The Youth   Development   Experience (TYDE)

Description of the TYDE Project

In this study we are formulating grounded theory about developmental processes that occur in youth programs. We studied 12 exemplary youth programs, including arts programs, service, and leadership programs. Most are programs oriented to youth who are economically disadvantaged, or at risk in other ways. In order to obtain data on developmental processes we studied each program over a period of 2-10 months. We conducted weekly or biweekly interviews with adult leaders and a sample of 8-12 youth in the program. We also carried out weekly observations.

These data are being used to develop theories about how developmental change occurs in youth programs and what effective adult leaders do to support it.  We are using established methods of grounded theory to systematically analyze the data and develop these theories. In the first phase of this research, we used data from the study of individual youth programs to begin formulating concepts about a set of social and psychological developmental processes, ranging from acquiring social capital to “bridging difference” to identity development.  In the second phase, currently in processes, we are testing and revising these concepts to encompass the diversity in developmental processes observed across the 12 programs.

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