Focus of Operations in 2016

Research based on a long-term perspective, responsibility and a sense of community

The conditions for research activities in society have been undergoing rapid changes in Finland and abroad in recent years. This concerns not only universities and research institutes, but also funding for research, research as a career and the significance of research. The operating environments of youth work and youth policy have also changed in many ways. In our complex times, it is important for research to be sensitive to changes in society and anticipate changes while also being based on the provision of ethically sound, in-depth information. This goal has an organisational aspect: to facilitate the production and accumulation of information beyond project structures to ensure that the information is not fragmented or short-lived.

The Finnish Youth Research Network was established within the Finnish Youth Research Society in 1999 and has since developed into a key provider of information concerning youth, both nationally and internationally. This expansion has effects on individuals, teams and the workplace community: new structures are needed to ensure the high-quality coordination of research activities and the management of common affairs. Structural reforms have been implemented with a high level of commitment over the past few years, and this work will continue in 2016.

The operations of the Finnish Youth Research Network are based on high-quality academic and social activities. The network produces multidisciplinary research information and actively participates in discussion in society, offering perspectives for practical work with young people and for the fields of administration and politics. Youth research has a particular responsibility to address topical phenomena that concern young people and intergenerational relationships. It covers topics that are familiar to and acknowledged by society as well as themes that are ignored or marginal. This responsibility is local, national and global.

In 2016, our operations will focus on:

Global dialogue

  • Comparative research approaches and researcher exchanges between Finland, the Finnish Youth Research Network and the rest of the world
  • Stronger international cooperation relationships and practices for research on youth work
  • Stronger investment in cooperation with research organisations in the Global South
  • Research in nearby areas (e.g. the Barents Region, the Nordic countries, the Baltic countries, geographical fringe and peripheral areas)

Dialogue centred around fields of knowledge 

  • Fields of knowledge include: 1) Generational relations, life course and transitions; 2) Democracy, equality, inequality; 3) Youth work, youth activities, services for young people
  • The fields of knowledge serve as a resource of researcher dialogue for joint learning, mentoring and researchership and for the accumulation of research information
  • The fields of knowledge reflect the focus areas for research, aiming at strengthening scientific and societal expert work and influencing

Enriching research methods

  • Strengthening longitudinal and follow-up approaches (quantitative and qualitative)
  • Making effective use of survey material in research activities
  • Cooperation with other parties collecting information concerning youth
  • Research-oriented development, particularly with regard to the themes and fields of youth work
  • Art-oriented models for collecting and publishing information to reflect the rich tapestry of expression and cultures among young people
  • Stronger participation among young people during the various stages of the research process
  • Opportunities presented by digitisation, including big data and social media

Effective communication

  • Using the new website as a resource for internal and external communication, e.g. multilingualism, international cooperation and cooperation with various operators in the field of youth work and research
  • Assessing the current forms of social media and developing them as a forum for scientific communication
  • Adopting new methods of communication with members
  • Promoting lively cooperation between multidisciplinary scientific societies to increase their scientific and social impact
  • Providing training for researchers on versatile communication skills

Ethically sound research

  • Ensuring an established position for the Committee on Research Ethics in Youth and Childhood Research, e.g. training and influencing
  • Ethical challenges posed by new research environments and methods: cooperation with e.g. the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity (TENK) and scientific societies

Cooperation in training

  • Dialogue between the Finnish Youth Research Society and the field of training and education concerning youth work and research (colleges, universities of applied sciences, universities)

Workplace community

  • Ensuring well-being at work comprehensively and systematically: monthly meetings, the introduction of collective work counselling for researchers
  • Strengthening management resources collectively (e.g. research management group)
  • Ensuring a pleasant work environment that encourages people to look beyond their job descriptions: cultural and study circles for the workplace community
  • Developing work facilities in cooperation with employees