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Making the Long View (London South Bank University)

Project Summary

The investment made in social science research is not always fully realised, partly because the products of research do not always find their way (in the right form) to those who could and should use them, for example those involved in e.g. teaching, programme making, policymaking, training, further academic analysis. The key obstacles to this happening include sufficient time and lack of use of creative approaches to dissemination, and ethical problems concerning the sharing of data. The project will explore creative ways of overcoming the practical and ethical problems involved in giving people access to data from an existing study that has interviewed young people about all aspects of their lives up to six times since 1998. The resulting resource will include detailed accounts of young people's stories about their lives, of what researchers thought about the young people at each interview, of the places the research was based in and of the way the research was done. A small number of these young people - who consent, are interested and feel able to undergo the process - will be involved, along with the researchers they know, in helping us overcome these problems of confidentiality, privacy and ownership. They will be consulted about the best ways of 'showing' their changing story over time through text from their interview transcripts and through text/image from a whole range of other accounts of their lives (including memory books, a lifeline or a record of their predictions of future home, work, education etc., researcher notes and analyses). Researchers will be interviewed (possibly video taped) about the processes involved in conducting the research at different points in time and consulted about how best to 'show' their reflections about this and the young people. Young people will also be invited to respond to the results and conclusions of a consultation with experts in multi media methods for combining different text documents, still and moving image and audio. The project also aims to identify and liaise with potential users of the resulting resource to explore ethical ways of using it and to develop a network of potential users of other related research resources. The project process will be invaluable as an example of good practice in archiving, representing and sharing detailed and sensitive material about individuals. Consequently, effective methods and structures for dissemination will also be identified.

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