Data Collection Methodology
This quasi-experimental quantitative research will use convenience sampling to involve participants. A quasi-experimental design is common for nursing research and enables the observational study of some phenomena (Henly, 2016). The expected sample size is estimated at 200 people. Thus, the data collection method should be both times- and cost-saving to allow the researcher to obtain the necessary data from all the participants who agree to join the research and share their data.
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The survey will be applied as a tool for data collection in this research. Mothers with toddlers will be contacted within healthcare facilities and public places such as parks or entertainment centers. They will receive a leaflet providing basic general information concerning the research and will be asked to contact the researcher in case they consider it interesting and agree to participate. Those who express willingness to join the research sample will receive a questionnaire to complete. For this study, the questionnaire will investigate cause and effect (Scott & Mazhindu, 2014). Breastfeeding and formula feeding as the independent variables will be the cause while the occurrence of gastrointestinal complications and infections in toddlers as the dependent variable will be the effect.
The survey can be completed in diverse ways. The majority of respondents are expected to send survey answers through e-mail or complete it online via Google sheets. Moreover, the respondents can complete the printed versions of the questionnaire and send it via post or, finally, report the answers by the phone. The questionnaire will include multiple-choice and close-ended questions to save the time of the participants and provide quantitative data for the following statistical analysis. The availability of different ways of survey completion is likely to increase the response rate.
The data will cover the following points. First of all, demographic information will be gathered to empower further statistical analysis. Thus, mothers will mention the age of their child, sex, and race. Type of nutrition is one of the primary aspects of this research. Depending on this information, the respondents will be divided into two groups, those drinking human milk or formula during infancy. Duration of breastfeeding in case it was a prevalent nutrition source is also significant. If a baby was breastfed for at least half a year, he or she would belong to the first group. To assess the dependent variable, the occurrence of gastrointestinal complications and infections in toddlers has to be assessed.
The period of data collection will last for one month. During the first week, women with toddler children will be contacted within healthcare facilities and public places and provided with the information leaflet. During the second week, the participants are likely to contact the researcher and confirm their readiness to join the study. This stage can be shorter in case the necessary number of respondents proves their participation earlier than in a week. Finally, the participants will have two weeks to answer the questions and submit the questionnaire to the researcher.
To foster the data quality and thus to ensure the validity of the research, the following interventions can be implemented. First of all, the detailed instructions on how to complete the questionnaire have to be provided. Secondly, the sample has to be reliable and equally represent different groups (breastfed or fed with formula, male and female children). To achieve this equality in the final sample of 200 people, the group of mothers initially contacted has to be significantly larger. For example, if the response rate is estimated to be 50%, about 400 people should submit the questionnaire and, correspondently, over 800 women are supposed to be contacted and provided with the information leaflet.
The submitted questionnaires will be collected and analyzed. All the participants will be divided into two almost equal groups, those who preferred breastfeeding in infancy and those who used formula. The equality principle should be followed concerning the gender of children. After data are collected, they should be prepared for analysis (Suresh, 2014). In a quantitative study, preparation includes coding and scoring of data obtained through the survey. Scoring presupposes nominating a numerical value to data categories that will allow further analysis of the variables.
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Descriptive analysis of descriptive statistics can be used to represent the sample of the research. Descriptive statistics allows providing a summary of the collected data (Scott & Mazhindu, 2014). First of all, descriptive analyses will be used to represent the demographics of the sample and how it contributes to the research of the defined variables. Also, such typical descriptive statistics tools as percentages and proportions can be used to summarize the findings. Thus, the percentage of breastfed children compared to fed with formula will be presented. Also, percentages can be used to identify gender correlation within the sample. Equal gender representation is likely to contribute to the reliability of the obtained data because gastrointestinal complications and infections can depend on gender as well. Further on, the percentage can be used to compare the part of toddlers with gastroenterological disorders in every of two groups.
Apart from descriptive, bivariate statistics can be applied to analyses the research data. One of the methods suitable for the current research is the Chi-square test for association (Grove & Cipher, 2016). The Pearson Chi-square is defined as “an inferential statistical test calculated to examine differences among groups with variables measured at the nominal level” (Grove & Cipher, 2016, p. 212). As applied to the current research, Chi-square is likely to show if there is a statistically significant difference between two groups of toddlers drinking formula or human milk during infancy in the increase of the risk of gastrointestinal complications and infections. To apply Chi-square, it is necessary to define the categories carefully.
For the current research, the categories will be as follows. The first category will include toddlers who were drinking formula in infancy while the second category will comprise the toddlers whose mothers reported they were breastfed for at least six months after they were born. The categories to compare will be the presence of some gastrointestinal complications and infections in toddlers that were diagnosed. The null hypothesis for this analysis will be that there is no association and the variables are independent. After the categories are defined, the data can be put to the test. Chi-square value can be calculated in Excel or using specific calculators. After all, the P-value is calculated. It is necessary to accept or refuse the null hypothesis. In case P-value is less than the significance level (usually 0.05), the null hypothesis cannot be accepted because its probability is low. This statistics intervention would allow to prove or disapprove the hypothesis that there are certain effects of formula feeding in infancy on toddlers’ digestive system.
On the whole, the paper presents the scheme of an evidence-based practice project dedicated to the issue of infants’ nutrition and its impacts on the digestive system of toddlers. It is supposed that drinking formula as compared to drinking human milk influences the risks of gastrointestinal complications and infections in toddlers. Thus, the research is planned to discover this issue and provide evidence that supports or disapproves of the supposition. The project applies to family nursing practice because child care is one of the most important areas where family nurses’ recommendations are specifically valuable. The research addresses an important problem of infants’ nutrition and its impacts on the gastrointestinal outcomes. The qualitative design of the study contributes to its validity and allows to obtain data that can be statistically analyzed to provide evidence of impacts that nutrition has on the gastroenterological complications. The sampling method also contributes to the validity of the research. A sample of 200 respondents is enough for then research. Still, the selected method of convenience sampling can lead to some bias because the participants report data by themselves, and the researcher can only rely on their honesty.
Generally speaking, this project allowed me to apply both the knowledge of nursing issues and nursing research peculiarities. It provides an opportunity to apply statistical methods to support the null hypothesis. It is an experience that can be useful in future research work. Moreover, data interpreted with the use of statistical analysis are more reliable than purely descriptive or qualitative. On the whole, it is a good example of an EBP project that has practical value and can provide evidence to be implemented into nursing practice.
Grove, S.K. & Cipher, D.J. (2016). Statistics for nursing research: A workbook for evidence-based practice (2nd ed.). St. Louis, MR: Elsevier.
Henly, S. (Ed.). (2016). Routledge international handbook of advanced quantitative methods in nursing research. New York, NY: Routledge.
Scott, I., & Mazhindu, D. (2014). Statistics for healthcare professionals: An introduction (2nd ed.). London, UK: SAGE Publications.
Suresh, S. (2014). Nursing research and statistics (2nd ed.). New Delhi, India: Elsevier India Private.