‘Keen as fuck': youth participation in qualitative research as ‘parallel projects’

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Youth researchers continue to pursue the ideals of youth participation in research. This pursuit reflects a broader concern for the problems of participant-researcher power dynamics in qualitative research. Youth researchers develop and adopt a variety of techniques and ethical principles that attempt to position young people as active research participants. However, these methods and principles have not solved the challenges of participation. In this article, I argue that there is a need to accept that some of the power asymmetries of participation might be unsolvable, and to reposition the power relationship between young people and researchers. A central concern in this article is the paradoxically unethical outcomes produced by adult-centric ethics review processes. I argue that youth participation in qualitative research can be understood as parallel projects and that in doing so researchers can value young people’s reasons for participation. In fact, young people might be ‘keen as fuck’ (participant quote) to participate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-55
Number of pages17
JournalQualitative Research
Issue number1
Early online date2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • adult centricity
  • parallel projects
  • participation
  • research ethics
  • youth


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