1. What is this research about?
The Youthscape Centre for Research has been asked to undertake research that supports the development of churches’ work with young people in St Albans Diocese. The aim is to listen to the experiences and perspectives of clergy and youth workers, in order to help the Diocese understand the shape of youth ministry across the churches. This in turn will inform the Youth Missioner’s work to support churches within a range of contexts.
2. How are you approaching the research?
The design of the project is informed by Appreciative Inquiry (AI), which starts by focusing on strengths and desires, rather than problems. This means being honest about the challenges of developing work with young people but viewing them in light of the good that already exists, the resources we have and our trust in God’s mission. Our approach will gather qualitative and quantitative data through running focus groups for clergy and for youth workers and gathering information via a short survey.
3. What does it mean for me to be involved?
We are inviting you, as a youth worker, to participate in an online focus group. This is an opportunity for you to reflect on the context of ministry, the opportunities and barriers for youth ministry in your church, and what you feel is needed going forward.Your engagement is voluntary, and you don’t have to take part, though we hope you will consider attending. The session will be hosted using Zoom, and facilitated by Dr Lucie Shuker or Gry Apeland from Youthscape, and Christian Cole, the Diocesan Youth Missioner.
We expect this to take up to 60-70 minutes in total, with the discussion being audio-recorded so that we have an accurate record of what is said. This recording will be transcribed into written notes which will then be anonymised before being analysed. Although we will take every precaution to maintain confidentiality of the data, the nature of focus groups means we cannot guarantee confidentiality. We would just ask participants to respect fellow participants by not repeating what is said in the focus group to others.
4. What will you do with the information?
The audio file, typed notes and any files containing personal data will be stored securely in a password protected file in accordance with General Data Protection Regulations, and any printed documents will be stored in a locked cupboard. All personal data, apart from signed consent forms will be destroyed two years after publication of the research. Only members of the research team will have access to this data.
The information you share with us will be used to write a report describing the landscape of churches’ engagement with young people and identifying key implications for future work. It will not be used for any other purpose, and any quotes used from the focus group discussion will be reported anonymously. This report will then inform the ongoing work of the diocese. We also plan to run an event where we can share the findings of the research with participants.
5. How do I know this has been well thought-through?
The research design and tools have been reviewed and approved by the Youthscape Centre for Research Ethics Committee. This provides a framework for how we conduct and report the research, including how to protect the reputation and work of different participants. We are very happy to send you a copy of this ethical protocol of you would like to see it.
If you do agree to take part, you don’t have to answer any question you don’t want to. It is challenging to identify the comments of specific individuals once a session has been transcribed. However, you can request that your comments are not quoted in the final report by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org within one month of the focus group and we will do our best to identify your comments if this is the case.
If at any time you would like to talk to someone about the project or make a complaint about the research process, please contact Youthscape’s Director of Research at email@example.com
6. Is there anything else I need to know?
We cannot offer any incentive for taking part in the research, but we hope that this opportunity to reflect on and discuss youth ministry will be valuable for your own context and thinking. By taking part you will certainly be shaping the wider conversation about youth ministry in St Albans Diocese, for which we would be very grateful.