Impact of Youth Work Research

We know how youth work changes lives, which is why we are dedicated to growing our evidence base for the impact of youth work on the personal, social and educational development of young people in Scotland.

For the youth work sector to function effectively, it needs sustained investment so that youth workers are equipped, skilled and supported to change the lives of young people in communities across Scotland.

We all know, however, that funding comes with strings attached. Strings that all relate to one word – impact. You can’t demonstrate impact without first having done the research, which is why our research team works tirelessly to create high-quality research opportunities – through a range of youth-led research initiatives and through regular meetings of our research steering group.


Young person playing a game of connect 4
The Impact of Universal Youth Work
Our series of qualitative research pieces on the impact of community-based universal youth work.
Youth worker on the streets doing some detached youth work.
Scottish Youth Work Research Steering Group
Strengthening the evidence base for the impact of youth work in Scotland, also feeding into the National Youth Work Strategy's development of a national programme for youth work research.
Young person carrying out some research on a beach with a clipboard
Youth-Led Research
YouthLink Scotland has been developing a youth-led research approach for over five years now, examining women’s history, environmental impacts on coastal communities and positive masculinity.
Youth workers chatting round a table
Research Ethics Policy
At YouthLink Scotland we wanted to truly embed research ethics in all the research and evaluation work we do, and to help that we’ve developed a Research Ethics Policy.
People sat around table discussing
Student Research - Exploring The Role of Youth Work
We have been fortunate to host placement based Masters students from the University of Edinburgh to explore the role of youth work in different policy areas.
A female youth worker and young person talking wearing masks
Impact of Youth Work during Covid-19
Evidence review examining the impact of youth work during and in recovery from Covid-19
Photo of 6 adults at the launch of the low-level mental health support in schools research. All adults are holding a copy of the report.
Impact of youth work providing low-level mental health in schools support
YouthLink Scotland in partnership with Northern Star and University of St Andrews conducted research exploring the impact of youth work providing low-level mental health support in schools in Dumfries and Galloway.
young people in digital makerspace
Digital Youth Work Research
In 2023, we carried out a survey of digital youth work to help us understand more about what’s happening, how youth work is building capacity for cyber resilience in Scotland, and how to support growth. We’re delighted to be able to share some of our key findings.

Contact our research team

If you have any queries relating to YouthLink Scotland's ongoing research projects, please contact our Senior Policy & Research Officer Dr Amy Calder.