Tween Empowerment & Advocacy Methodology (TEAM)

In my doctoral study, I had the privilege of collaborating with an energetic team of youth co-researchers at the 101 Technology Fun makerspace and design community. An important contribution of my research involves the formation and development of the Tween Empowerment & Advocacy Methodology (TEAM), a unique system of methods for data collection, analysis, synthesis, and representation. Characterized by tween fieldwork, designworks, makerspaces, and storymaking, this design-based research approach offers new possibilities for the study of youth cultures and youth learning, especially in relation to media and technology.

TEAM builds upon and refines ethical research practices that are sensitive toward and inclusive of youth, and raises important questions concerning children’s rights and roles in the knowledge made about their lives and learning circumstances. For example, in my dissertation, analysis of the co-researchers’ stories, artifacts, design practices, and research reflections were interwoven with theoretical and empirical understandings to contribute a detailed working portrait of how a team of girls learn about, from, through, and with/against media and technology (bearing the locale and maker culture of 101 Technology Fun).

What stands out most about the TEAM approach is the inclusion of girls’ diverse voices as we worked towards a shared understanding of the research questions, in our stories, designworks, fieldwork, and, most importantly, in the development of action or contribution to technology culture.

TEAM methods, techniques, and modes of inquiry emphasize relational ethics through artifact production, storymaking, mind scripting, invention, and imagination. TEAM data analysis and synthesis is characterized by a conversational montage framework, which invites catalytic and generative re-readings of the co-researchers’ fieldwork, and allows them to speak for themselves (to the greatest extent possible). Within the context of my study, the TEAM approach served to empower youth as educational researchers, leaders, innovators, and change makers.

You can learn more about TEAM in my doctoral dissertation, including: (1) TEAM processes for developing motivating research settings (e.g. the 101 Technology Fun makerspace); (2) TEAM techniques for data collection and creation (e.g., artifact and story making, design thinking challenges, and mind scripting interview sessions); (3) TEAM procedures for analyzing and synthesizing a diverse dataset (e.g., visual, verbal, and textual materials from multiple sources); (4) TEAM matters of data accountability and validity; and (5) TEAM strategies for representing research findings utilizing a contextual, multi-perspectival, and multi-layered text.

You can also learn more about TEAM by contacting me with questions and comments. I look forward to hearing from you!