This paper explores my experiences of using different sources of written discourse data from Singapore in order to explore changes in social, legal and political conceptions of adolescence. Starting from a social constructivist epistemological view of ‘the child’, ‘the adolescent’ and ‘the adult’, I discuss the methodological challenges which I have found during my MSt and now DPhil when selecting written discourse sources such as court reports, state political publications, newspapers, blogs and now Hansard (parliamentary reports). As Singapore is a semi-authoritarian state, with a closely linked elite, and government censorship of media, additional methodological problems arise when trying to assess cause and effect when there are changes in political, legal and media rhetoric on the subject of youth. Further, care must be taken as to the generalisability of findings across the wider population. Finally, I offer tentative thoughts on the power (and pitfalls) of critical discourse analysis as a means of interrogating how power creates adolescent identity.