Rethinking Concept Mapping for Youth Participatory Evaluation in the Context of Youth Development Programs

Jennifer Southwick Brown


As a mixed-methods participatory approach, concept mapping (Trochim, 1989) provides unique opportunities for engaging youth in evaluating the contexts and environments in which they develop. Youth development programs, by definition, seek to fully engage youth as partners and provide them with opportunities to effect positive change. This includes encouraging youth to be involved in the process of designing, implementing, and evaluating the programs and activities in which they participate. Concept mapping has been used successfully with adult populations; however its utility with adolescents in the context of youth development programming has yet to be explored. This paper explores both the obstacles and successes associated with utilizing this participatory approach with youth.


evaluation; concept mapping; youth participation; youth empowerment

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