Improving Community-Based Youth Work: Evaluation of an Action Research Approach

Ross VeLure Roholt, Sheetal Rana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Few formal post-secondary educational programs in the United States focus on youth work, thus youth workers often enter the field with diverse backgrounds and varying levels of experience working with youth. Drawing on mounting evidence that quality youth service requires skilled staff, professional-development opportunities have received increasing support by agencies and funders. Typically, youth work professional development supports propositional (theory) knowledge learning to develop a more skilled workforce. This article describes an approach to youth work professional development that supports professional-craft knowledge learning (practice wisdom). Based on action research methodology, the approach has been developed over the last three years with groups of youth workers in a public organization. Using program evaluation data over the last two years and university-facilitator reflections, the authors describe what have been found to be the critical components of this approach. Also discussed are implications of using such an approach in day-to-day youth work practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-335
Number of pages19
JournalChild and Youth Services
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011


  • action research
  • professional development
  • reflective practice
  • youth work


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