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Action research and participatory action research in social work with children and youth

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Social programs and services for children and youth do not always take into account the position of thetarget groupsrepresentatives. Involving them in action research and participatory action research could help themto address their problems. The purpose of the article is to describe the experience of action research andparticipatory action research in social work with children and youth.

The author analyzes reports based on theresults of 20 studies, where action research and participatory action research were used. These researches wereconducted in social work with children and youth during 2001-2013 in Australia,Bosnia and Herzegovina, Britain,Ireland, Iceland, Canada, China, Liberia, Myanmar, Germany, South Africa, Northern Uganda, the United States,Sierra Leone, and Thailand. HINARY database was used for document search. The most popular topics for actionresearch and participatory action research in social work with children and youth have been such as communitywork, involving young people in prevention programs in health care, youth well-being, and social inclusion.

Children and young people were involved inresearches in different ways: 1) source of the information; 2)consultants; 3) as researchers’ partners who collaborate with them throughout the process; 4) as researchers’ partners who have ownership of the research and its results. Children and youth are considered as the resourcesthat need to be developed.

The main experts in dealing with children and youth were themselves. As a result ofactions in research, children and young people got new opportunities and developed skills.

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