“Not only adults can make good decisions, we as children can do that as well”: Evaluating the process of the Youth-led Participatory Action Research ‘Kids in Action’

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Abstract

In Youth-led Participatory Action Research (YPAR) children collaborate with academic researchers to study a problem, develop actions that align with their needs and interests, and become empowered. ‘Kids in Action’ aimed to develop actions targeting healthy physical activity and dietary behavior among, and together with, 9-12-year old children as co-researchers. This paper presents the process evaluation of ‘Kids in Action’ based on eight focus groups with children (N=40) and eight interviews with community partners (N=11). Interview guides were based on empowerment theory and the RE-AIM framework to evaluate the study on: empowerment, collaborations, reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation and maintenance. Transcripts were analyzed using evaluation and provisional coding. Both children and community partners perceived increased awareness of healthy behaviors and improvement in confidence, critical awareness, leadership and collaboration skills, contributing to increased feelings of empowerment. Community partners valued child participation and the co-created actions. Actions were also well-perceived by children and they liked being involved in action development. The strong relationship of researchers with both children and relevant community partners proved an important facilitator of co-creation. Future studies are recommended to endeavor closer collaboration with schools and parents to gain even more support for co-created actions and increase their effectiveness.
Original languageEnglish
Article number17
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume17
Issue number625
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2020

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