By Louca-Mai Brady,
We had our first meeting on 19th March at the University of Hertfordshire. We had 14 new group members who attended – aged between 9 to 17.
I joined the YPAG group because I am interested in research and I wanted to know more, I thought that it was a great opportunity to work with researchers and interact with people who share the same interests as me.
Jack, a group member who helped plan the group, started us off with some games to get to know each other – organising ourselves alphabetically and by age.
Then we started to think about what research is, how it might be used and how research can make things better for children and young people and the services they use. We discussed our ideas in groups and then altogether.
I learnt a lot from that specific discussion, and I am sure everyone else did too! I learnt that there are many types of research including the main ones qualitative research (which often focuses on words) and quantitative research (statistics and numbers). We talked about how research needs to be reliable (so we know we can trust the findings), and ethical (nobody is harmed by the research).
We also talked about why and how children and young people can work with researchers at different stages of research, and in different ways, and how this can improve research.
We learnt about the different stages of research which I know will benefit us in the future – for personal and for our future jobs. Even though some of us will not go into jobs related to research we can use it as a skill.
At lunchtime we hung out in giant deckchairs and had a chance to chat.
Then Louca-Mai and Daksha talked to us about a research project they’re planning which aims to increase the time that children spend outdoors and helps them to feel closer to nature. We gave them lots of ideas for the research and how children and young people can be involved in it, as well as feedback on how to write about the research in ways that children can understand.
In the meeting we also started to plan how we want to work together and where we want to meet. We agreed that we want to alternate online and in person meetings – online is a bit more convenient but it’s also nice to meet each in real life and come to the university. Plus, that way we get food – including cookies!