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Developing YOUth! Project

Measuring the long-term impact of a STEM-based out-of-school time program

April 3, 2019

Developing YOUth! Project: A Multi-faceted Study

Posted by Alison Mroczkowski on April 3, 2019

The Developing YOUth! Project (DYP) is a multi-faceted study that has many moving parts. One of the benefits to conducting a study like the DYP is that we can conduct smaller studies within the larger umbrella study to explore certain topics in greater depth.

One of these smaller studies that we are conducting uses an ethnographic approach to take a deeper dive into the life experiences of 10 of our study participants. These 10 graduates of the Science Minors and Achievers program agreed to participate in multiple interviews throughout the course of our study, and they recently participated in their fourth interviews with our research team this past summer.

For this ethnographic study, the data we collect are qualitative, which means we are analyzing pages of text rather than numbers in a spreadsheet. All of the participants’ interviews were transcribed, and we now have 899 pages of transcripts, which means we have a LOT of qualitative data to read and analyze!

Two members of our research team are currently digging into these transcripts to learn more about these 10 participants’ life experiences in college and/or in their careers over the past few years.mThe researchers are analyzing one participant at a time by reading each of their interviews in chronological order, starting with their first interview and ending with their most recent interview this past summer. This approach provides a fascinating snapshot of the development of these participants’ life experiences, aspirations and behaviors over the course of three years.

Although we are early in our analysis, one of the common themes that is beginning to emerge is the idea that participants’ career aspirations are flexible and tend to change from year to year. In late adolescence and/or early adulthood, it is often difficult to predict where one will be in a year’s time. All of this is to say, if you are unsure about what your future holds, know that you are in good company!

We expect to be finished with our analysis of the ethnographic data by early 2019, and we are excited to begin sharing our findings, especially as we add new data from future interviews. Stay tuned to learn more in the new year!