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Summary and Context

The RAY Network is an open, growing and self-governed European research network of National Agencies of the Erasmus+: Youth in Action Programme and their research partners. The main aim of RAY is to contribute to a better understanding of international youth work and youth learning mobility and thus to an evidence-based policy development in the youth field in Europe as well as to the development of international youth work and learning mobility practice.
General information about the RAY network (pdf 590 KB)

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The focus of research within RAY is on research-based analysis and monitoring of Erasmus+: Youth in Action, including all its key actions. Respective research activities are planned to be conducted continuously for the full duration of the RAY Erasmus+ Programme (2014 to 2020).

The RAY Network aims at conducting high quality research, building on the RAY Network partners’ high degree of competence and expertise in the field of (international) youth work and youth learning mobility. RAY Network partners adhere to common standards of social and educational research, complying with internationally accepted ethical standards

In this respect, RAY aims to promote the dialogue between research, policy and practice. A special feature of the RAY network is its European dimension as well as the transnational, multilingual, intercultural and interdisciplinary research approach.

Context

Youth work has become increasingly international during the past decades, on the one hand through an increasing international cooperation in youth work practice and in youth policy, on the other hand through an increase of international youth activities. In particular for international youth activities in the context of European youth programmes, participation of young people in political and public life as well as in civil society, fostering active and democratic and citizenship, the inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities and respect for cultural diversity are important elements. Non-formal education and learning are main features of international youth activities, lately also in the context of ‘learning mobility’ which during the past decade has become a commonly used term for any kind of activity combining (geographical) mobility and learning.

The importance and routine of international youth activities increased over the past decades, together with a growing number of persions involved in it, resulting in an increasing interest in the (learning) processes and effects of international youth activities and youth learning mobility as well as in all aspects related to supporting and implementing respective activities: an interest of organisers and practitioners in view of improving their activities and receiving adequate recognition for them; an interest of policy makers in view of evidence-based policy development; and an interest of researchers in a phenomenon which was not much explored previously.
 

Research on international youth work

Research on international youth work and youth learning mobility has evolved during the past decades, covering a broad spectrum of fields of learning mobility, involving different research disciplines, addressing diverse topics and research questions and applying a variety of research approaches and methods, resulting in a considerable number of respective studies.

In this context, research-based analysis and monitoring of Youth in Action (RAY) was initiated in 2007 in order to explore (learning) processes and effects as well as the implementation of the Youth in Action Programme (2007 to 2013). The research outcomes have been intended to contribute to the development of practice and policy.

So far, RAY primarily studied the effects of Youth in Action on the actors involved, in particular with respect to competence development, but also concerning learning (processes) – in particular what fosters learning in YiA projects. Furthermore, RAY studied the implementation of the YiA Programme and of funded projects, e.g. with respect to the profiles of actors involved, promotion of the programme, support given to funded projects etc., thus contributing to monitoring the programme.

The RAY Network is committed to continue this research in the framework of Youth in Action in the Erasmus+ Programme (2014 to 2020), based on the experience gained during the previous years, and to establish an exchange and to explore cooperation with researchers in other areas of learning mobility.