What motivates young people?
This and other questions the eight communities Frankenfels, Schwarzenbach an der Pielach, Loich, Kirchberg an der Pielach, Rabenstein an der Pielach, Hofstetten-Grünau, Weinburg and Ober-Grafendorf that form the small region Pielachtal (District St. Pölten Land) asked themselves. Goal of the investigation was to contribute to a differentiated image of the life and challenges of young people in Pielachtal and - together with stakeholders in the region -develop possible courses of action. In addition to expert perspective a particular goal was to gather experiences and concerns of young people in the region. The study was conducted with the participation of young people and in cooperation with representatives of the communities.
The research process was guided by the following questions:
- Where do young people in Pielachtal spend time in public spaces?
- Are there youth groups and if so, which ones? In what way do they differ from each other?
- What potential hazards can be identified (for example addiction risk, destructive strategies)?
- What offers are there for young people in Pielachtal and how do these operate/interact ?
- What are the wishes and needs of young people in the region?
- What strategies are there to expand their perspective?
- What stakeholders, resources and networks are there to provide preventative measures?
Tenets, participation and involvement
The aim of the "Sozialraumanalyse/Jugendstudie Pielachtal" was to scientifically analyse the living environment of young people in the small region. This process was conceived as an interactive process between researchers and participants. In this way, the life realities of young people were not only to be depicted, but at the same time communication and change processes (in the sense of a positive change) were to be initiated. The research was thus conceived as a participatory project. A steering group reviewed and commented on the results of the individual project phases and planned the next steps together with the researchers. Findings from previous steps were incorporated into the detailed planning of the next steps (process orientation). Possibilities for action and perspectives for the future were conceived as a joint knowledge process (co-creation).
Youth Spaces and Methodical Approaches
The following scientific methods were used during the research process:
- Participation workshops
- expert discussions
- ethnographic inspections in the social environment
- online survey
- Online research of offer structures
- statistical research
- Steering group meetings and networking discussions
The central interest of the researchers was the observational participation in space-specific 'happenings', the search for places, places and events where the everyday life of young people takes place, and the exchange with other young people who are seen as 'experts' in their environment.
The motivation for commissioning the study arose from the ambition to strengthen youth work in the region and to introduce new forms of youth work as well as serve as input for political decision-making.
The written final report was presented in September 2018 in the course of a final presentation and can be downloaded below (in German)
The team also summarised information on research interests, methodological procedures and results in the form of short videos. These will soon be available here.