What is YPAR?

YPAR is an innovative approach to positive youth and community development in which young people are trained to conduct systematic research to improve their lives, their communities, and the institutions intended to serve them. YPAR is a cyclical process of learning and action – research is done not just for the sake of it but to inform solutions to problems that young people themselves care about. YPAR can be useful for any young people wanting to make a difference, and is an especially powerful approach for young people who are experiencing marginalization due to racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, ableism, or other forms of oppression.

YPAR is one form of youth participation among many! We wrote this paper to help folks understand other forms of participation, as well as similarities and differences between those modes of engagement and YPAR.

YPAR can:

Redefine who has the expertise to produce knowledge to our world — not just professional adult researchers but young people who are living the issues they are studying.

Provide skills in inquiry, evidence, and presentation that are important to young people’s development as students and agents of positive change in schools and communities.

Generate findings that provides insights into issues faced by young people that they themselves experience, as well as the resources that matter in helping solve those issues.

Promote young people’s sociopolitical development and psychological empowerment such that they understand the roots of problems facing their communities and have the skills and motivation to take action.

Evaluate programs, policies, and practices that affect young people.

What is YPAR Hub?

YPAR Hub Decision Tree Screenshot

A collective hub where partners, facilitators, and youth can share resources and findings, learn from each other, and create connections to have a bigger impact on policies and practices that affect youth.

A curriculum hub that contains lessons from different YPAR curriculum delivered in an intuitive, interactive format.

A research hub where researchers can share studies of YPAR practice and impact to reduce the gap between research and practice.

Who is behind YPAR Hub?

The YPAR Hub started through an ongoing partnership between the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco Peer Resources. Current members of the team include Emily Ozer (Professor, UC Berkeley, Innovations for Youth Center [i4Y]), Ophelia Williams (Executive Director, San Francisco Peer Resources), James Earl Schier Nolan (Community Science Manager, Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health, UC Berkeley), and Brian Villa (i4Y, UC Berkeley).

You can find a list of publications from our team here and from Emily Ozer  here.

We express our sincere gratitude to the people and groups who have thus far contributed to this website’s development, shared curricula and input and inspired us to create this site. This includes, but is not limited to, Amber Akemi Piatt (Program Manager, UC Berkeley, Innovations for Youth [I4Y] Center), Pui Ling Tam (Executive Director, San Francisco Peer Resources), and Elizabeth Hubbard (Assistant Director, San Francisco Peer Resources).

We could not have made this platform without our brilliant research assistants, Julia Levinson and Nehaa Khadka and want to thank the students and teachers in the UC Berkeley and San Francisco Peer Resources YPAR projects, Meredith Minkler, Michelle Fine, Jean Shensul and the Institute for Community Research, Nancy Erbstein, Jonathon London, Ben Kirshner, Rebecca G. Kaplan, Nina Wallerstein, Marc Zimmerman, Regina Langhout, Larry Green, Yolanda Anyon and Stanford University’s YELL, Laura Douglas, Dana Wright, Mariah Kornbluh, and Margarida Gaspar de Matos. We look forward to further input and improvement from others.

We thank our funders. The initial version of this site was partially funded with support to Emily Ozer and Ingrid Holsen of University of Bergen from the Peder Sather Fund at UC Berkeley. The research on YPAR that gave rise to the development of this website was funded by a William T Grant Scholars Award to Professor Emily Ozer of UC Berkeley and funds from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some of the YPAR Hub Team.

More YPAR Resources

Reach Out

Please provide your contact information below if you are practicing YPAR or interested in using this site. By doing so, we can update you with resources and ways to share your work with others. We hope to create a network of people supporting each others' efforts to empower and engage young people through YPAR and related projects.

Is YPAR a good fit for your group?

In addition to YPAR, there are other approaches to uplifting youth voice that have different emphases. Although YPAR focuses on youth taking action, actions are informed by investigation that yields data to better target those actions. Other approaches (see below) also gather information but tend to be more focused on immediate action. These approaches can be used with YPAR or on their own. If your group:

Understands the problem fully and is ready to go straight to action on changing a policy or practice, get inspired to do youth organizing by Forward Together.

Is most interested in designing a product or a service to address issues concerning youth, check out design thinking with IDEO.

Is focused on community planning issues and solutions, get inspired by Y-PLAN.