The objective of the Delphi study in WYRED was to identify and prioritize key areas of interest for young persons, and to provide additional insights regarding their involvement in decision making related to their concerns, attitudes and perceptions.
The Delphi method has been widely used in different areas, for the elicitation of experts’ opinions on a certain subject, by means of an iterative anonymous group interaction. It involves repeated (multi-round) polling, in each round feeding back anonymised responses from earlier rounds, so that respondents can re-consider their previous answers and submit new insights.
In the WYRED Delphi, the subject-matter experts were young people and relevant stakeholders. Therefore, we designed two surveys: one aimed at young people and one for stakeholders. Each survey was carried out in two rounds (in accordance to the Delphi method), and different questionnaires were developed for each.
The first round consisted of one closed question (rating the most important issues of concern for young people) and open questions about engagement of young people in decision making and the benefit to society of such engagement.
The second round consisted of closed questions formulated based on the results obtained in the first round.
The questionnaires were accessible online, in six languages according to the WYRED partner countries: English, Spanish, German, Italian, Hebrew and Turkish.
206 young people and 69 stakeholders from different countries took part in the 1st round. 260 young people and 89 stakeholders participated in the 2nd round.
A report with full results and detailed analysis will be published in September 2017. At the moment we briefly present some highlights:
Young people consistently attribute the highest importance to the issues of “self-image and self-confidence”, “tolerance to different cultures/opinions”, and “necessary changes in education”. One issue, mental wellbeing, which was added in the 2nd round (based on young people suggestions in the 1st round), is also perceived as very important.
The opinions of stakeholders regarding the most important issues is in general rather similar to young people, except one noticeable difference: they attribute much higher importance than young people to media literacy, namely the reliability of information on the internet and in social media. (This observation has been confirmed by some of the initial face-to-face social dialogues with young people carried out by the WYRED team).
Among potential ways to engage young people in decision making processes, the highest usefulness was attributed by young people as well as by stakeholders to “direct communication between young people and decision makers”, followed by “fostering active groups in schools/universities/workplaces and recognition of the activists”.
Most young people tend to believe that the society in the year 2030 will be better if their voice is heard by decision makers (interestingly, this tendency is significantly higher among female respondents). They believe that first and foremost it will be a fairer society (more tolerant, more equal, more open to different genders, cultures, religions, political opinions, controversial issues, etc.). Moreover, they think that the education system will improve and that young people will feel more confident, expressive and in control of their role and impact in the society they live in.
Regarding the question (only presented to stakeholders) how to ensure that decision makers take into account the views of young people, the highest usefulness was attributed to “strengthening the citizenship of young people so that they learn to exercise their right to evaluate the system and not evade it”, followed by “regular evaluation of decisions that affect young people and require their opinion”.
The results of the Delphi study provide interesting insights and valuable inputs to the subsequent stages of WYRED, in which the relevant topics will be explored further in more detail.