The ReACT method is a participatory action research (PAR) approach specifically designed to promote local knowledge production and critical consciousness by engaging youth in the problem identification, data analysis, and feedback stages of research. Youth participatory action research specifically (YPAR) has become an increasingly popular tool for jumpstarting youth engagement, giving voice to youth’s concerns, and launching programs and activities that meet the needs of local youth within a community. The youth Research Actualizing Critical Thought (ReACT) project was designed to engage youth in problem identification, data analysis, and feedback. This approach includes three phases: (1) problem identification and initial feedback using Photovoice; (2) data analysis of youth’s narratives; and (3) feedback and community dialogue.

Because it is less common for YPAR projects to engage youth in all stages of the research continuum, particularly data analysis, the ReACT Data Analysis Method was designed to do so while fostering critical thinking. The ReACT method of data analysis uses a sequence of ‘‘messaging games’’ that expose youth to three critical phases of a qualitative data analysis: (1) data reduction, (2) data organization to promote conclusion drawing and action, and (3) conclusion drawing and verification. These games were designed to promote critical thinking by engaging youth in open-coding, content analysis, first- and second-order thematic clustering, thematic coding, and dialectical discussions. When the YPAR process creates opportunities for youth to demonstrate their capacities and concerns to the broader community and think deeply about the meaning of the data they gather, the critical consciousness of the youth and the broader community is enhanced. As Project ReACT demonstrates, youth are both able and eager to think critically about their community and the data generated in a PAR process.

 ReACT uses a series of messaging games to train participants in qualitative data analysis. Learn more about these activities below: