Gathering the evidence: RAY Research Update

Gathering the evidence: RAY Research Update

Gathering the evidence: RAY Research Update

Tue, Jul 4th, 2017

Pia JanningIn 2014, Léargas–together with the Centre for Youth Research and Development in NUI Maynooth–joined the RAY Network (Research based Analysis of Youth in action) so that we could work with the youth sector in Ireland and 28 other countries to contribute to a research-based analysis of the impact of Erasmus+ Youth in Action. In April our Policy and Strategic Alliances Officer, Pia Janning, attended a RAY Summit in Vienna to catch up on what’s been happening. She provides a brief overview of recent results here.

The RAY (Research based Analysis of Youth in action) Network is a European research network originally established in 2008. It’s now made up of 31 partners (National Agencies of Erasmus+ Youth in Action and their research partners) in 29 countries, including Ireland. From 2008, for six years and across 16 participating countries, the network explored the impact of the Youth in Action programme using a combination of qualitative and quantitative social research methods. (For an overview of the work, see our earlier blog post on Gathering the evidence on Youth in Action.) The resulting analyses informed the design and structure of the youth ‘chapter’ within Erasmus+, which has now been running since 2014.

On completing its analysis of Youth in Action, one of the RAY Network’s recommendations was that further research-based analysis and monitoring of Erasmus+ in the youth sector should take place, to ‘contribute to quality assurance…in [programme] implementation and…research-informed youth policy development’.

The current research programme includes the following projects:

  • research-based analysis and monitoring of Erasmus+: Youth in Action aimed at contributing to monitoring and developing Erasmus+: Youth in Action and the quality of projects supported by it
  • the long-term effects of Erasmus+: Youth in Action on participation and citizenship of the actors involved, in particular on the development of participation and citizenship competences and practices
  • competence development and capacity building of youth workers and youth leaders involved in training/support activities in Erasmus+: Youth in Action; this project will also explore the effects of Erasmus+: Youth in Action on the organisations involved

So three years on, what have we learned about the impact of Erasmus+ Youth in Action on project leaders and participants?


Here are just a few examples from the survey in 2016 of 16,373 project participants and 2,951 project leaders.


Over 90% felt that their ability to get along with people of different cultural backgrounds and communicate with people speaking another language had improved.


Over 90% of project leaders said they had learned how to better foster participation of young people in the preparation and implementation of youth (work) projects.


Over 90% of project leaders agreed or strongly agreed that they were better able to:

  • negotiate joint solutions from different viewpoints
  • achieve something for the community and/or society
  • develop an idea and put it into practice
  • say what they think with conviction in discussions.

Over 80% of project participants  said they had learned how to better foster participation of young people in the preparation and implementation of youth (work) projects.


69% of project participants believed that their chances of getting a job had increased.


For more information on the work, check the RAY Network’s dedicated website.

At our 2016 Forum, Professor Maurice Devlin of Maynooth University gave great insights in his keynote address into some of the emerging results. You can listen to his talk on our SoundCloud channel:


We welcome contributions to ‘Insights’ at comms@leargas.ie.