Newly published: ‘The social impact of digital youth work: what are we looking for?’

Media and Communication journalAmongst the articles just published in the latest issue of Media and Communication is a paper that that I co-authored with my Centre for Social Informatics colleagues Alicja Pawluczuk, Dr Gemma Webster, and Dr Colin Smith. The article is one of the outputs of Alicja’s doctoral study.

In ‘The social impact of digital youth work: what are we looking for?‘ we explore the ways in which digital youth workers perceive and evaluate the social impact of their work. The analysis draws on data collected in twenty semi-structured interviews with digital youth workers in Scotland in 2017.

We identify limited critical engagement with the social impact evaluation process of digital youth work projects and their outcomes. In addition, the report of the empirical work shows that a common understanding of processes of evaluation for the measurement of the social impact/value of digital youth work is lacking. We discuss these findings in the context of wider scholarly discourse on the evaluation of youth digital participation, digital literacy, and social impact. In our conclusion we argue for strategies to develop deeper understanding of the social value (positive and negative) of digital youth engagement and digital literacy needs, including training for youth workers in evaluation methods.

The article is free to download in full as a PDF from the journal web site. To find out more about Alicja’s PhD and her other work, please see her web site at

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