Youth Participatory Action Research in San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD)
Youth participatory action research (YPAR) is a tool that encourages youth to identify issues that they are passionate about and participate in projects to create positive impact within their communities by collecting, analyzing, and utilizing data to inform meaningful change. YPAR aims to increase positive development in youth by providing the skills and tools necessary to create systems-level change, empower youth to develop critical thinking skills, increase autonomy, and provide opportunities for civic and community engagement.
The goal of this study is to pilot YPAR within middle and high schools in SDUSD and engage school-aged LGBTQIA+ youth in research within their community to impact change. Students within Gender and Sexuality Alliances (GSAs) ages 12 to 18+ years old within 3 participating schools were invited to participate in the pilot. Students were trained in YPAR methods and provided the opportunity to design a research study and take action on an issue affecting LGBTQIA+ students at their school.