Research Output

Social impact evaluations of digital youth work: tensions between vision and reality

  Purpose: This paper presents empirical research, which explores the ways digital youth workers perceive, and evaluate, the social impact of their work. There is currently a research gap with regard to the measurement of the social impact of digital youth work. Thus, the aims of this study are: (1) to contribute to the scholarly discussion on the social impact of youth digital participation, (2) to elicit, and analyse, youth workers' perceptions of the social impact evaluation of digital youth work, (3) and to propose recommendations for further research in this area. Method: Twenty semi-structured interviews with digital youth workers in the United Kingdom were carried out in mid-2017. The interviews were based on themes drawn from a prior literature review exploring the areas of youth development, digital youth participation, social impact, and social impact evaluation. Analysis: Research data analysis was guided by a 'grounded theory' methodological approach, and conducted using NVivo 10 software. Results show a clear alignment with the existing literature, in the areas of youth participation, and social impact assessment and evaluation. The analysis presented here focuses on three areas of tension between the study participants' vision, and the reality of the social impact evaluation of digital youth work: (1) Favouring positive stories of impact. (2) Chasing the impact proofs instead of examining the change, (3) Following an interactive youth project with an unengaging evaluation process. Conclusion: Current (externally governed) evaluation practices, limit digital youth workers' abilities to critically examine and provide feedback on impact. Acknowledging that there is a need for further research in this area, this study propose three recommendations, primarily Pawluczuk, Smith, Webster & Hall (2018). Social impact evaluations of digital youth work: tensions between vision and reality. Paper accepted for presentation at Transmedia Literacy International Conference, Barcelona, Spain, March 22-24, 2018. 2 aimed at digital youth work funding bodies: (1) Facilitating serendipitous interactions in digital youth work, (2) The further research required in order to provide digital youth workers with a set of tools-or guidance-in order to measure and understand the social impact of their work, (3) Adopting playful methods of evaluation in digital youth work.

  • Type:

    Conference Paper (unpublished)

  • Date:

    22 March 2018

  • Publication Status:

    Unpublished

  • Library of Congress:

    HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    303 Social processes

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded

Citation

Pawluczuk, A., Smith, C., Webster, G., & Hall, H. (2018, March). Social impact evaluations of digital youth work: tensions between vision and reality. Paper presented at Transmedia Literacy International Conference, Barcelona, Spain

Authors

Keywords

Digital Youth; Digital Youth Work; Youth Participation; Social Impact; Social Impact Assessment; Social Impact Evaluation

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