Surveying the Oversurveilled – Conducting and Analysing Questionnaires on Well-Being of Marginalised Young Adults

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 16:00
Oral Presentation
Antti KIVIJÄRVI, Finnish Youth Research Society, Finland
Sanna AALTONEN, Finnish Youth Research Society, Finland
Martta MYLLYLÄ, Finnish Youth Research Society, Finland
Young people’s well-being is under relentless interest of authorities and policy makers and, thus, repeatedly measured both on national and regional level. Measurements are executed throughout young people’s educational trajectories in particular but in line with the concern over youth marginalisation young adults not in education or employment are increasingly being studied and surveyed. Filling in questionnaires has become a routine activity included in various welfare services, and manifold research and development projects target the very same young adults. Producing data on the marginalised may mean that respondents are exposed to questions that reflect the dominant assumptions on well-being and good life. Thus, while knowledge production may aim to be value-free, surveys can evoke various reactions among respondents from disempowerment to amusement. In some cases, setting frames for a desirable state of well-being can function as a normative and categorising force for young adults in marginal positions. In this paper we draw upon a study focusing on well-being of 16-29 year old clients of targeted youth services in three cities in Finland. The well-being of the respondents was surveyed by using an extensive questionnaire that included scales related e.g. to the quality of life and loneliness. The questionnaires were filled in in a supervised setting and the discussions between the respondent and a researcher form a qualitative data set that is used to contextualise the survey data. Thus, in this paper we aim first to give an overview of the well-being of young adults not in education or employment and second, focus on such notions as reliability and ask what types of repercussions conventional quantitative research settings may have for marginalised, oversurveilled young adults.