Research Hits And Misses: Learn From Our Mistakes

Over 1000+ completed questionnaires. 1 team. A handful of weeks and 643 (valid) responses. Here’s our research hits and misses for the Brum Youth Trends report.

The young people that we asked were incredibly honest in how they identify themselves, express their sexualities and what their thoughts are on Birmingham. From ages 11 – 26 it’s clear that they want their voices heard, and in the masses, and boy are their views on Birmingham varied. With comments such as “Once our views change positively, Brum will change”, “The council needs to stop prioritising other cultures and ethnicities. We are equal” and “Birmingham is multicultural however it’s almost segregated by race, i.e black and white areas. We are segregated, we need more community and cohesion”. They are ready to make a difference if given the space to and they want to talk to the big bosses and meet different communities. 

When approaching the Brum Youth Trends report, here are a few factors that could have been better… or we did, but were still blindsided when we got there.



From asking questions, to capturing the data, to inputting the paper questionnaires; this report took a lot of time that we didn’t account for. We were only expecting 100- 200 questionnaires maximum! We knew that we were going to have a crazy data inputting ride after we hit 100 questionnaires in the first 3 days. (Shoutout to our wonderful creative practitioner Jay for grafting hundreds of responses). Time was not on our side as we had over 1000 questionnaires to analyse, assess and input in less than two weeks.

Hits: From the vast amount of filled in questionnaires, one of the biggest hits was how quickly this project was turned around. It took one month to execute the questionnaire from planning the questions to distributing to youth hubs, colleges and schools. Brum Youth Trends was really a team effort and everyone pulled their socks up. We maximised our skills and put it to the test and it was great to see all of the hard work put in.

Misses: We wanted to go as deep as possible, to really understand the minds of our respondents. But we also wanted to make it as fun and as informative as possible. With every 10 questionnaires, there were around 5 dud ones. Some with some very interesting comments. With some of them filling in only half of the questions, or comments such as #YOURENOTGOOGLE (seriously, that was a comment). Sifting through the duds were hilarious yet time consuming.



From B9 to B98, we have scoured the depths of Brum and have tried to hear as many voices on our Brum Youth Trends mission.  

Hits: It was great to see how their opinions of Birmingham change when comparing age, from to postcode to gender. Online, there is a strong similarity to what kind of content they consume and how their relationship with social media. As most young people have the opportunity to access to the internet. They are able to use this platform to create a connection with each other which influences the growth of content becoming viral.

Misses: Although we spoke to a large variety of young people, the highest category of young people that we spoke to were aged 16-19 college students. In order to get more of a variety it would be great to get out on the streets and speak to more young people who aren’t in education and have a different perspective on Birmingham. In order to do so, we need a bigger street team, contact organisations that work with young people in prisons, hospitals and hostels. We’re on it.



The questions we asked came from an afternoon of challenging the team and picking their brains on what makes young people tick. From working with young people we have had first hand experience in how they interact with each other online and offline and we have reflected this within our questionnaire. We decided to go against the conventional questionnaire by using simple, accessible language. We wanted our audience to feel like they could open up to the questionnaire by making it as personable as possible.

Hits: We received a lot of positive responses with some people commenting on how easy the questions were to answer and how personal the questions were. Some participants stated “A very engaging and thought provoking survey. Happy to have been put onto it!” and “Very well written questionnaire, made me think and it was fun to fill out which I didn’t expect.” From the comments alone, the questionnaire was received well by those who partook in it and it was great to see how our audiences could relate to the questionnaire.

Misses: The vast majority of the dud questionnaires were due to us giving out too many options for the audience to answer. Although our questions were relatable to the majority of our audiences by the time it was too late it we noticed that the amount of questions could have been received as overwhelming, especially for young people with special needs. In future, we would add more clarity within the questions and make sure that we move to a digital platform.

We’re already excited about the prospect of opening up questions for organisations and groups to guide the insight we try to uncover. Next year we’re aiming for over 1000 responses and continue to make it as reflective of our city as possible. Year 2 – we’re coming for you.

Read the full 2017 report.

Written by Zeddie Lawal


0 responses

  1. Great report and a fantastic response. Thanks for sharing.
    Did you manage to capture demographic information on class, education and employment status? It would be interesting to see how or whether young people in Birmingham identify with specific class structures and how they respond to that.
    Apologies if this is in the report and I’ve missed it. Thanks.

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