Just over 2 years ago I completed my degree in Informal & Community Education. The final dissertation for my studies evolved somewhat from its initial idea and ended up with the title ‘Outcomes in Youth Work: the problem of product’.
Here’s the synopsis:
This project aims to explore the recent rise in outcome-driven youth work set out in the government Connexions strategy, and research the impact that it has had on practice. The research takes the form of two online surveys for workers and three face-to-face interviews with part-time statutory workers at a local youth club. As such, it is not focused on measurable statistics or hard evidence, but instead relies upon the considerable experiences of those in the field that have to show outcomes in their work with young people.
Although there is a wide range of opinion expressed in the research regarding the use of outcomes, some key themes are drawn out:
- The suggestion that youth work is currently undergoing an identity crisis due to a dilution of its core values.
- A concern that the outcome-driven model promoted by the government has significant flaws when applied to youth work practice.
- An argument for the greater use of reflective practice in youth work rather than target-focused monitoring and evaluation.
In addition, this project demonstrates that the Connexions strategy has had a significant impact on youth work practice and that there is a distinct divide between those who accept its outcome-driven approach and those who deplore it. At the end there are some conclusions and a suggestion for a possible way forward.
A great deal of my research for the project took the form of online surveys which I posted on this blog here and here (and other sites elsewhere), so I thought it was about time to post the final result.
As it’s obviously a long document, I’ve made it available as a pdf download (2MB). To get a copy, all you have to do is share a tweet or a facebook post. Simply click on the button below to share your status and access the file for free!
If for some reason you don’t have a twitter or facebook account, leave a comment below and I’ll email you the link.
I’d love to hear your feedback, so please let me know what you think!