This study of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among adolescents will entail the use of a quasi-experimental design. This type of research design was chosen because the objective of the study is to identify the causal implications of the proposed intervention. It may be recalled that the purpose of the study is to determine whether an early intervention program comprised of an after-school sex education class could help lower the incidences of premarital sex, teenage pregnancy, and STDs among adolescents in the United States (Trejos-Castillo, Treviño-Schafer, Brice, & McPherson, 2011). The proposed research design differs from the traditional experimental design and incorporates the use of a treatment (control) group that will be the basis of determining the effectiveness of the proposed intervention. Since quasi-experiments are considered to be natural experiments, a conclusion derived from a single experiment can be applied to other subjects and settings, thereby allowing for greater generalization.
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Setting and Sample
To facilitate the course of this study, two high schools from Miami-Dade County will be asked to participate. The schools will be randomly selected by means of the fishbowl technique (Better Evaluation, n.d.). Students from the two selected institutions will be assigned to either the experimental group or the control group. Students from each group will be requested to complete the “Illustrative Questionnaire for Interview-Surveys with Young People” created by John Cleland and made available to the public by the World Health Organization. This survey will help determine the knowledge and behavior of the students regarding sex and reproductive health prior to the intervention (Harden, 2014). The results of the preliminary test will be compared with results of the same test administered after the intervention program has been completed.
The sample population will include diverse groups of children of different ages, genders, religions, and ethnic backgrounds.
To ensure confidentiality, each participant will be assigned a number, which will serve as his or her only form of identification. Participant names and contact information will be neither recorded nor requested in any way. Furthermore, the results of the tests will be kept confidential, and they will not be disclosed or utilized other than for the purpose of this investigation. No description or any form of identification that may reveal the child’s identity will be used in the study.
Procedure and Intervention
As mentioned above, the fishbowl method will be used to select two high schools from Miami-Dade County to participate in the study. Students from the selected schools will be assigned to either the experimental group or the control group. Prior to the introduction of the intervention, the researcher will administer the “Illustrative Questionnaire for Interview-Surveys with Young People” by John Cleland to gauge the participants’ knowledge levels and attitudes towards sex and reproductive health. The experimental group will then be subjected to a one-hour after-school sex education class program for one month. At the same time, the control group will go about their regular schedule without any gaining or being exposed to any information about the course or the progress of the control group. After the completion of the program, the experimental group and the control group will both be invited to take the same test again. All participants will be asked to write the numbers they were given when they completed the test for the first time. The results of the first and the second tests will be compared, and any changes in the participants’ attitudes towards or knowledge of reproductive health and sex will be documented.
Instruments and Measurements of Outcome
To assess the participants’ knowledge of reproductive health, the “Illustrative Questionnaire for Interview-Surveys with Young People” by John Cleland will be administered. This tool is a standardized test questionnaire published by the World Health Organization. The questionnaire will be divided into the following ten sections:
- Sources of information on sexual and reproductive health;
- Sexual and reproductive health knowledge;
- Sexual conduct, including the number and types of sexual partners and details of the first sexual partnership;
- Sexual ideology and attitudes regarding gender;
- Type of behavior (protective/risk);
- Condoms (knowledge, attitudes, use);
- Characteristics of the current or most recent sexual partner;
- Sexual and reproductive health services (knowledge, use, evaluation);
- Sexual and reproductive health outcomes; and
- Background characteristics (World Health Organization, 2016).
After all questionnaire data has been collected, the participants’ responses will be manually entered into a spreadsheet. To analyze the outcomes and measure intervention-associated changes, a combination of quantitative and qualitative instruments, namely rating scales and structuring the comments, will be used. Both of these methods have been used in scientific studies, and many researchers have utilized them in recent articles published in peer-reviewed academic journals (Streiner, Norman, & Cairney, 2014). Therefore, one can consider them to be suitable in the context of the proposed research.
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The data will be collected using a paper-and-pencil test instrument. Participants will be requested not to write any identifying markers on their questionnaires. Any type of identifying marker will invalidate the questionnaire. Baseline data will be collected prior to the intervention to evaluate the participants’ existing knowledge and attitudes towards sex and reproductive health. After the intervention, both groups will be requested to retake the test for the purpose of comparison.
Better Evaluation. (n.d.). Fishbowl technique. Web.
Harden, K. P. (2014). A sex-positive framework for research on adolescent sexuality. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 9(5), 455-469.
Streiner, D. L., Norman, G. R., & Cairney, J. (2014). Health measurement scales: A practical guide to their development and use. New York: Oxford University Press.
Trejos-Castillo, E., Treviño-Schafer, N., Brice, L., & McPherson, K. (2011). Teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections in youth: A community prevention evidence-based program in Texas, USA. Revista CES Psicología, 5(1), 25-38.
World Health Organization. (2016). Illustrative questionnaire for interview-surveys with young people. Web.