the core issues. Using a fresh, visual methodology, we combined use of an ethnography mobile phone app with customized, visually-based focus groups and an accessible online survey.

This project dug underneath the issues of a seemingly straightforward subject and highlighted concerns that may be impacting on the likelihood of this age group to access buses. This is important, given competing forms of transport, such as Uber, car ownership and the popularity of train travel. Using an innovative approach that was shaped specifically to the participants allowed us to test pre-conceptions about what young people would like from a bus journey and identify how bus operators can engage with potential users at an early age. Transport Focus has used this extra layer of new insight as a base for communicating the needs of this target demographic, planning detailed workshops with operators.


  • Youth Employment UK CIC, ‘development of youth researchers and writing Theory of Change (TOC) model’

Youth Employment UK is a membership organisation that works with key stakeholders and young people to improve employment opportunities and reduce youth unemployment. 4D Youth Matter has undertaken exploratory research work with some of Youth Employment UK’s Youth Ambassadors, who work to boost their voice in local areas. This involved training four young people as young researchers, using online meeting methods. As an outcome of this work, we developed a list of key questions that could be asked of young people, to help evaluate the contributions of various programmes in their individual life goals.

Since then, I have worked with Youth Employment UK’s senior staff, to develop a Theory of Change model to form a foundation for development of their strategic objectives. This has involved discussions around the organisation’s intended impacts and how these can be reliably achieved. Youth Employment UK have further built on this model and use it on an everyday basis, including in applications for funding.


  • Leeds City Council, ‘evaluation of Breeze Arts Festival 2016’

Aimed at 11-19 year olds during the summer holidays, this provision comprised a whole week of arts activities including: music; dance; theatre; film; multi-media; art; and creative writing. In its 18th year, it was important to review its impact on young people and others who have been involved with the festival.

Evaluation work comprised depth discussions with stakeholders such as: deliverers of activities; artists; and Council staff. I consulted with a steering group of young people who helped to design the festival and with others who had volunteered in providing visual documentary evidence of the arts works across several locations in Leeds city centre. Work included telephone and face-to-face interviews, as well as focus groups. In addition, this project covered analysis of completed paper-based questionnaires for participants and audiences, which were used to glean the opinions of young people visiting the festival. A comparative review was also conducted, benchmarking the festival against similar activities elsewhere, as well as an analysis of local and national media and social media coverage. Detailed recommendations were included in the evaluation report, which helped to guide the Council in deciding on priorities for future festivals.

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