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Waste Management in Acres Homes of Houston, Texas


The research findings suggest illegal dumping is detrimental to the ecosystems and the biodiversity, implying it affects life. The Houston community has no option other than adopting the radical measures proposed, which include recycling of the waste products, dumping the waste products in accordance to the set laws and regulations, and finally shifting to the alternative sources of energy. The social worker should find ways of bringing together various societal members, including leaders of formal and informal organizations, the business community, and other important stakeholders especially the youth if the solutions suggested are to be implemented effectively (Kangalawe, & Lyimo, 2010). This has never been an easy task because various social groups have varying interests since the issues at hand affect them directly.

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Defining the Research Question

A clean environment facilitates survival because pollution is likely to result in various diseases. Setting up a program to clean the neighbourhoods will bring down the rate of pollution, preserve the ecosystem, ensure the protection of endangered species, and conserve the most important resources, such as air, water, and land. All forms of life on earth rely heavily on the biodiversity and ecosystems hence cleaning up the environment ensure their protection. The major challenge facing the planet in the 21st century is climate change, and dumping is the major contributing factor given the fact it leads to pollution. Scientific data indicate that the earth’s temperature is rising, something that has consequently interfered with the weather changes and the climate. Based on these, heavy rains experienced frequently leads to floods, extreme heatwaves, prolonged drought, melting ice, and the rising of sea levels (MacDonald, 2010). Dumping of trash is responsible for the emission of toxic gases and unprecedented pollution of air, land, and water. The pollutants affect the quality life since they interfere with health, with records showing that they cause serious health conditions and diseases, including cholera, heart diseases, cancer, cystic fibrosis, eye infections, and other respiratory diseases. On the other hand, dangerous gases emitted in the environment are likely to increase the mortality rates, which is costly to the economy.

Therefore, cleaning of trash and ensuring appropriate dumping of waste products is a major step towards conserving the environment. Sensitization of members of the community on the importance of reducing the toxic materials, conserving water and energy, proper disposal of garbage, and recycling of used products is critical (Konikow, 2011). This proposal suggests ways of cleaning up trash and maintaining hygiene in the dumpsites to reduce carbon gases emission known to cause various diseases.

Developing the Research Method

This chapter focuses on various aspects of the process of development of the proposal including methods of data collection, analysis and presentation. Every proposal applies a certain research method to achieve its objectives depending on its goals. The methods used to research this proposal will compare closely with the methods utilized in the research project. In research, design deals primarily with aims, uses, purposes, intentions, and plans within the practical constraints of time, location, money, and availability of staff. The proposal uses positivism as the philosophical paradigm, meaning it relies on unbiased observation as a source of scientific information. This paradigm assumes the observer, in this case, the researcher, is separate and removed from the issues under observation. The research design following the philosophy sets to define general trends in the sample observed from the entire population (Agee, 2009). The proposal, therefore, predisposes to report on major common elements of the population resulting in the generalization of the findings across the entire population.

This section aims to provide information on how to conduct the study and the rationale behind employing the discussed methodologies and techniques aimed at augmenting the study’s validity. In addition to describing the research design, the theoretical framework, the population, and the sample size that will be used in this study, this section will also elaborate on instrumentation and data-collection techniques, validity and reliability, data analysis, and pertinent ethical issues that may emerge in the course of undertaking this study (Hesse-Biber, 2010).

The reason for choosing this approach as compared to other credible research approaches is that it maximizes the ability to get as much data as possible most reliably and efficiently. By utilizing interviews, the researcher is in a better position to obtain the views and opinions of residents regarding the impact of environmental pollution on their lives. The proposal could have relied almost entirely on academic literature and online databases to examine the impact of dumping on the community. However, the fact remains that utilizing questionnaires through directly interviewing people is the most appropriate method to obtain firsthand accounts of the impact of people’s experiences. This is because local citizens would be better sources of data since they are the ones affected directly by appropriate/inappropriate practices as far as environmental pollution is concerned. As such, they would be able to give firsthand accounts regarding their personal experiences. This approach should prove to be invaluable since the data collected is from the direct perspective of council members, residents, and the wider business community (Anderson, 2004).

This methodology exposes the participants to an assortment of risks that need to be taken into consideration during the research process. The main risk the participants will encounter is if any of their answers that criticize or indicate dissatisfaction with environmental malpractices leaks. This may have consequences on the attitude and opinion of government institutions and officials toward them and could result in victimization. To eliminate this risk, the researcher has to keep the responses in an undisclosed location. The only way to access information will be through a procedure that will involve the researcher. The project thus observes research ethics in sampling, as well as during the data-collection process (Bradley, Curry, & Devers, 2007).

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Gathering the Data

There are two key methods used to gather information used in the proposal. The first one is the use of a questionnaire administered online to the various categories of citizens in the community, including residents, leaders, and business persons. The questionnaire seeks to capture various elements of the attitudes of community members towards environmental degradation generated through dumping of trash. The second source of information used for the research is literature on various aspects of environmental conservation and climate change. The focus of the literature review is to find information on the application of best practices in conserving the environment (Hakim, 2000). The questionnaire has four Parts. The first part seeks to capture the biodata of the respondents. The second part deals with the demography and gender of the respondent. This is to ascertain the prevalence of the views in various categories to ensure that if any differences come about, then they will be captured in their demographic space. The third part deals with academic credentials and work experience. The motivation for this section comes from the understanding that different sections of the population respond differently to motivators based on age and academic credentials. The fourth part delves into the specific issues relating to dumping of trash and its effects, starting from the understanding of the concept to the possible effects it would have on the community members. The questionnaire also employs a mix of open-ended and closed questions to capture different aspects of the issues studied according to the degree of detail required.

The use of the questionnaire makes it possible to capture the issues unique to the Houston community. This is because there is no accessible literature with the required degree of relevance to the subject matter about the Houston community. The targeted members of the community will respond to the questionnaire online. The availability of the researched influenced the choice of this method because they conduct their everyday activities throughout. Therefore it is not possible at any one time to find all of them in one place. An online questionnaire reduces the costs of data collection, assures confidentiality, and is available throughout for the sampled population for a fixed period (Hunter, & Leahey, 2008). After collection, data will go through analysis, leading to the observations and conclusions discussed in the last section.

The most applicable sampling method for this exercise is random sampling. Considering that the targeted population consists of communal members serving in various social positions, there is no much risk of having biased data. If the survey needed to cover the entire community, then systematic sampling coupled with stratified sampling, it would be ideal to ensure cross-sectional representation. However, this survey targets the policymakers, leaders, and concerned community members only hence random sampling proves sufficient to collect the required data.

Secondary data for analysis in this project will come from various publications. These include reports, journal articles, and research publications. Most of the data is related to the works of other researchers in the field of environmental conservation. The other area where the literature review covers include the theories of climate change and the application of environmental conservation strategies in solving the dumping problems. The nature of the material used varies. Journals dealing with specific aspects of motivation provide specific information on specific research elements investigated. Some reports from intergovernmental organizations prove useful in providing information on climate change and environmental conservation. From these sources, several findings will come to the fore.

The online questionnaire provides the means for the collection of primary data for this project. The survey covers fifteen members from the three categories, including concerned citizens, leaders, and businesspersons. This sample is representative of the community targeted by the survey in Houston. The choice of respondents was by random sampling, based on the individual’s willingness to participate. The questionnaire has a mix of open-ended and closed-ended questions (Marczyk, DeMatteo, & Festinger, 2010). This design makes it possible to provide as much detail as possible while eliminating the risk of high variance in the responses. The administration of the questionnaires will take place online because of the varying working hours. Also, it eases access to the questionnaire. After filing in the soft copy, the respondents should send it to a designated email address. This measure results in immense cost reduction cutting on transport and accommodation expenses occasioned by physical administration of questionnaires. Moreover, it saves research time because it is easy to transfer the information from a soft copy to the analysis software. Finally, it does not generate any paper waste, hence contributing to environmental conservation.

Analyzing the Data

The data-analysis program known as SPSS for Windows, will be used for purposes of analyzing the quantitative data. The basic initial steps will include data coding, entry, cleaning, analyses, and interpretation. Univariate analyses aimed at generating frequency distributions and descriptive analyses will be used to compare the various variables. The data resulting from the frequency distributions will be further harnessed and presented using pie charts, tables, and bar graphs to present the needed data for this study more succinctly (Jeábek, & Lazarsfeld, 2001). The data from the study will also be analyzed using t-tests and ANOVA to determine any correlations on environmental pollution and health. The researcher will conduct hierarchical multiple regression analysis with social conditions acting as the moderator.

Reporting and acting on the Research Results/solution

The researcher has various options of circulating information to the community members. One of them pertains to handing over the report to the communal centres situated in various places within the community whereby anyone interested in reading the report will simply have to check the information boards with the help of the social worker. Since many people in the community are affiliated to certain religious organizations, sending the report to the church leaders and requesting them to share with the community is an additional way of ensuring people access the information. In this regard, the researcher will have to develop brochures, which might be costly and time-consuming. Based on this, publishing the report in the local journal is the most effective way of ensuring the community access the much-needed information as far as dumping, and its associated costs are concerned. Alternatively, the researcher might go on to prepare flyers and distribute them to the community centres where members will pick their copies. The option of using the media will be explored since this will enable various communal members to access the information.

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The business community will want to continue dumping the waste products for their industries to succeed. At the same time, some leaders will have opposing views on the suggested strategies because of the insufficient resources. In this case, the social worker might be forced to organize for a forum in partnership with the community-based organizations, as well as the local councils. The issue of environmental pollution affects each person, but the suggested solutions generated through research are hard to implement because they are likely to interfere with economic development (Karamanos, 2001). If a lasting solution is to be established, all stakeholders should be included in implementing the strategies. Additionally, the culture of the community has to be observed keenly to avoid destabilizing the citizens with the radical measures that contravene their ways of living.


Agee, J. (2009). Developing qualitative research questions: a reflective process. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education (QSE), 22(4), 431 447

Anderson, V. (2004). Research Methods in Human Resource Management (Illustrated ed.). London: Chattered institute of Personell Management Publishing.

Bradley, E., Curry, L.A., & Devers, K.J. (2007). Qualitative Data Analysis for Health Services Research: Developing Taxonomy, Themes, and Theory” Health Service Research, 42(4), 1758–1772.

Hakim, C. (2000). Research Design: Sucessful Designs for Social and Economic Research (2nd Edition ed.). New York, NY: Routledge

Hesse-Biber, S. (2010). Emerging methodologies and methods practices in the field of mixed methods research. Qualitative Inquiry, 16(6), 415-418.

Hunter, L., & Leahey, E. (2008). Collaborative Research in Sociology: Trends and Contributing Factors. The American Sociologist, 39(4), 290-301.

Jeábek, H., & Lazarsfeld, P. (2001). The Founder of Modern Empirical Sociology: A Research Biography. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 13(229), 21-47.

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Kangalawe, R. & Lyimo, J. (2010). Population dynamics, rural livelihoods and environmental degradation: some experiences from Tanzania. Environment, Development & Sustainability, 12(6), 985-997.

Karamanos, P. (2001). Voluntary Environmental Agreements: Evolution and Definition of a New Environmental Policy Approach. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 44(1), 67-67.

Konikow, L.F. (2011). Contribution of Global Groundwater Depletion since 1990 to Sea-level Rise. Geophysical Research Letters, 38(17), 23-45.

MacDonald, G.M. (2010). Water, Climate Change, and Sustainability in the Southwest. PNAS, 107(50), 56-62

Marczyk, G. R., DeMatteo, D., & Festinger, D. (2010). Essentials of Research Design and Methodology. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons.

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