Integrating Research into the Co-Design Process

A Research Dimensions plan for the research that will take place throughout the Working with Young People major project for Leapfrog has been produced

A Research Dimensions plan for the research that will take place throughout the Working with Young People major project has been produced. The overarching research question: ’How can ideas and information be translated in a more effective way as they move back and forth between the public sector and young people?’ was identified as a key issue during scoping meetings with project partners from policy, service delivery and youth work.

Within the document, key areas of literature and specific papers selected by the research team based on the exploration of issues associated with engaging with young people are categorised into the following subject areas; Education Dialogue and Translation, Impact and Engagement with Young People, Social Services, Voices of Young People and Tools and Methods with Young People. The papers in each of these areas will inform the plan for the co-design workshops we run, the questions we ask and the tools we produce.

In the final section of the document, there are a number of sub-research questions aimed at discovering specific information that will help us answer the overarching research question:

  1. How is success defined by engagement leaders?
  2. How do engagement leaders translate engagement activities, who, for and what are the key challenges?
  3. What forms of dialogue, (including where, when and how) are used by engagement leaders and what are the challenges?

For each of these sub-questions, the team describe how the project will weave the question into the practical project activity, capture the data produced, analyse the data and evaluate the research design.

So far the team have used this approach to weave research into the design of the workshops for service deliverers. To explore the question of how engagement leaders define success, we designed an activity that invited service deliverers to fill in two separate pro-formas detailing good and bad engagements with young people and the reasons behind these.   Not only was this a good activity for making the service deliverers think about what they had done in the past with young people but it also gave the team valuable responses to sub-question one.

In another example, we wanted to find out how engagement leaders translate engagement activities, including whom they translate information for and what key challenges are involved. Here we asked service deliverers to each draw out a typical engagement process on a white board and then fill in and attach ‘translation point’ pro-formas that were shaped like arrows and pointed to a specific translation point. Each service deliverer was filmed talking through their diagram, highlighting the translation points as they went along. The analysed responses were then taken and transformed into six key issues that would help the service deliverers co-design tools for translation that are now being developed to a point where they can be taken away, adapted, shared and used to engage young people in meaningful consultation.