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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Expanding Literacies with Students: Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) in a School-Based Setting
by King, Jennifer M., Ph.D., University of Rochester, 2013, 421; 3560990
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation study explored the literacies that youth used when doing Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) in a school-based setting. The overarching goals of the dissertation were to contribute to the literature on YPAR and to contribute to expanding definitions and understandings of literacies.

Building on ideological approaches to literacy represented in research on adolescent literacies, this dissertation study offers YPAR in a school-based setting as a potentially ideological and activist approach to literacy that can serve as a counterscript to the autonomous approaches to literacy that are so prevalent in schools today. YPAR contrasts with the current dominant discourses in education, such as the standards, testing, and accountability movement, the achievement gap rhetoric, and the autonomous model of literacy. Furthermore, YPAR positions all youth as culturally rich rather than culturally deficient; therefore, YPAR has social justice aims and implications, particularly for urban youth of color.

Set in a progressive, urban, public high school, this hybrid of qualitative critical ethnographic case study and participatory action research explored a "Social Activism" course in which three student research teams engaged in YPAR on the topics of environmental issues, urban violence, and women's issues. Data was collected in two phases. Phase I occurred during the 2008-2009 academic year and included: fieldnotes from participant observations of the "Social Activism" course activities; video recordings of class meetings; focus groups conducted with each of the three student research teams; a series of three interviews with each of the students; and documentation, such as curriculum materials, class records, student work, and a teacher-researcher journal. Phase II occurred during the 2009-2010 academic year and included stimulated recall interviews and participatory data analysis sessions. Data were analyzed initially using a constructivist grounded theory approach with sensitizing concepts from New Literacy Studies, new literacies, and critical literacies. D/discourse analysis was then used to analyze literacy practices more specifically. Data and findings were organized to construct a case for each of the three research teams, which facilitated a cross-case analysis. Major findings pertain to how YPAR and schools are mutually constituted and how youth engaged in street literacies and collaborative literacies.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Larson, Joanne C.
Commitee: Brockenbrough, Edward, Kinloch, Valerie
School: University of Rochester
Department: Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 74/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Language arts, Secondary education, Curriculum development
Keywords: Adolescent literacies, Collaborative literacies, Critical literacies, New literacies, Street literacies, Youth participatory action research (YPAR)
Publication Number: 3560990
ISBN: 978-1-303-07764-7
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