To cite: Lane, J. (2023). Delve into the world of youth-led research. International Journal of Youth-Led Research, 3(1).
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Youth Research Vox,
Los Angeles, CA, U.S.
Delve into the world of youth-led research
The world is full of opportunities. Yet, generation after generation inherits a world full of challenges. Today, the youth primarily view the world through social media applications and platforms. The entertainment industry challenges the youth by often desensitizing them to the values of kindness, understanding, patience, and life itself. The youth have so much available to them through technology, that they can make far more substantial and significant changes.
Technology has brought the world to our front door and has filled our homes. The information we are exposed to is often tainted through biases and politics. False information can be difficult to discern and leaves us with doubts about what is and is not the truth. The youth must learn to recognize valid and reliable information so that they can make better decisions for tomorrow, or change the world for the better. One of the best ways to achieve this is through youth-led research.
Youth-led research allows the youth to uncover, analyze, and understand facts using qualitative and quantitative methods. Youth-led research brings a lens for the youth to explore and determine what is already known and what is yet to be discovered. If the youth are to make a difference in the world, they need to learn to differentiate misinformation from fact. To do so, critical thinking skills are needed to understand the current state of social, economic, and environmental dimensions. Rather than making a decision or a judgment based on media avenues, the youth need to be able to objectively analyze and evaluate their world.
The process of youth-led research involves several crucial factors, through which the youth learn how to ask important questions, collect accurate data, analyze the data, and generate objective findings. The youth need to be supported in this process. For example, data collection is often affected by unseen setbacks and the need to think through solutions to acquire the data that they are seeking. These setbacks are often the result of utilizing data collection tools which are innate to one’s own experiences and expectations. Problem solving requires young researchers to investigate the availability of technology, cultural values around the topic of research, and understanding legalities in other countries. Analysis of data, whether qualitative and/or quantitative, is affected by researchers’ innate biases. These biases are a result of life experiences, culture, race, religion, language, socioeconomics, homogenous and pluralistic societies, and by the values researchers are taught. Reducing biases from the data allows researchers to articulate findings that are factual and not skewed. Research findings may be subjective or objective. Yet young researchers must learn to look at the data through different lenses and to not discard data as an outlier from the rest of the data points. These outliers can often take researchers off the beaten path to consider a dynamically different view away from the anticipated response. Data analysis requires researchers to look for correlations, comparisons, and relationships between data sets. The analysis process forces researchers to consider how others see the world. Findings often provide opportunities for “ah ha” and “oh no” moments; thus allow researchers to conceptualize the world in new ways.
Youth-led research can also bring forth objectivity of how there is so much more than just the little corners in which young people live. As researchers, the youth can learn to see the world differently and begin to synthesize areas of commonality across cultures and countries while also seeing the vast disparities between developed and developing countries.
As the world’s first journal that is dedicated to youth-led research and is grounded in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the International Journal of Youth-Led Research recognizes that the SDGs were identified by the findings of researchers. This means that to support the UN in achieving these goals, young researchers need to see the world through factual research and through the eyes and voices of others. Factual data is the foundation for problem solving, and young researchers learn to apply valid and trustworthy research to make the world a better place for future generations.
IJYLR Editorial Board