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Enhancing Action Research

National effort seeks to advance youth-led research initiatives

Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) is a unique initiative designed to engage middle and high school students in conducting systematic scholarship around pressing social issues that can improve their own lives and the communities they live in. It provides individuals with real world learning experiences, enhances community connectivity for youth and can enhance efforts to address some of society’s critical challenges.

Through a new national research project, Cleveland State University will examine the impact of YPAR programs both as a learning model and as a vehicle for social change. The effort, led by the University of California at Berkley and funded through a $540,000 grant from the William T. Grant Foundation, will assess the effectiveness of YPAR initiatives being undertaken in California, Colorado, New Jersey and Ohio public schools. The goal will be to assess how results from these YPAR studies are perceived and utilized by school and community leaders and elected officials and what can be done to enhance the quality, dissemination and utilization of YPAR results.

CSU will receive over $84,000 through the grant to assess YPAR programs being conducted by the First Ring Student Leadership Institute, a program of the Educational Services Center of Northeast Ohio, and Campus International High School, a Cleveland public school located on the Cleveland State campus.

“Youth living with significant social challenges, such as poverty, racism and sexism, often have a unique perspective on how these problems can be addressed, and YPAR gives them the opportunity to develop evidence-based solutions that can help them, their families and their communities,” adds Adam Voight, director of the Center for Urban Education at CSU and one of the leads on the grant. “This project will allow us to improve the long term impact of this work for the benefit of student participants and society as a whole.”

For more information on the Center for Urban Education and its efforts to improve outcomes for students throughout Northeast Ohio, visit