Unlocking response from young people

Nancy Macdonald

As any experienced qualitative researcher will testify, work involving teens or young people can be a challenging task.

Researchers entering this area who are unfamiliar with young consumers need to know about the potential pitfalls, the different tools they may use (and how to get the best from them), and the keys to making this relationship between different generations work.

The first step lies in appreciating the distinctive facets of this life-stage. Still in the process of constructing identity, young people can be deeply self-conscious and lack confidence in revealing and articulating their views in front of others. A forum that seeks to source this information from them can therefore be an uncomfortable one. If you involve them in focus groups, you are asking them to attend an event that can look dangerously like a school scenario.