Project overview


This research will explore how the evolving COVID-19 crisis affects young people’s everyday lives, social values and priorities, as individuals and as a group within society.

Children and young people are thought to face a lower health risk from COVID-19. However, their social realities and futures are changing substantially in the light of lockdown, school closures and social distancing. This study will follow young people aged 14-18 in seven countries as they document their family lives, peer relationships, education and participation in society while the pandemic unfolds. It will compare the experience of children in the four nations of the UK with those of their peers in Italy, the epicentre of the outbreak in Europe; Singapore, where the SARS outbreak is within memory; and Lebanon, with its large population of refugees. Each of the countries has a dedicated project lead – Malika Shah will oversee research conducted within the UK, Sara Rizzo will oversee research in Italy, Chermaine Tay the research in Singapore, and Martina Diep and Irene Biundo the research in Lebanon.

The researchers will undertake a qualitative longitudinal study which will be conducted entirely online, mirroring changing modes of social interaction during the crisis. By using digital ethnography and participatory methods, the researchers will treat young people as co-researchers whom the study is ‘with’ rather than ‘about’. The researchers will recruit panels of 10 young people aged 14-18 from each country, including the four constituent countries of the UK; the panels will be diverse across gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, family structure and health conditions, and include young LGBTQ people and children in care. Over 18 months, the researchers will combine semi-structured qualitative interviews, video diaries, and analysis of social media data to track participants’ responses to the crisis, decision-making and behaviours. Alongside individual ethnographies, the participants will be brought together remotely at key junctures during the project to critically reflect on their experiences and perspectives, and on the political and public health responses within each country. The study will be wider than its 70 direct participants, as each young person will document the crisis as it impacts upon their immediate peer and family networks.

This project will create qualitative evidence of how children and young people are experiencing, making sense of, and impacted by COVID-19. The researchers will publish interim and final public reports, concise online research briefings and blog posts providing key messages to stakeholders, and academic journal publications. The researchers will establish an online policy discussion forum and two online stakeholder events to support active engagement with the findings, informing interventions to minimise impacts on children’s social well-being.

Team


  • Laurie Day
    Ecorys
  • Barry Percy-Smith
    University of Huddersfield
  • Sara Rizzo
    Ecorys
  • Leanne Monchuk
    University of Huddersfield
  • Amy Dwyer
    Ecorys

  • Ash Patel
    Programme Head, Justice
    Nuffield Foundation
  • Programme Head, Education
    Nuffield Foundation

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We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

We are an open, collaborative and engaged funder that offers more than money. Through connecting the individual projects we fund, we strengthen their collective impact and give voice to an overarching narrative.

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