We only use your email address to send you the newsletter and to see how many people are opening our emails. A full privacy policy can be viewed here. You can change your mind at any time and update your preferences or unsubscribe.

Country research team in Jordan. Photo: Agnieszka Malachowska/GAGE

Challenging power dynamics and eliciting marginalized adolescent voices through qualitative methods

13.12.20 | Global

Participatory research | Voice and agency | Voice and agency | adolescent voices

Authors

Kate Pincock and Nicola Jones

Eliciting adolescents’ voices through qualitative research necessitates research methods which challenge the power dynamics that marginalize young people and thus inhibit them from sharing their perspectives. In lower- and middle-income countries where younger adolescents in particular are often discouraged from expressing their voices, this is especially important. Methodological tools which are adaptable, interesting and create space within the research process for participation and freedom of expression are critical when eliciting the “voices” of young people aged 10–14 years, who are often less visible or accessible and thus marginalized both socially and within research processes. For example, adolescents with disabilities or those out of school may require methodological adaptations to ensure meaningful participation.

This article focuses on the ethical, practical and data quality issues that emerge when engaging with young adolescents that are marginalized both in research and within their own communities, and the need to ensure complementarity between the process of the research and its broader objective of expanding adolescent capabilities. Bearing in mind these challenges, this paper reflects on the methodological toolkit developed by the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) research project as a means for eliciting a diversity of adolescent voices and ensuring that socially excluded adolescents are not “left behind,” nor included on a merely tokenistic basis. We suggest that the strengths of the GAGE methodological toolkit lie in its grounding within broader research objectives vis-a-vis expanding adolescent capabilities and challenging structures and norms which marginalize young people. The flexibility, reflexivity and importantly the enjoyability of these methods led to adolescents both feeling at ease, able and willing to contribute their voices to the research—as well as empowered to use their voices in other areas of their lives.

Suggested citation

Jones, N. and Pincock, K. (2020) ‘Challenging power dynamics and eliciting marginalised adolescent voices through qualitative methods’. International Journal of Qualitative Methods. 19: 1–11


Related publications

Reports
23.09.22
Crisis within crisis: The psychosocial toll of Lebanon’s economic and political turmoil on Syrian refugee adolescents
Voice and agency
Lebanon
Read more
23.09.22 | Voice and agency | Reports | Lebanon
Crisis within crisis: The psychosocial toll of Lebanon’s economic and political turmoil on Syrian refugee adolescents
Read more
Reports
23.09.22
Adolescents in the abyss of Lebanon’s worst economic crisis: A focus on Lebanese and Palestinian adolescents’ education, and voice and agency
Education and learning
Lebanon
Read more
23.09.22 | Education and learning | Reports | Lebanon
Adolescents in the abyss of Lebanon’s worst economic crisis: A focus on Lebanese and Palestinian adolescents’ education, and voice and agency
Read more
Journal articles
13.09.22
Sexual and reproductive health and rights in the era of COVID-19: a qualitative study of the experiences of vulnerable urban youth in Ethiopia
Sexual reproductive health and nutrition
Ethiopia
Read more
13.09.22 | Sexual reproductive health and nutrition | Journal articles | Ethiopia
Sexual and reproductive health and rights in the era of COVID-19: a qualitative study of the experiences of vulnerable urban youth in Ethiopia
Read more