The Corby Youth Voice Project was an initiative run within the Corby district of Northamptonshire.
Canvassing the opinions of local students in full time education on subjects including policing, safety, alcohol, drugs and litter, the goal was to reallocate funding within the area to increase the perception of Corby.
Conducting any survey needs careful consideration of the target audience in addition to the goals of the project.
This can be particularly challenging when canvassing minors where the level of understanding may vary between the various ages and child needs.
Additional considerations were needed according to where each child lived as some areas of the town were naturally skewed more towards disadvantage where others were becoming quite affluent, which would affect opinions.
Finally, consideration to parenting was needed as parents will often cast their views, intentionally or not, onto their children which could affect the true picture.
The project needed to be long term, over at least three years to gather insight, act and measure the effects.
We used small a “focus group” of students selected from various ages, backgrounds and learning levels and had conversations with them to gauge understanding and language, before defining the survey questions.
Some questions were worded differently according to the age of responder, others varied the answers available, or skipped questions entirely.
The survey was delivered towards the end of the school year when students had more time to complete it. Most schools had internet access and were able to complete the survey online. A few required a small local server to be installed, hosting a local copy of the survey, and a handful completed the survey on paper which were then captured by Xynics.
All responses were compiled into a comprehensive analysis report, one for each school, one for the area as a whole.
Prior to the new school year, the Council and Local Police diverted funding and resources in response to the survey findings on a trial basis, before the survey ran for its second year.
The results of the second survey demonstrated a noticeable improvement in perception of the area, which encouraged the authorities to divert more funding and resources.
The final survey then demonstrated considerable improvement, proving the project a success.
Youth Opinion Research Survey would not have been possible without the expertise and capability of Xynics.
Xynics data analysts were able to ensure that the survey questions were set up such that valuable insight could be derived, and the reliability of the answers was tested, so responses that were outside the accepted range could be discarded.
The project was a huge success, even being asked to participate in a Radio 4 interview.
We could not have hoped for a better result.
S. Richardson - Teacher and Project Consultant