Using qualitative methods to elicit young people's perspectives on their environments: some ideas for community health initiatives

Health Educ Res. 2001 Jun;16(3):255-68. doi: 10.1093/her/16.3.255.


This paper describes qualitative methods used in a research project for the former Health Education Authority, exploring Putnam's concept of 'social capital' in relation to children and young people's well-being and health. Putnam's conceptualization of social capital consists of the following features: trust, reciprocal support, civic engagement, community identity and social networks, and the premise is that levels of social capital in a community have an important effect on people's well-being. Research was carried out with 102 children aged between 12 and 15 in two relatively deprived parts of a town in southeast England. The paper describes the research setting, methods, consent process and ethical issues that arose. It explores how the methods generated different forms of interconnected data, giving rise to a number of health/well-being-related themes. The paper concludes that using a range of methods, including visual methods, has helped to explore quality of life issues for children that are usually neglected in studies of young people's health-related behaviours.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • England / epidemiology
  • Ethics
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Male
  • Perception*
  • Quality of Life
  • Research Design
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Social Environment*
  • Social Support*