Research Hits And Misses: Brum Youth Trends 2018


With extensive research, comes extensive responsibility, and with extensive responsibilities can come extensive learnings. With the success of last year’s report under our belt, we set ourselves with big expectations; to both listen and deliver an expand and deepen our knowledge of the city.

We spoke to over 1500 young people gathering 1248 surveys completed surveys for the final dataset.

Here’s a compilation of our learnings from start to finish for the 2018’s iteration of Brum Youth Trends.

The survey

We shaped the questions beyond our core team by working with last years’ YSC and our Brum Youth Trends Leadership Team, our young advocates who are passionate about their future, resulting with triple the amount of questions and a tightening of who we were approaching scaling back from aged 11 - 26 to 14 - 25.  This is something we will carry forward into 2019.

After ensuring that we had covered as many areas as possible, we found ourselves with a 20 minute paper questionnaire, which meant that it was increasingly necessary to articulate to Young Brum why we were doing the research, how it could directly affect them and what would happen after they had completed the survey and after a lot of no’s from busy young people heading off to lunch, this enabled us to perfect our approach to why we were doing the research, meaning the 1248 young people who invested their lunchtime for our survey were itching for change, a response and also the opportunity to witness the direct impact that this report would have on their lives.

With over 1500 paper surveys to input, with 66 questions and more than 5 options per answer, even with our trusty leadership team helping out, we realised that this was both time consuming and unsustainable. The inputting process took almost the same amount of time to capture the data! For the next iteration of BYT we will aim to push our digital reach so we can both work closer with institutions who have direct access to brum’s future and to reach young people across the remotest parts of the city.

We also had a digitised version of the app which was very much so still in beta form, and the form of app wasn’t ready just yet for distribution beyond mobile devices, therefore it wasn’t compatible for schools, laptops or ipads at the time. This meant we had to do a lot of data inputting from paper forms.

The outcome of the entire report heavily dictated on the locations of the venues we were in touch with and getting them back to us within the desired timeline and where we produced events to capture the survey’s meaning we simply missed out on hearing back from everyone if it was a busy period within school and college hours. Yes, Birmingham is the youngest city in Europe so our strategy next year is to hit the workforce, we can only do this by working with organisations who work with or hire Young Brum.

Who we missed

We are aware that the report only scratches the surface when it comes to digging deep about how young people view the city, we have a huge dataset so we would like you to unpick it. You are experts of your own field and we would like to open source our data so you can make your own conclusions about Young Brum.

In terms of the questions asked within the survey, we missed out reporting on two major areas despite being conscious of including them in our sample - disabilities and socioeconomic status.

We ensured that we included young people with disabilities in our sample by working with schools and youth groups who represented these groups but we made a major error by not reporting on it in our demographics section. This means we can’t give an exact number of people who answered this year and we will work on it for 2019.

We also recognise that the gamified platform won’t work for all abilities so we will still need to work with groups across the city to ensure that it’s accessible for disabled and neurodiverse audiences.  

We are working out the best way forward to be explicit when discussing class and/or socio economic status because it’s an absolute priority highlighting the lack of social mobility for young people across the city.

Call to arms

We aim to work as closely with organisations that work with all young people to ensure that BYT can capture stories from young people across the city, so nominate your school, organisation, college or hostel by dropping us an email and we’ll be there with you for 2019.

Written by Zeddie Lawal

If you have any additional feedback on the Brum Youth Trends 2018 report, let us know here, and if you haven’t yet read the report, click here.

If you want to read our 2017 research hits & misses click here.

Latest, 2018Zeddie Lawal