Qualitative Longitudinal Research: the start of ‘Qual4’

This week our research team in Ethiopia is starting the fourth round of qualitative longitudinal research – what we, internally, call ‘Qual4’.

In each country a small team of fieldworkers will visit 4 of our study sites and spend over a week in each, talking to 24 of the Young Lives children (12 from the Older Cohort, and 12 from the Younger Cohort). Through individual interviews, group activities and discussions with the children and their caregivers, the fieldworkers gather in-depth information about the children’s daily lives, their family and community circumstances, the factors that affect their well-being, and their hopes and fears for the future. In this way, we are building a series of longitudinal case studies that are linked to and ‘nested’ within the household and child survey data.

In preparation for fieldwork, our teams have developed an extensive set of protocols (which will be published once fieldwork is complete). They will be exploring topics that are particularly relevant to the current ages of the children (13 to 14 and 19 to 20) – their daily experiences of school and what they want to do when they leave school, the changes in their lives as they move into adolescence or early adulthood, their changing roles and responsibilities within their family and community, and their relationships and social networks, including marriage and parenthood for some. In particular, this is an opportunity to explore further some of the issues that emerged in the recently completed Round 4 household and child survey.

Further resources

Young Lives methods guide

Gina Crivello, Virginia Morrow and Emma Wilson (2013) Young Lives Longitudinal Qualitative Research: A Guide for Researchers, Technical Note 26, Oxford: Young Lives.

YouTube interview with Yisak Tafere (lead qualitative researcher in Ethiopia) on why policymakers should listen to children