Linguistic Profiling
for Professionals

Generation Z: Communication and campaigns to support and protect young people during Covid-19

A research project led by Professor Louise Mullany and Dr Lucy Jones examined the effectiveness of UK Government communications to young people.



Together with Dr Victoria Howard and Dr Tristan Emerson, they investigated communication and campaigns aimed at supporting and protecting young people who might be at risk during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The project, funded by a Research England QR award,  examined how organisations, including the government, charities, local authorities and NGOs, communicated with Generation Z (young people between 16 and 23) and those working in organisations supporting them during Covid-19. It focused in particular on those who might be experiencing violence, abuse or harassment in person or online.  

Lockdown scrabble

The research project used discourse analytic techniques to investigate the effectiveness of information and campaign materials produced by these organisations aimed at supporting young people.

To ensure that the voices of Generation Z were heard, the team gathered responses of young people to these materials through a survey.

The project team also collected the views and experiences of people working in youth and support services which support those from diverse ethnic heritages, cultures and groups who are under-represented in mainstream cultures.

This strand of the research shed light on the information available to such services as they endeavoured to help and protect young people through the various stages of the pandemic. It also offered insight into the changing needs and pressures on young people.


The research identified groups which may be underrepresented in these materials due to their socio-economic background, gender, race, ethnicity, culture and/or sexuality. It also assessed which strategies and campaigns have worked best, and identified issues and gaps in the information available. 

This helped to identify good practice, which the team used as the basis for a set of recommendations to government and organisations about which approaches work best for communicating important information quickly and effectively to young people and services supporting them in future.  



Linguistic Profiling for Professionals

Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics
The University of Nottingham
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone:+44 (0) 115 748 6360
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 5924