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20 Dec 2023

How can we define clear expectations between young advisors and researchers?

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The ARC NENC Young People’s Advisory Network (YPAN) is a group based in the North East and North Cumbria.

Elaf is a young person from the ARC YPAN. She has been working with her peers to  explain to researchers what they can expect from the group when they approach them with a research project, but also what their expectations are from the researchers.

Defining clear expectations between a young advisory network and researchers is crucial for several reasons.

It builds a foundation of understanding and provides a calm environment to be part of. It benefits young people by letting them know what their roles entail and what is expected of them. It also benefits researchers by helping them understand the purpose of the young advisory network. This means they will only seek help from young people for relevant projects and roles.

Our group values specificity in what researchers are looking for in terms of experience, ensuring that young people participate only in projects they are experienced in. This mutual understanding establishes clear expectations and responsibilities from the beginning, reducing the chances of misunderstanding and ensuring an efficient project, which is essential for meeting deadlines and keeping everyone on the same page.

What we expect from researchers includes updates on the progress and outcomes of the research, as well as information about follow-ups. It is important that we are aware of our position in the project and whether further progress is expected or if there is a potential delay causing a quiet period with little progress. Simply informing us that there won’t be significant developments is crucial.

We would appreciate receiving documents by email at least 48 hours before a meeting to allow us to come prepared and alleviate anxiety.

The ability to choose how we receive payments is also crucial, especially since adults get paid in cash; there should be no distinction between adults and young people.

Clarity about the background of the research, including funding sources and involved parties, is extremely important. Getting involved in a project aligned with the person’s interests and knowledge enhances both the project and the young person’s experience.

As a group, we are polite, opinionated, curious, and enjoy participating in research projects. We are reliable and will notify you in advance of meetings whether we can attend. Overall, we have a range of experiences and are a diverse group, many of whom have experience in participating in and designing research.

As a group, we thought that it might be useful to create a Venn diagram to set our goals, and establish some ground rules for researchers regarding what the group expects from them.

We also aimed to communicate what we have to offer to researchers.

You can download the Venn diagram below.

If you would like to work with our Young People’s Advisory Network, please email [email protected] and we can connect you to the group in an appropriate way.

With thanks to Elaf from our YPAN for this blog