By Gaëlle Kaze
The Voice of Youth Researchers project
Since the beginning of 2020, Jigsaw, in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Refugee Education UK (then named Refugee Support Network, RSN), started “Voices of Refugee Youth: The Impact of Post-Primary Education in Emergency” in Rwanda (and Pakistan). The Voices of Refugee Youth (VoRY) project aims to amplify youth refugees’ voices to understand their perspectives on the education journeys they are on as refugees.
As part of the VoRY project, Jigsaw, together with UNHCR and REUK, has been working with young refugees in conducting research, and this is how our training as Youth Researchers started and we have received training in four stages over the years.
Recap of Unit 1 and Unit 2
I have had the privilege to be amongst other Youth Researchers as I followed the training in person for Unit 1 and conducted interviews with university students who were refugees. For the next two units (Units 2 and 3), we had to do the training online because of the disruptions caused by COVID-19.
Unit 1 focused on quantitative data collection where we learned in training on what quantitative data is, how to collect it, what tools to use and how to design them. We then collected data from student refugees. Unit 2 focused on qualitative data collection, where we learned how to practise Key Informant Interviews, Focus Group Discussions and transcribing. After training, we got to practise what we learned with the respondents.
Learnings and personal highlights from Unit 3
In this article, I want to share my highlights from Unit 3 on the research methods training we received. As mentioned above, from Unit 2 onwards, we completed the training virtually because of COVID-19. It was hard but we persisted and successfully completed Unit 2 training, which then enabled us to finish Unit 3 training on data analysis.
Unit 3 consisted of data analysis focused on analysing both qualitative and quantitative data, writing case studies and visualising data.
Data analysis consists of two phases. First, collected data needs to be prepared: this phase requires the researcher to clean and validate the data, check for informed consent and anonymise the data. The second phase focuses on analysing the data itself. For a good data analysis, there are some principles to follow such as being impartial, being thorough and rigorous and using critical/analytical thinking.
Case studies are used to explore the challenges faced by refugee young people, articulating the successes that happen in their life and the life of their closest friends and relatives as a result of their education and employment journey.
Data visualisation refers to the graphical representation of information and data. Its benefit is to make the data more understandable to the readers. An effective visualisation also requires different phases including cleaning complete data, picking the right type of visualisation to use, being concise and avoiding the use of too many colours.
In summary, Unit 3 was very interesting and also a little bit hard. There were so many new things to learn which seemed difficult and the fact that the learning happened virtually made it more difficult.
However, the practice and the explanation of our trainers helped us to understand more about the unit. During the training, I enjoyed learning about coding and interpreting: it was new to me and before I thought it was hard, but after learning and following the instructions it became easy. And now, months after the training, I still remember how to do it. Also it was the most useful for me because I now use these skills a lot.
The whole unit was interesting because it was all new to me. But the most interesting was the practice of writing a case study.
Personal highlights from Unit 4
Several months after Unit 3, we did the training of Unit 4 which consisted of 2 phases: the online training where we studied through modules and the in person training where we went through the module with our trainers.
Unit 4 covered 3 main components:
● Research deliverables and report writing
● Research presentation
● Research and advocacy
It was all very instructive to me. The most important things I learned in this unit were how to write a research report and preparing and delivering a research presentation.
To conclude, I would like to thank all the Jigsaw and Refugee Education UK team who made me a Youth Researcher and taught me so many things which will help me in the life of a researcher.