In English

Youth in time  – a qualitative longitudinal study

The project was launched in spring 2015 by the Finnish Youth Research Network together with researchers from the University of Eastern Finland and University of Helsinki. The project has recruited 125 young people, born in 2000, in five research sites around Finland, and the aim is to follow the same young people’s life-paths for ten years. The idea is to have the same researcher always meet the same young people.  The aim is to produce knowledge that is relevant not only for other researchers, but also for youth policy makers and youth professionals, as well as to listen to young people and give voice to them.

The five research sites represent different types of living environments, opportunities and expectation horizons for young people.

*Capital region: a socially and ethnically varied suburb in the city (Southern Finland)

*A wealthy area close to a large center: an affluent, mainly white, bilingual local center (Western Finland)

*A remote area under restructuration: socially varied, rural, working-class (Eastern Finland)

*A small town in the rural zone: socially and ethnically rather homogeneous (Middle Finland)

*A northern town: socially and ethnically varied suburb in a bigger town (Northern Finland)

The main interest in our study is to analyse how local circumstances, resources and traditions formulate young people’s possibilities, expectations and choices. We are also interested in young people’s communality, contested memberships and possibilities for participation as well as experiences of exclusion. And in a longitudinal study  the life-course perspective is central: how young people negotiate their life-paths in a changing social landscape.

In the first year of research, the themes we have covered with the participants include the following:

Everyday life, leisure activities, social relations, school, work-life, locality, youth services, past life-events and future plans.

Youth in time is an umbrella project where the jointly generated data is analysed by researchers who each have their own specific research agendas.  The methods are mainly qualitative and participatory, including various types of individual and group interviews, interactive map-workshops as well as arts-based methods, in a constant cooperation and negotiation with the research participants. We have also collected site-specific background information by interviewing local professionals such as teachers and youth workers. In many sites we have also generated ethnographic observation data.

We shall protect the anonymity of the research participants and in general we shall conduct the study in according to research ethics guidelines concerning research with minors.


Project coordinators:

Senior researcher Sinikka Aapola-Kari (responsible researcher) and Research Manager Kaisa Vehkalahti, Finnish Youth Research Network (FYRN)

Cooperating researchers:

FYRN: Sanna Aaltonen, Tommi Hoikkala, Tomi Kiilakoski, Antti Kivijärvi and Leena Suurpää.

University of Eastern Finland: Päivi Armila, Mari Käyhkö and Ville Pöysä.

University of Helsinki: Tarja Tolonen and Matilda Wrede-Jäntti

The project is funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Department for Youth and Sport Policy.

We also have cooperation with the City of Helsinki Youth Department, the Good Leisure Time Development and Research Project 2013–2017.

Contact information:

Sinikka Aapola-Kari
Finnish Youth Research Network
Asemapäällikönkatu 1, 00520 Helsinki
tel. +358-44-416 5303