To achieve the objectives of this project, the research has been structured through different lines of action applying a mixed methodology approach (quantitative and qualitative methodological tools).
A more in-depth investigation of the concept of empowerment has entailed theoretical analysis of the term itself. Different quantitative and qualitative techniques have been used, including questionnaires aimed at both young people and youth workers, the analysis of young people’s life stories and in-depth analyses of practitioners’ views using different narrative materials and focus groups.
From the very beginning, the HEBE Project has worked with the views of young people. A questionnaire was administered to a sample of 890 young people in order to learn more about the places, times and processes that, according to them, are involved in and determine their capacity for agency, autonomy and, ultimately, empowerment. Four participatory evaluation processes have been carried out with young people in order to determine their experiences and opinions regarding empowerment processes, with the life stories of six young people also being included within this. This material has been used to contrast and validate a proposal for empowerment indicators.
An audio-visual training and film language workshop has been given to a selected group of young people so that they might express their idea of youth empowerment based on audiovisual pieces. This workshop has given rise to the HEBE Web.doc (an interactive documentary on youth empowerment), which involved a participative research methodology on empowerment and the creation of an interactive platform for sharing empowerment experiences.
In the current phase of research, the study subjects are those education professionals who work with young people (youth workers, teachers, social educators, pedagogues, street educators, sociocultural instructors, etc.). The current research is structured into three lines:
- The analysis of youth workers’ accounts, using fieldwork diaries and audiovisual pieces.
- An online questionnaire administered to an intentional sample of youth workers to determine what work they do on youth empowerment and involving an in-depth analysis of the different dimensions of empowerment.
Empowerment indicators displayed in a rubric format for the evaluation of youth empowerment actions and programmes. This tool has been validated and applied in pilot studies in order to present it as a resource for evaluation and learning.