Massachusetts 4-H


4-H provides opportunities and experiences that researchers have shown to be critical in allowing youth to become healthy, productive, contributing adults.  Through the following links you can explore the research evidence that supports our statewide youth programs.  

The Positive Development of Youth:  Comprehensive Findings from the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development

Research from this longitudinal study shows that youth development programs like 4-H play a special and vital role in the lives of America’s young people.  According to The 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development (PYD), youth have the capacity to thrive when presented with the resources for healthy development found in families, schools, and communities.  Click here for the full report (57 pages) of this study.  Click here for a four page summary of the findings.

4-H Impacts on Youth Interest in Science

Part of the results of the ongoing national 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development (item just above in list) concern the impacts that positive youth development—including 4-H participation—have on young people's interest in science, engineering and technology. This document is a brief fact sheet summarizing those particular findings.   

Afterschool Alliance

The nation's leading voice for afterschool, the Afterschool Alliance is the only organization dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of afterschool programs and advocating for more afterschool investments. The Afterschool Alliance works with the federal administration, the U.S. Congress, governors, mayors and advocates across the country. Today the Afterschool Alliance boasts more than 25,000 afterschool program partners and our publications reach more than 65,000 interested individuals every month.

Center for Research on Families, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

The Center for Research on Families (CRF) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst actively supports and disseminates social and behavioral sciences research on issues relevant to families.


The Children, Youth and Families Education and Research Network contains a wealth of information for youth, parents and others working with children, youth and families.

Harvard Family Research Project

Our work strengthens family, school, and community partnerships, early childhood care and education, promotes evaluation and accountability, and offers professional development to those who work directly with children, youth, and families. The audiences for HFRP's work include policymakers, practitioners, researchers, evaluators, philanthropists, teachers, school administrators, and concerned individuals.

The Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development

The Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development is a laboratory within the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at Tufts University. The Institute has the mandate and goal to be a center of excellence for the conduct and dissemination of top-tier scholarship and for the education and professional development of graduate and undergraduate students interested in enhancing the lives of diverse children, families, and communities.

The Institute for Community Research (ICR)

The Institute for Community Research (ICR) uses the tools of research to build community capacity and foster collaborative community-based partnerships. By gathering information in partnership with residents, we are helping communities locally and globally to ask better questions and get better answers about the complex problems they face. We believe this process is the best way to support personal growth, broaden community leadership and foster robust democratic institutions.

Journal of Extension (JOE)

The Journal of Extension (JOE) expands and updates the research and knowledge base for U.S. Extension professionals and other outreach educators to improve their effectiveness. JOE also serves as a forum for emerging and contemporary issues affecting U.S. Cooperative Extension education.