Statement of responsibility: Gayle Rice
This study focuses on the nature of conversations between young people who are in care and their leaving care worker (LCW) as they share and elicit views about where a young person may live when they leave care. Due to the high instances of young people in care becoming homeless after leaving care, the aim of this study was to explore i) how an intervention could be co-designed to support young people and LCWs to share and elicit views about where a young person could live when they leave care, and ii) evidence the outcomes of this intervention. Design ethnography was used to acquire data on the nature of this conversation by observing the experiences of ten young people working with one LCW. Four of these observations were analysed in detail and findings identified that during this conversation people felt anxious and confused, and found it difficult to make sense of what the other person said and meant. Consequently an intervention was co-designed and prototyped with nine young people who had left care, three who were leaving care,and five LCWs. The structure of the intervention encouraged people to work in partnership and as part of a facilitated conversation to ‘explore’, ‘educate’ and ‘plan’ where a young person may live as they leave care. This intervention was supported and enabled by prototypes of visual communication materials. The same 5 LCWs each invited a young person they were working with and who was ready to engage in this conversation to test the intervention with them in situ (young people’s home and social work offices). These five young people had not previously participated in the study. One-to-one interviews were conducted with four of those young people, along with a focus group with all of the LCWs, to understand people’s experiences of the intervention. Reflective practice and reflexive praxis guided the analysis of the design ethnography. Reflection-in-and-on-action, and reflexive praxis wove knowledge from the design ethnography with knowledge acquired when co-designing the intervention. Finally, an interpretive phenomenological approach was used to understand people’s experience of the interevention. The findings indicate that, when using the intervention, young people and LCWs: felt positively about this topic of conversation and working together; understood each other, the plans they devised together, the rationale for the creation of these plans, and how they may be realised. Young people and LCWs recommended that the prototypes needed further development, and that the intervention should be made available to other LCWs and young people who are engaging in this conversation. These findings indicate that the intervention successfully enhanced young people and LCWs experiences of this conversation. In the design research literature review it was identified that participatory design (PD) researchers do not publish the outcomes of design interventions. The research design applied in this study illustrates in detail how PD researchers and design practitioners can evidence the experiential outcomes of design interventions. This study argues that robustly evidencing the outcomes of PD practice needs to become common practice so i) PD researchers become accountable for the outcomes of their interventions and ii) communities that make evidence-based decisions about their practice (such as social work services) may embed PD interventions. The sample size used to develop and test this intervention was small, therefore it is recommended that the prototype is further developed and tested before it is made more widely available.
PhD Glasgow School of Art, 2016
xxxi, 437 p. : ill.