Nested at the heart of Brathay’s practice, our Research Hub's intention is to better understand, develop, evidence and influence practice and policy.

Our work informs:

  • Practice development 
  • Sector and policy development 
  • Impact data and development of evidence bases – championing a ‘practice based evidence’ approach
  • Knowledge management of good practice
Brathay Youth Work will promote investigation and research into questions affecting the resources and education of young people. 

The role of research at Brathay, founded in our Charitable Objectives in 1946.

Approach

We achieve this by exploring practice from within and working alongside practitioners and participants. We are a hub at the core of practice, distinguishing ourselves from an academic department. At the heart of our approach is action research, which aligns with Brathay’s experiential, participatory and person centered learning and development practice. 

We assume a position at the intersection of everyday experience with wider thinking (research and policy). We support the transformation of information gathered from these areas into understanding and practice development through active reflection and innovation.
We endeavour to make any research activity both robust and logical (using a theory of change framework), as well as practice enhancing (promoting the importance of practice based evidence).

Within this approach we use mixed methods so that we can understand, show impact and develop practice based on quantitative and qualitative data. We specialise in the use of creative methods to gather data, in order to better engage, be inclusive and increase participation. In particular, we are dedicated to engaging the ‘hard to reach’ and those normally marginalised in research and evaluation. We have recently co-authored ‘Evaluation Practice for Projects with Young People: A Guide to Creative Research’ (Stuart, Maynard and Rouncefield, 2015) published by Sage.

Academic Partners

Our activities are enhanced by partnerships with the:

  • University of Cumbria (Ethical clearance for our research)
  • Institute of Applied Social Science at Bedfordshire University 
  • Lancaster University