Being a peer researcher helped me make a difference

By Iulia • 6 July 2021

Iulia, a Research Centre Associate explains her experience of becoming a peer researcher. She reflects on her experience of the peer research programme and the importance of this work. 

At Young Women’s Trust, peer research is carried out by young women who have lived experience of the topic being studied.

There are many benefits to carrying out research in this way. In an interview I am more likely to connect to the interviewee as we might share similar backgrounds, identities, or experiences. There is also less of a power imbalance, which means I am more likely than a traditional researcher to form a bond with the interviewee and have a more open conversation.

Learning how to carry out research

In the summer of 2020, I received a opportunity to join the peer research programme through another project I was involved in at Young Women’s Trust. I jumped at the opportunity to apply, and a few weeks later I was in training with a group of young women, to become a peer researcher.

Our first project finished with the release of Picking up the pieces, a report which highlighted young women’s experiences of lockdown.

For this project we

  • Decided together the aims of the research and the questions for the interviews
  • Went into our communities and recruited young women to be interviewed
  • Each conducted interviews over the phone
  • Transcribed the interviews and handed over the results to the research team who aggregated the data
  • Took part in a focus group where we discussed the key findings and gave insights from the interviews we conducted

Our last task was to celebrate together when the finalised version of the report was launched to the public!

Reflecting on the peer research programme

When I look back, I am amazed at how much we have done over a short period of time. What started with a few weeks of training turned into

Being a peer researcher has provided me with a huge confidence boost. It has been an opportunity to learn new skills and allowed me the privilege of making a difference by being at the heart of social change.

Our research highlights the real experiences of young women and the economic injustice they face.

Our approach combines peer research with statistics and data. You can find out more about how we do research and read our latest reports in our new Research Centre.

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