Network-based Development of Youth Work Statistics and Key Characteristics (2013-2015)

The Youth Research Network will implement a research-based development project to assemble and analyse Youth work statistics and key characteristics during 15.12.2013 – 31.3.2015. The objective of the project is to assemble youth sector statistics and key characteristics used locally, regionally, nationally or Europe-wide, assess their usability in cooperation with actors in the youth field and with such cooperation, to develop statistics and key characteristics common to the sector common to all actors and a mind-set sufficiently reflecting the quality of youth work and its value to the individual, the community and society.

The project, by its very nature, gathers in the field of youth work enabling the analysis of differing and even fragmented statistic processes. The project is founded on the multiple voice of youth work ensuring that the statistics and key characteristics will be outlined and analysed so as to respect the multidisciplinary basis of youth work, and its professional environments and practices. It is a nationwide project that will reach various professional groups and forms of activity in youth work. The work of the project is based on access to materials collected by actors using different forms of assessment. The project will find the objectives and the statistics and characteristics describing them that are common to all actors, common to only a part of the actors and what is characteristic of specific actors or a specific field. Tens of statistics, even hundreds of statistics are in use.

Producing knowledge together

The basis of the jointly produced statistics and key characteristics sought during the project can be considered to be usability, reliability and to what extent they represent the multiple voice of youth work. They may also be based on knowledge that is not currently produced but that could be produced in a joint effort. The idea behind the project is that not all the youth work information needed to strengthen services and youth welfare is currently gathered and used – yet at the same time, too much information exists. The aim is to evaluate the usability of existing statistics and key characteristics and to create new ways of thinking in the field.

The work of the project will seek to interface with all of the areas of youth work mentioned in the Youth Act. Additionally it welcomes the involvement of youth sector funding bodies and programme administrators as well as child and youth work conducted by parishes. Where extensive organisations and bodies such as municipalities and associations are concerned the project will employ sampling. The samples will include large and small operators. The project will also cooperate extensively with e.g. the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, Kanuuna (Finnish network of local government youth work), Allianssi (Finnish Youth Cooperation), Youth work development and service centres, and Nusuvefo (Finnish Youth web forum).

The project uses scientific methods that promote egalitarian vision creation and interaction. The project is based on two courses of action: related documentary material on existing statistics and key characteristics will be analysed and at the same time new material will be created through discussion with youth work quality, measuring and statistics/characteristic experts like young people, parents, employees and employee representatives such as leaders, managers and politicians, financing bodies and researchers. This form of contact will employ interviews, group discussions and the deliberative discussion day method. 

The results of the project

It is possible to use the new information concerning the nature of youth work acquired by the project in political decision-making in connection with the renewal of the Youth Act and future government child and youth policy development programmes and in European youth sector cooperation such as the processes of the Europe 2020 programme. The project will seek a sufficient amount of cooperation with related ongoing processes such as child and youth welfare indicator work and the development processes for statistics and characteristics describing internal security development.

The work will be reported in Finnish as a printed book and as a longer e-publication including extensive summaries in English and Swedish. The report will contain a proposal for an operational model concerning the types of youth work statistics and characteristics that are recommended to be gathered and the methods that should be used to gather them at a local, regional and national level and how they connect with European youth work sector cooperation. The e-material will have a visual, interview and video-based focus to highlight the process-linked and deliberative nature of the discussions implemented during the project. In addition an outline for a scientific article to be written in English and based on the results of the project will be produced.

Participate in discussion!

You can follow the project and participate in ongoing discussion in Facebook and Twitter. There is a public group in Facebook Nuorisotyön tunnusluvut/Nuorisotutkimusseura, and Twitter @NT_Tunnusluvut.  Join in and follow the discussion using the ID #NTtunnusluvut.

The researcher in charge of the project is Senior Researcher Anu Gretschel PhD, and the other researchers are (from 1.4.2014) Docent Anne Puuronen and Researcher Pirjo Junttila-Vitikka (MEd). In addition to their own work, Community Pedagogues Eija Kauniskangas and Essi Helin will work as Research Assistants in the project.

The Discussion Day will be facilitated and reported by the above and also by other instructors with knowledge of the method.

Project News

Project News 1, 4th June 2014


Press release: The Network-based Youth Work Statistics Development project is assembling the sector’s statistics, 13 February 2014