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Open Access Participatory action research and co-researching as a tool for situating youth knowledge at the centre of research

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Too often youth from vulnerable communities see themselves talked about in academic research, but are rarely involved as co-researchers or co-authors of research. The purpose of this article is to share our reflections on engaging youth, their experiences and their perspectives on the multi-levels of impact of participatory action research methodologies, such as community-based action research or youth participatory action research. This article discusses more broadly how our participatory methodologies have impacted our co-researchers and ourselves. In it, we provide additional details about our past research projects, as well as theorizing those details in terms of how critical theory serves as a tool within participatory methodologies. We reflect on the experiences engaging participatory methodologies in two different contexts and examine the collective impacts, comparing and contrasting the findings. We draw on our field research: one researcher worked with co-researchers from Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya, and the other worked alongside youth co-researchers from an alternative secondary school in the USA. Two of our co-authors are also co-researchers, and they offer a deeper insight into how these methodologies impacted their lives.

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Keywords: ALTERNATIVE HIGH SCHOOL; CO-RESEARCHING; COMMUNITY-BASED ACTION RESEARCH; CRITICAL HOPE; REFUGEE EDUCATION; YOUTH PARTICIPATORY ACTION RESEARCH

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2019

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  • Founded in 2003 by the UCL Institute of Education, the journal reflects the Institute's broad interests in all types of education in all contexts - local, national, global - and its commitment to analysis across disciplines using a variety of methodologies. It shares the Institute's aspiration to interrogate links between research, policy and practice, and its principled concern for social justice.

    Drawing on these strengths, LRE is a wide-ranging and engaging journal that features rigorous analysis and significant research across key themes in education, including: public goals and policies; pedagogy; curriculum; organization; resources and technology; and institutional effectiveness. Articles and book reviews are written by experts in education, psychology, sociology, policy studies, philosophy and other disciplines contributing to education research, and by experienced researcher-practitioners working in the field. The highest quality of reporting and presentation are ensured through an independent, anonymised peer-review process. As an entirely web-based open access journal, LRE has been able to offer innovative features and formats including: epistolary conversation; colour photos and illustrations; illustrative video clips.

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