Thought Piece

Reflections of Dr. Lynette Reid on the Empowering our Youth research

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Researchers and research methodologies

Dr. Lynette Reid completed the Empowering Our Youth research report, commissioned by EPIT, in August 2023. We sat down with Dr. Reid to find out more about her thoughts on this research, and her chosen approach methodologies.

What were your thoughts as you started on this journey?

I entered this research with two considerations relevant to career education and guidance:

  1. The negative discourse and rhetoric that has plagued the role of school careers and transition staff: and
  2. The impact of this discourse on the potential for individual careers and transition staff experiencing a reduced or even minimised role, in identifying their needs and growth potential.

The research design I developed was influenced by:

  • Selecting an approach which situates the researcher and participants as co-constructors and authors, with both continually influencing and constructing in equal measure.
  • The researcher and participants serving as co-facilitators of change by focusing efforts and energy on strengths in practice and research.

Why did you choose the Appreciative Inquiry method?

As a strength-based approach, Appreciative Inquiry was an ideal choice.  Appreciative Inquiry focuses on what is already working within an organisation and is considered one of the most effective ways to create positive change and a preferred future.  In other words, turning attention away from negative discourse, towards who career colleagues and peers are when they are at their best.  Appreciative Inquiry also provided the 4-D cycle, which included research design tasks that focused on moving from curiosity, to learning about what works well, and to inspired action for others and a preferred future.  The cycle was created to engage people through interviews, storytelling and sharing emergent themes, all of which are processes already well utilised amongst career communities.

In your view, what qualities or characteristics are valuable as a researcher?

Research design and approaches require energy from the researcher to bring them to life.  When researchers bring their whole self to research, we are empowered to make new findings and discoveries that might otherwise have remained unseen and unheard.  It is the relationship researchers have with the research, our co-participants and ourselves, and our connection with the social environment we share, which imbue our emotional experiences, moving us closer to a constantly evolving insight. This insight is not an objective reality that we seize and present to the world as “the truth,” but rather, a co-interpreted world drawn from lived experiences, observations within our world, and how we feel about our world.

The Empowering Our Youth research report is available at the bottom of this page. If you have any questions for us or Dr. Reid please get in touch using the Contact Us form.

Nischal Chakravarthy
23 January 2024
min read

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