As an American student studying in London, I’ve greatly appreciated my experiences as an international participation volunteer with the British Youth Council. For most of October, I worked on organising the logistics for a residential that brought together organisations from across the UK to design a research plan for the upcoming Structured Dialogue consultations. Lucy, Susie, and Bronagh, our UK Young Ambassadors for Structured Dialogue and European Policy, are tasked with conducting research on young people’s opinions about the future of Europe. In order to develop a robust research plan, we consulted our National Working Group Wider Sector Network (NWG WSN) for perspectives from all over the UK.
In planning this event, we were tasked with getting our UKYAs and all our WSN representatives to London for two days. I was mainly in charge of reserving hotel rooms, booking flights, and buying train tickets while communicating constantly with our participants about their involvement in the Structured Dialogue process. To structure our two days of planning, we brought in Dr. Sam Mejias, a researcher from the London School of Economics. On Friday, Sam gave us all the tools we needed to answer our research questions successfully. Through interactive activities and group work, Sam’s training allowed us to have a rough idea of our research design to bring into day two. Afterwards, I loved getting to know everyone more over dinner at Old Fountain near our offices.
Bright and early Saturday morning, we started with the actual design for our research. Split into two groups, we each developed our own proposal for our ideal research plan. Although our plans differed in some details, we all agreed that focus groups in combination with a survey would be great for getting a large amount data for our report. Throughout the day we coordinated focus groups across the UK, targeting urban and rural areas. We also determined that an online survey would reach a larger community outside of those that we’d be observing in focus groups. Although it felt like a big undertaking, we were able to solidify two research plans as options for our Young Ambassadors to choose from before presenting to the National Working Group members. By the end of the day, our UK Young Ambassadors had approval from the National Working Group members to proceed with their research. Now, we are beginning the early phases of implementation of our research plan!
I’ve really enjoyed my time with the British Youth Council, and I’m excited that I was able to contribute to the Structured Dialogue process!