Scientists in various countries conduct different research projects to find out the types of behavior that affect people’s health. The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study is one of such projects. While it has some limitations due to the specific choice of the study group, the research can offer answers to some of the most discussed medical questions, as well as shape the way individuals will act on a daily basis in the future.
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Results and Implementation
Nowadays, the importance of healthy living is promoted so much that some might even find it pressuring. Numerous fitness gyms, healthy food products, and sports outfits have filled every corner of the modern commerce. The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study appears to be a major force, which has offered the claims that tobacco smoking and consuming food high on fat could be damaging to the body (Bennett, Briggs, and Triola 44). However, as the study aims to start the third wave (“Home” para.1), it may appear that these modern trends have little to do with the real healthy living. The most important results of the next 10-20 years could show that the regular comparison with the conventional body image is likely to lead to psychological issues such as depression and eating disorders. In my opinion, these results will make people believe that healthy life does not require such a huge sacrifice, leading to more comfortable daily habits such as a wider choice of food and leisure. People who are less focused on their physical state are more likely to be efficient at work and satisfied by its results.
Observation vs. Experiment
The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study is clearly the observation. Scientists did not divide the researched audience into groups, which could be put into specific conditions. For instance, they could make a division according to the age and the income rate and ask those groups to follow different behavior patterns. However, the study was designed to collect data as it was, embracing the whole unstructured variety of habits and their outcomes. Taken into consideration the complexity and the long term of the research, it could not be conducted as an experiment since it would be practically impossible for the studied audience to live in the predetermined conditions for several decades. Moreover, it would imply some ethical issues, as people should have the possibility to make free choices for their lives.
The discussed study is subject to some limitations as only about one-third of the total number of questionnaires were returned. This method always includes some percentage of inaccurate data, as interviewees may respond falsely to questions they are not comfortable with. However, since all of the respondents took up the process voluntarily, the researchers should not be worried about this point as much as about the fact that their target audience was very specific.
The initial research question was to study the effect of the oral contraceptives, which put females as the only target audience of this study. Moreover, all of the respondents were nurses, which created a situation where all the group had the similar living pattern like an unregular eating, an increased level of stress, and limited financing typical for this job. As the research was growing, other health issues were discussed. However, male bodies function differently due to the hormonal level. Thus, the results can be considered accurate only for the half of the population.
Bennett, Jeffrey O., William L. Briggs, and Mario F. Triola. Statistical Reasoning for Everyday Life. 4th ed., Pearson, 2015.
“Home.” Nurses’ Health Study, Web.
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