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Irb Protocol for Dissertation on Youth Work

In: Social Issues

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Expedited and Full Board Review

Using layperson terms, write a protocol specifically for IRB review. Please be concise in writing your summary and be sure to fully explain all human participant interactions. Be sure to address all of the following points in your summary.

Background Information

I. Rationale. Please succinctly describe the proposed project in a manner that allows the IRB to gain a sense of the project including: the research question, key background literature (supportive and contradictory) with references, and the manner in which the proposed project will improve understanding of the chosen topic.

II. Methodology. This section must describe the procedures and methods planned for carrying out the study. Make sure to include site selection, the procedures used to gain permission to carry out research at the selected site(s), participant recruitment strategies (including the manner in which participants will be approached with any proposed incentives), data collection procedures, and an overview of the manner in which data will be analyzed. Provide all information necessary for the IRB to be clear about all of the contact human participants will have with the project.

III. HIPPA Compliance Information. If you plan to gather health-related data, complete and attach the HIPAA Supplement Form or add a HIPAA compliance statement (as requested on page 18 of this application). If you are not using health-related information, you may indicate “N/A” for this item in your project summary.

Human Participants Information
|Participant Data. Describe the participant population including: participant ages, gender and racial/ethnic composition of the participants, and the number of |
|participants sought, and the amount of time it will take to complete study participation. Make sure that you have included all inclusion or exclusion criteria used to|
|select participants. |
| |
|Procedures for Vulnerable Populations. There are some subgroups of human participants that receive additional safeguards during the human participants’ review process.|
|These subgroups may include fetuses, pregnant women, human in-vitro fertilization, prisoners, children (persons under the age of 18 years), mentally disabled persons, |
|and economically or educationally disadvantaged groups. If your project specifically seeks recruitment of a vulnerable population, please state what steps you are |
|taking to minimize risk and maximize benefits (directly or indirectly) to this population. |
| |
|(continues) |

Human Participants Information (continued)

|Risks and Benefits. This section describes the potential risks to participants and how the experimental design will minimize those risks and a description of any |
|anticipated benefits, whether to the individual, a particular population, or to the body of science. Will there be more than minimal risk to participants? If yes, |
|please describe 1) the risk and 2) the steps taken to minimize risk as well as 3) any anticipated benefits. Please note: Federal guidelines discourage listing a |
|payment or other incentive for participation as a study benefit; such information should be discussed under research methodology or procedures section in your study |
|description and consent documents. If the study does not directly benefit participants, it is acceptable to state this in your application and consent documents. |
| |
|Informed Consent. Informed consent is a process in which the goals are to ensure that the participants understand what is asked of them during study participation, |
|that consent is voluntary and can be withdrawn at any time without consequence. In this section, please explain the process you plan to use in securing informed |
|consent for study participation. |
| |
|You should select the consent procedure that best meets these goals and is most feasible given your study design (see the Informed Consent Guidelines on page 10). If |
|you are using a consent document, please make sure to: 1) clearly label consent forms for adults, assent forms for children, and permission forms for parents or |
|guardians 2) the language used in the consent documents is appropriate for your study population. If you are taping (audio or video) participants you will need to |
|clearly document 1) consent to participate in the study, and 2) consent to taping. Some investigators use separate forms for each consent while others divide a single |
|form into two or more sections that clearly demonstrate each consent. Make sure to attach a copy of your consent document (forms, scripts, etc.) to the application. |
|You may include it with your measures. |
| |
|When appropriate, you may request that the IRB waive one or more components of informed consent. For example, if your study includes the collection of anonymous data, |
|you may choose to request IRB approval of an “information sheet.” The sheet would include the same information provided in the consent form with the exception of the |
|participant signature. (In this case, waiver of the signature decreases risks to participants because it eliminates the only source of personally identifiable |
|information.) Guidelines and generic consent forms are included in the instructions for this application (see pages 10 – 14). |
| |
|Confidentiality. Please state what, if any, personal identifying information (names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, etc.) will be collected from |
|participants. How are links between personal information and other study data being managed to best ensure participant confidentiality (during data collection and data|
|storage)? Who will have access to the data? Also, discuss how soon identifying information will be destroyed. If you are using audio or video taping participants, |
|please state how long the tapes will be kept before they are destroyed. |
| |
|Please note, if you are not collecting any personal identifying information, your study is anonymous, and should be described as such. |
|(continues) |

Supporting Materials

|Consent Documents and Interviews/Measures/Instruments. A copy of all consent documents and all written recruitment materials (e.g., recruitment fliers, verbal scripts,|
|etc.), interview or survey instruments must be attached to the application. If no versions of the instruments are available, please give a list of sample questions |
|that encompass the scope of the activity. If you are using any other type of instrument to collect data, please describe its purpose and how it is used. |
| |
|Collateral Site Approval. If collaborating agencies, institutions or groups are involved, a copy of their IRB approval is required. If any collaborating |
|agencies/institutions/groups do not have an IRB or formal review committee, investigators will need to provide, in writing, a statement of support of the project with |
|specific permission to collect data or carry out other aspects of the research at the site. |
| |
|Funding Application. For funded research, please attach two copies of your funding application. |

Return the required number of copies (two copies for expedited applications; contact the IRB Administrator to inquire about requirements for full board review) of these materials to the IRB Administrator, A-2-080. See the application instructions for post submission procedures.
Project Summary

Frontline Youth Workers: Meaning Making and Street-Level Youth Policy

I. Rationale

The purpose of this study is to explore the meaning of youth work from the perspectives of youth workers themselves. The central research questions are: What is the meaning of youth work for youth workers? How do youth workers’ understanding of their jobs manifest itself in daily enactment of public policy with the youth they serve? How do public and organizational policies impact youth workers’ ability to do their work? This study will take a qualitative approach to exploring these questions using semi-structured interviews with adult direct-care youth workers in Out-of-School Time (OST) programs in the Boston area. The goal of the research is to expand how youth work and youth policy are understood by introducing knowledge from the frontline of the field. It aims to make professional direct-care youth workers more visible and center their voices in the discussions of youth work and youth policy, as it is their everyday interactions and relationships with youth that constitute these fields.

The scholarly literature offers three conceptions of youth workers: as care work (Garfat 2003, 2004;Krueger 2004; Hochschild, 1983; Scheid, 2008); as a public good (Folbre, 1994; England, 2005; Weisbrod, 1964; Durlak et al., 2007), and ultimately as street-level policy (Lipsky, 1980; Evans 2011; Wastell et al, 2010). Youth work as care work hinges on the fact that it is relationship, a place of connected engagement that necessarily involves what is between people, between youth and youth workers, focusing on the emotional and intellectual lives of adolescents (Garfat 2003; Garfat 2004). Youth may come to OST programs for the activities, but they stay for the relationships (Wilson-Ahlstrom, Yohalem, and Pittman, 2008; Martin, 2002). These relationships are inherently therapeutic and are the cornerstones to effectively caring for our world’s young people (Mann-Feder, 2011). They promote healthy youth development including enhanced interpersonal skills, commitment to education, and self-esteem and decrease behaviors such as substance abuse, aggression, truancy, and high-risk sexual behavior (Anderson-Butcher, Cash, Saltzburg, Midle, and Pace, 2004). These relationships increase the social capital of young people because they have the support of youth workers in their social, career, and personal goals (Coleman, 1990; McParland and Nettles, 1991), youth workers who counsel them in regards to problem-solving in family and personal conflicts (Halpern, Udry, Suckindran, & Campbell, 2000) and help to improve their self-worth (Staudt, 1995). Youth workers often take on a parent-like role as they become advisors and role models for young people, making youth workers the single most significant element in positive youth development work (Anderson-Butcher et al., 2004). The impacts of these relationships are far-reaching and touch on all aspects of the youth experience. The relationship is both a tool (a way of doing the work) and the goal; it has “instrinsic value” as it is “just as valuable as the practical outcomes youth workers seek” (Rodd and Stewart, 2009, p. 4).

Due to the ripples of the social benefits of caring, youth work can be understood as a public good. These “ripples” of social benefits are referred to as positive externalities in both the economics and political economy literature. The positive externalities of youth work with “at-risk” youth are the main driving purpose behind OST youth programming. Youth policy is crafted with the goal of developing generations of educated, self-sufficient, politically engaged citizens whose work and lives make our society what it is. Youth policy focuses on these positive externalities as its raison d’etre. Durlak et al. (2007) argue that in fact positive youth development programs can change entire systems as youth programs strive to “shift social paradigms in terms of policy, resources, relational structures, and community norms and values” (p. 269). These shifts serve to improve the lives of young people and their families and communities. In these ways, youth work is clearly a public good.

Youth work can best be understood as street-level policy, and thus youth workers as street-level policymakers. Lipsky (1980) introduced the idea of street-level policymakers in his work Street-Level Bureaucracy: Dilemmas of the Individual in Public Service. In his discussion of the public service sector, he ultimately argues that the decisions made by direct-service public workers constitute policy as it plays out in real life, thus rendering these individual actors as policymakers through their daily encounters with the public (Wastell, White, Broadhurst, Peckover, and Pithouse, 2010). In this same way, direct-care youth workers, charged with caring for our nation’s young people, are policymakers. Youth workers relationships with youth are de facto youth policy.

Yet, current understandings of the relationship between youth workers, and youth policy and youth work practice is unidirectional and top down in nature, with direct-care youth workers absent from the youth policy discussion. This research aims to recast youth workers within this dynamic and use their experiences and knowledge to play a part in defining and shaping the work they do and their role in it. This is highly significant given that youth workers themselves are definitive of the work they do. Thus, this study aims to play a role in broadening our practical knowledge of youth policy by incorporating new perspectives.

II. Methodology

This research project will use a qualitative methodology involving one-on-one semi-structured interviews with adults who work directly with youth in OST programs in the greater Boston area.

Modes of Data Collection

Survey Questionnaire Participants will complete a one-page written questionnaire prior to the interviews to gather some demographic information about the participants and basic information about participants’ current working environments and educational and professional histories. The survey will be emailed to and completed by the participant prior to the interview. They will then return the questionnaire prior to the interview meeting. See Section IX for the details of the preliminary questionnaire. The preliminary survey questionnaires will be pre-tested with 5 youth workers via email in order to identify any problems, such as unclear questions or questions that elicit hesitation or discomfort (Presser et al., 2004). It will then be revised accordingly.

Interviews This research project will consist of semi-structured one-on-one interviews with approximately 24 youth workers in the Boston area. The interviews audio recorded, then transcribed. These interviews will be conducted throughout the city in locations convenient to the participants. With permission, I will hold one-on-one interviews at the location of youth-serving organizations and/or other non-profit organizations that will allow time, space, and privacy. See Section IX for a detailed preliminary interview protocol. In order to answer the research questions, interview questions will address participants’ motivations for their work, approaches to their work, the socio-political context of their work, and what policies they perceive to have the biggest impacts on their work and the youth, families, and communities they serve. The interview questions will be pre-tested via phone contact with 5 youth workers in order to determine if there are flaws, limitations, or other weaknesses in the interview design (Turner, 2010). It will be revised accordingly.

Field Notes In addition to audio-recording the interviews, the PI will also keep detailed field notes. Field notes will enhance the quality of data obtained through research (Emmerson, Fretz, and Shaw, 1995; Kahn, 2000). Information such as dress, body language, tone of voice, assistive device, and environmental details as well as theoretical observations and documentation of self-evaluations of the interview process will be documented in field notes. This may also include pictures and the products of other activities occurring during the interviews. The field notes will increase self-reflexivity and help to reduce bias on the part of the PI.

Participant Selection Process

The inclusion criteria for interview participants for this study are that all participants will be: (1) adults (18 years of age or older) presently employed in a youth-serving organization focusing on “at-risk” youth and (2) currently working in Boston, Cambridge, or Somerville. Participants will be identified through Boston area youth worker alliances (outlined below in Table 1), particularly those that work for the collective good of youth work and the youth work workforce, such as the South End/Lower Roxbury Youth Workers Alliance and the BEST Initiative. The organizations in Table 1 represent well over 2,000 youth workers. As such, they are optimal recruiting cites for participants. Furthermore, participants involved with these organizations clearly reflect on themselves as youth workers. Because these organizations do some of the work of meaning making of youth work as a profession and as a community asset, the youth workers involved in them are made self-aware as youth workers. They actively participate in making the meaning of the profession. One of the shortcomings of this recruitment strategy is that not all youth workers are engaged in these organizations. Thus, those youth workers who are disenfranchised from systematic meaning making may also be excluded through this recruitment process, though I reserve the right to expand recruitment through youth worker contacts. I will also access youth workers through participant referrals and personal connections within the youth work community.

The initial step in selecting participants will be sending a formal recruitment letter and information sheet detailing the project to the youth work organizations listed in Table 1 below. See Section IX below for details of the letter. This letter will be followed by an in-person meeting with organizational leadership to discuss the project more fully and develop a recruitment strategy for individual participants. The PI will contact potential participants via email or phone and explain the study in detail. If youth workers are willing to participate and meet the inclusion criteria, the PI will schedule an interview.

Table 1: Youth Work Organizations in Boston
|Organization |Mission |Contact Information |
|Youth Work Central: BEST Initiative |To develop local infrastructure for youth worker |Laurie Jo Wallace |
|(a program of Health Resources in Action) |training based on the youth development approach |Director |
| | |617-279-2240 |
|South End/Lower Roxbury Youth Workers’ |To support youth workers to promote the well-being |31 Lenox Street |
|Alliance |of the community’s young people through |Boston, MA 02118 |
| |collaborative activities such as |617-442-9800 |
| |information-sharing, skill-building, | |
| |problem-solving, leadership development and | |
| |issue-oriented advocacy | |
|United Youth and Youth Workers of Boston |To build a just and equitable future for youth | |
| |workers, the youth of Boston, and our communities | |

Data Analysis

This research will take an approach through which themes emerge from the data using inductive coding. It allows the PI to identify what youth workers account as the issues that are of importance to them and thus guide the development of knowledge about the work of youth workers. The PI will analyze the data collected by hand through constant comparison, first data with data then interpretations, codes, and categories with more data, which grounds the final analysis in the participants’ experiences. Ultimately, the focus of the data analysis will be a rich description to provide a depth of understanding of the perspectives of youth workers in the Boston area.

Coding Coding will be used to label and categorize participants’ responses and making conceptual connections through the identification of patterns in the data. The labeling, or categorization, arises from the interviews and are not predetermined beforehand (Seidman, 2006). The research will use language drawn from participants and focus on making implicit meanings of youth work explicit. Coding will be done through constant comparison of data throughout the entire research project and thus is in no way a linear process. According to Corbin and Strauss (2008), the coding necessarily involves a back and forth as new data is collected (Moghaddam, 2006).

Memo Writing Memo writing is a system of recording ideas, making sense of the data, and abstracting concepts and themes. Memos are “running logs of analytic thinking,” records of the dialogue between the researcher and the data, and serve to make implicit thoughts explicit (Corbin and Strauss, 2008. p. 108). Memos will be kept throughout the process of analysis to aid in thinking through the complexities of the data.

III. HIPPAA Compliance Information

Not applicable to this study.

IV. Participant Data

The pool of interviews will be 24 adults currently working with youth in OST programs in the Boston area. The study uses a maximum variation, non-representative sample which will include adult men and women of varied races and ethnicities. Participants will be asked to commit from one hour to one and a half hours for the interviews.

The interviews will be conducted through purposive sampling in order to select a wide range of youth workers who are interested in exploring the meaning of their work. The categories of variation include: type of youth serving organization in which youth workers work; level of experience working with youth; gender; race/ethnicity.

The category of type of youth serving organization includes following: (a) center-based programs and (b) detached youth work. These two categories represent the division of youth work activity as found in the literature (Thompson, 1999). The meaning youth workers make of the work they do is directly impacted by the structure of the organizations for which they work; thus this categorization is significant to this meaning-making research project.

The category of level of experience of the youth worker is defined as experience in the field of youth work overall, not solely in the worker’s current position. Experience is significant in that it plays a large role in decision-making (i.e. discretion) on the job and in the meaning people make of the work they do. Research has shown that in fact experience impacts how one does her job (Schmidt and Hunter, 1998). This is especially relevant in service jobs where turnover rates are high, so the number of people working in the field with high levels of experience is limited. Experience can be measured in many ways (see Jex and Britt’s Organizational Psychology: A Scientist-Practitioner Approach (2008) for a full discussion on these measurements), but for the purpose of this research, I measure experience as years in the field defined in three categories: (a) less than 1 year, (b) 1-5 years, (c) more than 5 years. The five year mark may seem small, but because of the high turnover rate in child and youth care practice, the years of experience among direct-care youth workers is generally limited (Wisman, 2011).

The category of gender include (M) male and (F) female, and it plays a key role in the understanding of care work in general, so it will be important to explore the meanings of youth work from gendered perspectives.

Lastly, the category of race/ethnicity includes (W) white, non-Hispanic and (C) people of color. This category is significant because race and racism are factors in the ways in which youth work with “at-risk” youth is both conceptualized and acted out. Thus, the racial identity of youth workers may have significant impact on their understanding of the work they do and the meaning they make of it. To a large degree, this categorization of race/ethnicity is reductive of racial and ethnic identity; thus analysis will allow for further delineation and examination of the racial identity of participants as it is relevant.

V. Procedures for Vulnerable Populations

No vulnerable populations will be interviewed in this study.

VI. Risks and Benefits

Risks will be very minimal as no personal questions or details about personal lives will be asked. All data will be reported anonymously and no youth-serving organization administrators will see the data collected about individual workers. The PI will be trained not to violate confidentiality between or among interviewees.

Benefits will accrue to the field of youth work both as a scholarly endeavor by providing seminal knowledge of youth work from the perspectives of frontline workers and to policymakers and practitioners who develop youth policy and youth programming, particularly those officials seeking to understand how youth work works on the ground-level and how policy can be informed through the insights of the those working directly with young people.

No other direct benefits will be promised to the participants.

VII. Informed Consent

All participants are adults who will sign informed Consent Forms (found below in Section IX) as well as Tape Consent forms (also found below in Section IX).

VIII. Confidentiality

No personal identifying data will be gathered from interviewees. I will know their names but only the PI and dissertation committee will have the confidential list linking names and interview code number during the process of data collection. Once data has been gathered, this list will be destroyed and all data will be reported anonymously. When necessary, data will be disguised if any material in interview has the potential to accidentally identify a particular youth-serving organization or young person. Additionally, data will be kept on a secure computer that can only be accessed by the PI and the dissertation committee.

IX. Consent Documents and Interviews/Measures/Instruments

Preliminary Participant Survey Questionnaire
1. What kind of youth-serving organization do you work for? o Center-Based o Detached (Street Outreach)
2. How would you identify your gender? o Male o Female o Transgender o Intersex o Other ______________________________________
3. How would you identify your race/ethnicity? o White (Non-Hispanic) o Black o Latino o Asian o Other ________________________________
4. How are you compensated for you work? o Salary o Hourly wage
5. Do you receive benefits as part of your compensation? o No o Yes
6. If yes, what benefits? o Health Care o Life Insurance o Retirement Package o Vacation Days o Sick Pay o Holiday Pay
6. How many years of experience have you had in the field of youth work? o 0-1 o 1-5 o 5+
7. What is your level of educational attainment? o High School Diploma/GED o Some College o Associate’s Degree o Bachelor’s Degree o Professional Degree (Masters or Ph.D.) o Other

Preliminary Interview Protocol

1. What is your current job title, and what do you do in this position? 2. What other experiences have you had working with youth? 3. What public policies most impact the work you do? How/why? 4. What policy recommendations do have in relation to the work you are currently doing with young people or in service of youth in general? 5. What have been some of your greatest successes and challenges working with youth? 6. How do you assess and address the needs of the youth you serve? 7. What areas of youths’ lives are not addressed by existing programs and organizations? How, then, do you help youth in these areas? 8. What do you think of the term “at-risk youth”? 9. How do you see your work in relation to the community you serve? 10. What do you consider to be the most important aspects of the work you do? Why? 11. What do you consider to be the ultimate goal of your work with youth? 12. What do you think it takes to be a “good” youth worker?

Consent Form
Consent Form for Frontline Youth Workers: Meaning Making and Youth Policy

Introduction and Contact Information
You are asked to take part in a research project that explores the meaning youth workers make of the work they do through interviews with direct-care youth workers.

Description of the Project:
This study aims to bring the voices of youth work into the youth policy conversation by interviewing direct-care youth workers about their work. Participation in this study will take an hour to an hour and a half for each participant. If you decide to participant in this study, you will be asked to answer a brief survey questionnaire and interview questions.

Risks or Discomforts:
This research project involves little risk. The primary risk associated with this study is the emergence of negative or distressful feelings in completing the research materials.

Your part in this research is confidential. That is, the information gathered for this project will not be published or presented in a way that would allow anyone to identify you. The information used will not include information that specifically identifies you such as your name or phone number. Information gathered for this project will be stored in a password-protected digital file and only the research team will have access to the data.

Voluntary Participation:
The decision whether or not to take part in this research study is all yours. It is voluntary. If you do decide to take part in this study, you may terminate participation at any time without consequence. If you wish to terminate participation, you should tell the investigator when you would like to stop the research process. You may terminate participation at any point during the interview without any negative consequences.

Required Elements:
An explanation of whom to contact for answers pertinent to questions about the research and research participants’ rights, and who to contact in the event of a research related injury to the subject



_________________________________ ___________
Signature of Participant Date

Signature of Researcher Date

Typed/Printed Name of Participant

Typed/Printed Name of Researcher

Tape Consent Form



This study involves the audio taping of your interview with the researcher. Neither your name nor any other identifying information will be associated with the audiotape or the transcript. Only the research team will be able to listen to the tapes.

The tapes will be transcribed by the researcher and erased once the transcriptions are checked for accuracy. Transcripts of your interview may be reproduced in whole or in part for use in presentations or written products that result from this study. Neither your name nor any other identifying information (such as your voice or picture) will be used in presentations or in written products resulting from the study.

Immediately following the interview, you will be given the opportunity to have the tape erased if you wish to withdraw your consent to taping or participation in this study.

| |
|By signing this form you are consenting: |
| |
|having your interview taped; |
| |
|to having the tape transcribed; |
| |
|use of the written transcript in presentations and written products. |
| |
| |
|By checking the box in front of each item, you are consenting to participate in that procedure. |
| |
| |

This consent for taping is effective until May 31, 2014. On or before that date, the tapes will be destroyed.

Participant's Signature ___________________________________________ Date___________

X. Collateral Site Approval

Not applicable.

XI. Funding Application

Not applicable.…...

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