Measuring Adolescent Participation: Results from a Qualitative Pretest in Cote D’Ivoire and Indonesia
Keywords:international youth development, adolescent participation, cognitive interviewing
Adolescence, or the period of transition between childhood and adulthood, is a significant stage in human development. Not only is it a time of physical growth and neurological development, but it is also a time when many young people begin to expand their networks beyond their family, form close ties with their peers, develop and express their views, and have a greater desire to be involved in decisions that affect them. This act of forming and expressing their views and influencing matters that concern them is sometimes referred to as adolescent participation. When viewed through an international human rights lens, adolescent participation is considered a fundamental right, and consequently, there is a need for reliable and valid measures that accurately assess adolescent participation and allow for internationally comparable data. The purpose of this study was to qualitatively test a draft questionnaire designed to measure adolescent participation. The goal was to gain insight into both how the items would perform cross-culturally and how adolescents’ comprehension and interpretation of different constructs related to adolescent participation. Cognitive interviews were conducted with 123 adolescents aged 10 to 19 in Côte d’Ivoire and Indonesia. This paper describes the development of the draft questionnaire, presents the methods used to pretest the questionnaire, and summarizes the findings. This study reveals important considerations for researchers and practitioners interested in qualitatively pretesting questionnaires with adolescents and in measuring and understanding adolescent participation across a range of international contexts.
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