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Research Time
Youth Values
Sample Maintenance
Youth Transitions

Youth Values: A study of identity, diversity and social change.

September 1996 - February 1999

Funded under the Economic and Social Research Council's programme Children 5-16: Growing up in the 21st century (L129251020).


Click here to download the final report of this study.

Final Report



Study objectives:

  1. To contribute to theory in the area of the social construction of identity by examining how young people position themselves in relation to different contemporary value systems and to understand how this positioning relates to processes of identity formation including experiences of social inclusion and exclusion.
  2. To produce new data providing qualitative and quantitative documentation of the variety of moral world views within and between groups of young people aged 11-16 in the UK with particular reference to differences of age, gender, ethnicity, faith, social class, family formation and location.
  3. To produce knowledge of the factors that contribute to moral development and of the strategies that young people employ to cope with moral dilemmas and diversity. We planned to develop understanding of how social and intergenerational change have affected the legitimacy of sources of moral authority for young people.
  4. To make a major contribution towards youth policy in the areas of health, education, parenting and criminal justice by providing an understanding of young people as active moral agents, documenting the range of their moral world views and elaborating their understanding of moral legitimacy. The study aimed to make a practical contribution to educational practice and methods, and identify potential strategies for the support and guidance of young people from different social environments.

Research questions

  1. What or who do young people recognise as sources of moral authority and what factors contribute to the legitimacy of moral authority?
  2. How do they perceive changes in values across generations?
  3. How do they respond to diversity in contemporary value systems?
  4. How do young people understand the processes of their own moral development and how does this contribute to adult identity?
  5. What is the relationship between young people's values and their expectations and experiences of social inclusion and exclusion?

Youth Values







Preliminary Focus Groups

Focus Groups


Focus Group Analysis

Questionnaire Analysis

Assignments and Analysis

Interview Analysis

Classwork and Analysis