Defending of a qualitative method of data analysis
For in-depth understanding of the problem of obesity and weight issues in Ireland, I have chosen a qualitative method of data analysis consisting in examination of behavior and habits of teenagers in different environments and regions of the country. This method will greatly contribute to the study of attitudes and habits through the analysis of the data collected.
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To prove that the implication of qualitative strategies suits the research best, it is necessary to stress the irrelevance of quantitative methods. Certainly, the application of statistic and figure investigation looks more accurate and effective, as the focus is made on strict evaluation of results in numbers only. However, to provide necessary numerical data, it is important to collect information and imply the empirical research. This means that valid statistic analysis should be based on ongoing experiments and practice in the form of questionnaire and creation of programs on development of and shaping the teenagers behavior. Then, as the study is conducted in the Irish communities, a qualitative analysis promotes more effective and evidence-based results which are predominantly relied on qualitative techniques of communities’ consultation and immediate participation. Finally, unlike quantitative analysis, which is based on the theoretical ground, a qualitative approach also implies an assessment framework that helps to deduce new theoretical concepts that can be further used for similar researches.
Usually, the examination of a qualitative data is predetermined by several leading principles. The first stage involves the analysis of the data itself for a researcher to make the corresponding conclusions reduced to the collected facts. The opposed method is more committed to the grounded method where all results directly relate to the evidence that has been gathered during this stage. This method would contribute to the accurate results best, as the entire research consists in constant interviewing, observation, consultation, and participation.
As it has been mentioned before, the set of experiments will be guided by the grounding theory and, therefore, our qualitative research will be split into four stages:
- The key points of the collected data transferred into codes.
- Working out the concepts based on the code identification.
- Organizing the common groups of concepts.
- Providing a group of justifications and explanations that form a new theory based on previously assumed concepts.
The core issues of the research can be singled out via organization of interviews on food allowance and filling in the questionnaires prepared specifically for the research. In particular, the researchers are going to interview teenagers in different settings (at home and in the school) and to find out the similarities and differences of the answers. Then, another angle of the research will touch upon the observation of teenagers’ behavior at home and in the school. This will be properly recorded in the minutes and diaries. Hence, the observers will choose a certain group of students and will track their daily diet and the type of products they consume. The final stage will the proposal to implement the educational program on food consumption, including such theoretical issues as how to reach the balance between the food intake and energy output, how to combine diet and physical activities and to cultivate the teenagers awareness of healthy lifestyle.
The core points of the interviews and participations can be induced into shaping of the groups of concepts and conclusions. In this way, the first stage of concepts extraction will be the analysis of the structure and form of the interview the way it influences students’ answer. An in-depth content analysis needs the part of the data to be highlighted and the part of the data to be reduced. Then, it is necessary to work out the hierarchy of priorities toward categories of themes and move further to the identification of the key concepts (Denscombe, 2007 p. 293).
The organization of common categories of concepts should correlate with the type of observation and participation used in the research. The group of concepts forms a solid foundation for deducing conclusions and theoretical issues. To single out the conceptual frames, it is obligatory to conduct a comparative analysis and the way they relate to the existing concepts. In case there observe some theoretical deviations, it provide an opportunity to form an alternative theoretical ground. At this stage, it is also possible to explain how the date is connected with the identified series of concepts. The comparative analysis of the concepts will contribute to the identification of the researchers’ errors leading to wrong conclusions. In addition, the existing theories will also help to withdraw the wrong assumption and deepen the study of a particular problem.
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The group of concept promotes the creation of explanation of certain practical phenomena thus contributing to emergence of a particular theoretical ground. Based upon the findings and insights during interviewing and observation, it will be possible to single out some tools for further research on these particular problems.
The research will be focused on conducting the interviews within the chosen age group where the research informants should track even minor changes and points that relate to the research problem. During the research, the informant keeps additional records on the process of the decisions. The records conducted are based on practices, observation of the teenagers’ behavior before and after the interview.
The interviews will contain the following questions:
- Have you ever thought of what you are eating?
- What food do you prefer?
- Have you heard of the ethics of food intake?
- Do you know what a healthy lifestyle includes?
- Why is it important to combine food diet with physical activities?
These leading questions trigger the informants to make objective conclusions. Once the information is gathered, it is possible to work out the strategy of reforming at schools in order to raise the awareness of the problems connected with food intake.
Credibility and reliability in the qualitative analysis
The verification of the qualitative analysis is crucial and, therefore, it is necessary to prove that the findings are reliable; otherwise, they cannot be used. In case the research is deprived of verification, the study would not have credibility, which is one of the pillars of a brilliant research.
Hence, to reach the credibility, the research engages mostly practical findings such as pictures, records, memos, audio records, statistics, and interview answers. The credibility of the study will be measured regarding the accuracy and relevance of the data as a tool for defining and solving the problem. The reliability of the research is identified in case the conducted experiments and educational problems have the same effect in other but similar occasions. The next stage of defining the validity will be identification of generalizability of the research, which involves explaining how the research can be applied in future.(Denscombe, 2007, p. 296). Finally, the research should exclude any biases and misconceptions. To do that, the interviews and observations are held in natural settings and conditions so that the experimental part will be minimized. Besides, the researchers will be intimately and latently engaged in the data collection in order to produce similar data and reach an identical consensus.
In our case, the only way to check the validity of the research is implementation of the grounded data, as the research tends to include long periods of time and the location of conducting the framework. The engagement of visual images and in-depth scrutiny of the memos and recordings will also increase the validity of the paper.
Sample population: adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17 years
For the study of weight and obesity problems, we have chosen the group of teenagers within the age from 13 to 17. This choice is predetermined by several psychological and biological factors.
Pertaining to biological peculiarities, the puberty period takes place averagely at the age of thirteen. During this period, there observe considerable hormonal shifts influencing other physical systems of a person, including digestion apparatus. Hence, at this age, adolescents are more likely to have problems with food allowance and, therefore, parents should be more concerned with what their children eat. Then, teenagers tend to be more emotional and subjected to stresses contributing to eating disorders and misbalance between the food intake and energy output. Finally, this age group undergoes numerous changes and often faces problems when communicating with their parents and teachers. Therefore, it is hard to impart useful ideas to adolescents.
It should be also stressed that people of this age have the highest probability of eating disorders. Besides, as they can be more influenced by the outside factors due to the lack of knowledge, adolescents tend to emulate the famous diets and body standards, which are not acceptable for their physical health.
To provide a comprehensive research, the study implies the implementation of the purposive sampling, which means that each sample is chosen for a particular purpose due to the unique position of the sample units. Purposive sampling also consists in examining the entire population of a particular group or certain categories of population (teenagers in rural communities and their attitudes toward the process of food allowance). It should be stressed that a purposeful study suggests that the interviews and observation are conducted by knowledgeable informants who can adequately render the information. Therefore, it is necessary to survey the cultural and social peculiarities of this particular group so as to define the limitation for it.
Purposive sampling will be based on the following criteria:
- The purpose of the research
- The scope of the research
- Information collected and its quality
- The design of the study and the relevance of the topic
The purposive sampling fits best the research under consideration, as it is based on the empirical data and particular cases. When analyzing the cases observed and tracking the changes occurred, this method allows to define the variables and invariables in different cases and situations (Parahoo, 1997, p. 232).
In our research, purposive sampling is based on the choice of critical cases revealed through the relations provoking the highest intensity cases and the one that contribute to the emergence of conflicts between teenagers influencing on emotional state that, in its turn, provides a ground for eating disorder. As a result, this method of randomization will help to accurately pursue the changes and habits of food allowance and weight and obesity issues. In addition, the analysis of critical and deviant cases is the most effective one, as our research is based on the implementation of the educational program content will well-defined in case the research discloses the main reasons and origins of the problem. More importantly, this type of sampling is also aimed at generalizing the results of the research, which of greater significance for further implementation of the program on raising the awareness among the obese children.
Rationale for Samples Size
As a whole, the sample is specifically chosen by the researcher on the ground that this age group is the most available people to provide the necessary information on the problems being researched. As it was also mentioned, purposeful study is the best method for obtaining in-depth understanding of an experience (Sandelowski, 1995).
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It is important for a qualitative research to have a large sample size to define the relationships among variables and invariable and to single out the differences between the groups. In particular, our research directly relates to the information needed to explain and to describe some cultural and social factors contributing to the problem and to develop a theory for determining the main reasons obesity among the adolescents. Therefore, the number of participant will be about 100, as this number will be sufficient to saturate the research with the required information.
Conceptual framework of the study
The research reveals itself as an unfolding study where a conceptual framework will be developed during the research. It means that the results of the analysis will be available in case specific findings will be discovered (Punch, 2006, 50).
Relying on the systematic approach, the first task of the research will be to identify the level of awareness of balanced food nutrition among the teenagers and the way they understand; they should also realize the negative outcomes of obesity on the entire organism. Here, the informant should take into consideration cultural and ethical issues of the region as well. The next task of research will be the analysis of the connection between the cultural and social aspects and weight and obesity problems among children. As it has been previously mentioned in the problem of the research, the lack of awareness and education among the adolescent generates the problems of eating disorders. The conceptual framework is also based on a wider context. In our case, the invariables of our research are the adolescent behavior, their attitude to food, and upbringing and invariable is the educational program implementation in schools and the results of its implementation. The program will include the issues on balanced nutrition and food, weight problems, and the importance of physical activities for an overall state of adolescents. Finally, the research is also based on defining the connection between the healthy state and obesity.
Denscombe, M. 2007. The good research guide: for small-scale social research products. Berkshire: McGraw-Hill International.
Parahoo, K. 1997. Nursing research – principles, process and issues. Hampshire: Palgrave.
Punch, K. F. 2006. Developing effective research proposals. London: Sage Publications Ltd.
Sandelowski, M. 1995. Sample Size in Qualitative Research. Research in Nursing and Health, 18(2), pp. 179-183.