Qualitative research

Gaining a deep understanding of experiences and outcomes for participants of a project working with young people not in employment, education or training.

The challenge

Aspire Oxfordshire is an employment charity and social enterprise that leads a partnership to deliver Unlocking Potential, part of the Building Better Opportunities programme funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and European Social Fund. This provides mentoring-style support to vulnerable young people to help them into employment, education or training.

Eighteen months into the project Aspire wanted to gain a detailed understanding of how the project was going, and what it had achieved, from the perspectives of the participants and those delivering the service. It was important for the evaluation to be independent so as to maintain objectivity and minimise bias.

Our approach

Working closely with the Project Manager we:

  • Proposed and agreed the key research objectives
  • Designed discussion guides to capture the required insights
  • Undertook face-to-face an telephone depth interviews with participants (vulnerable young people) and case workers
  • Deliver a detailed evaluation report highlighting key findings and areas for action
  • Presented our findings to the project team and facilitated a discussion to identify next steps.

The result

When planning the next stage of the Unlocking Potential project, Aspire was able to draw on the evidence-based learning from this evaluation to help make improvements and monitor future outcomes. In addition, the report allowed Aspire, and its partners, to demonstrate the strengths and outcomes of the project to funders and stakeholders, laying the foundations for future projects based on this model.


Interested in finding out more?

The evaluation of the Unlocking Potential project captured both the impact of our project on the young people we support and the dedication of all staff involved. Research Oxford were meticulous in their communication, delivery and approach. Thank you!.

– Christina Rofique, Unlocking Potential Project Manager, Aspire Oxfordshire