Youth Work Research

The National Youth Work Strategy identifies our ambition to recognise the value of youth work and to measure the sector's impact. To achieve this ambition, YouthLink Scotland are working with the sector to develop high-quality opportunities for measuring impact and commissioning sector-specific research.

Scottish Youth Work Research Steering Group

The Research Steering Group was first convened in 2015. Meeting regularly, it oversees opportunities for research that could help demonstrate the impact of youth work. The group includes representatives of the youth work sector, academic institutions, the Scottish Government, NHS Health Scotland, CLD Standards Council and Education Scotland.

The aims of the group are to identify and create opportunities:

  • To critically examine the long-term impact of youth work on the lives and lifestyles of young people and the wider communities across Scotland.
  • To identify what young people learn from participating in youth work provision.
  • To gather data reflecting the broad outcomes of youth work as defined by young Scots.

The group has been able to undertake this work through financial support from the youth work sector, public bodies and charitable trusts. If you are interested in supporting this work with a financial contribution, please email Amy Calder

Current Activity

In November 2018, the Scottish Youth Work Research Steering Group published The Impact of Community-based Universal Youth Work in Scotland. The report includes the context for study, the method undertaken and the findings of this 18-month project.  The research was commissioned by the Steering Group and undertaken by a research partnership involving YouthLink Scotland, University of Edinburgh, University of St. Mark and St. John (MARJON) in Plymouth alongside three community-based youth work organisations in Scotland. 

The research adopted a participatory methodology, involving young people and youth workers in the generation of 129 Significant Change Stories.  The study sought to answer two key questions:

  1. What is the impact of community-based universal youth work in Scotland?
  2. How has that impact been achieved?


Research Documents

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