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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

More than just being there: balancing the participation equation.

The research and evaluation evidence is mounting: out-of-school-time ( OST) programs can keep young people safe, support working families, and improve academic achievement and social development. Over 6 million children are enrolled in after-school programs nationwide, but an estimated 14.3 million children still care for themselves in the nonschool hours. Because of this discrepancy, OST stakeholders need information about how to maximize participation in OST programs. The Harvard Family Research Project ( HRFP) has developed a conceptual model, based on scholarly theory, empirical research, and knowledge gained from providers, that describes the characteristics that predict participation in OST programs as well as the potential benefits of that participation. In the center of the model, participation is conceived as a three-part construct of enrollment, attendance, and engagement. This equation serves as the basis for framing this issue of New Directions for Youth Development. The chapter provides an overview of why participation in OST programs matters for young people, describes some of the barriers and challenges to youth participation, teases out more precise definitions of participation, and presents HFRP's conceptual model of participation. It focuses on the participation equation and concludes by highlighting some overarching themes that recur throughout the issue and that have an impact on future directions for research and evaluation.[1]


  1. More than just being there: balancing the participation equation. Weiss, H.B., Little, P.M., Bouffard, S.M. New directions for youth development. (2005) [Pubmed]
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