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Author(s): Simon Stewart and Mandy Robbins

To cite this article: Stewart, S. & Robbins, R. (2022). A listening guide to youth work, Methodological approaches to research in youth work: Changing the paradigm, Youth Voice Journal, pp. 32-41. ISBN (ONLINE): 978-1-911634-42-3



The Listening Guide (Gilligan, Spencer, Weinberg, & Bertsch, 2003) is an approach that places listening through relationship at the forefront of the research. This is a discovery approach where voice and relationship are central to the encounter. It explores how expressing meaning made from lived experiences is conveyed through the voice of the teller. We propose a rationale for utilising a Voice Centered Relational Methodology (The Listening Guide) in International Youth Work research. Youth Work places the young person at the heart of practice. This is understood to be a relational interaction; however, the quality of that relational interaction is dependent upon the ‘voice’ exhibited by the young person within the boundaries of multiple interactions over a period of time. We suggest that the ‘relational voice’ component of this methodological approach is congruent with Youth Work principles and values and enables the process of listening deeply to the participant’s voice. We demonstrate how the Voice Centered Relational Methodology can be used to explore the multiple layers of meaning within the relational voice that forms the central part of the ongoing relational dialogue Youth Workers hold with young people. We suggest that a Voice Centered Relational Methodological approach enables the uncovering of the voice of the participant and supports an evidence base for Youth Work that is congruent with its principles and values. The Price model of international Youth Work is introduced and explores the multiple layers of meaning within ‘voice’ positioned within an Intercultural context. The model supports the position that relational voice, as espoused by Gilligan (1993), is central to Youth Work.

Keywords: Gilligan; Voice Centred: relational; international youth work.

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