Youth-led Research

Youth-led research is a process by which young people identify and investigate issues that are important to or affect them (and their communities) with the aim of using that information to create change. 

YouthLink Scotland have been developing a youth-led research approach over the last few years. This began with supporting young people to take action on sectarianism, then moved into examining women’s history, environmental impacts on coastal communities and more recently positive masculinity. 

This approach involves supporting young people to become researchers in their community and explore issues that resonate with them. Fundamental to the approach is that it is in line with the essential features of youth work – which ensures that young people choose to take part, that they are researching topics which matter to them and that they are equal partners with their youth workers. 

We provided the youth workers and young people with guidance and support in all aspects of conducting research including: 


In the process of supporting young people in youth-led research, it is important to recognise their achievements. One way this can happen is through providing young people with an opportunity to work towards an SCQF level 5 qualification named the Participative Democracy Certificate. This provides recognition for the work they are already doing as part of the youth-led research project. 

For information about the different types of accreditation opportunities available for young people taking part in research take a look at:  

Contact our Research Team

We're here to help with any research enquiries you have. If you are interested in hearing more about these studies, contact our Senior Policy & Research Officer Dr Amy Calder.