ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS THEORY OF DEVELOPMENT

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CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS

INTRODUCTION

This chapter presents the research design and methods used to achieve the study purpose and objectives. The chapter begins with a description of the research setting, the design of the study, the population selected for the study, the sample and sampling procedures, data collection, measures taken to ensure trustworthiness as well as data analysis. The ethical considerations related to the study are discussed in the last section of the chapter.

THE RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

As indicated in chapter 1, the purpose of the study was to use appreciative inquiry to engage parents of adolescents in the design of interventions for preventing HIV transmission among adolescents in Swaziland. In order to achieve the purpose of the study the following objectives were formulated following the 4-D cycle of Appreciative Inquiry process
Describe the parents’ past exceptional experiences of parent-adolescent sexual health communication and HIV prevention.
Describe the parents’ dream of a desired future of an effective parent-adolescent sexual health communication and parental comfort with communication about sex and HIV prevention.
Describe parents-initiated interventions for the prevention of HIV transmission among adolescents
Describe the actions that parents plan for implementing the initiated interventions to prevent HIV transmission among adolescents.

THE RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The study attempted to answer the following research questions:
How do the parents describe their past exceptional experiences of parent-adolescent sexual health communication including HIV prevention?
What is the parents’ dream of a desired future of effective parent-adolescent sexual health communication and parental comfort with communication about sex and HIV prevention?
What are the parents-initiated interventions for the prevention of HIV transmission among adolescents
What actions do parents plan for implementing the initiated interventions to prevent HIV transmission among adolescents?

 RESEARCH DESIGN

The research design is an overall approach used to assimilate the different components of the study in a sound and clear manner that ensures that the research problem is adequately addressed. It constitutes the blueprint or an outline of the methods to be used throughout the process of identification of participants, data collection and analysis as well as measures to ensure quality of the study (Braun & Clarke 2013:42; Grove, Burns & Gray 2013: 214; Polit & Beck 2012:51). A well-developed research design clearly stipulates as much as possible the overall ideas or framework to be followed for obtaining answers to the research questions and for handling challenges that can undermine the study evidence (LoBiondo – Wood & Haber 2014:164). It therefore follows that, before developing a research design, the researcher needs to be clear about the research purpose and questions to guide the research design (Yin 2012). The design that was used to in the study in an effort to come up with plausible answers was participatory action research guided by Appreciative Inquiry.

Participatory action research

Participatory action research (PAR) is the design that focuses on research whose purpose is action, founded on the fact that participants are committed to share their views and experiences with openness (Bergold & Thomas 2012; Martin, Katopopo & Sudradjat 2015). In PAR, the purpose of the investigation and the research questions are formulated in conjunction with two standpoints, that of science and of practice. As of consequence both worldviews benefit from the research process. As noted by Israel, Schulz, Parker and Becker (1998) cited in Hudon, Loignon, Grabovsch, Bush, Lambert, Goulet, Boyer, De Laat, and Fournier (2016), PAR acknowledges that scientific knowledge is constructed socially hence the emphasis on the involvement of stakeholders in all the phases of the study. The same authors further explain that PAR is conducted with the directly affected persons by the issue of concern with a specific focus on the process, sustainability, capacity building and empowerment. PAR approach facilitates sustainability because the research participants themselves use the research outcomes (Jagosh, Macaulay, Pluye, Salsberg, Bush, Henderson, Sirett, Wong, Cargo, Herbert, Seifer, Green, Greenhalgh, 2012). In order to achieve better outcomes of the situation, what needs to be done has to be contextualised within the social parameters of the participants who are on day-to-day basis confronted by the situation and better understand the experience (MacDonald 2012). Taggart (2004) cited in Martin, Katopopo and Sudradjat (2015) point out that, in participatory research, all individuals have a good nature and a right to pursue their own change for sustainable development.
The methods used in PAR are geared towards planning and conducting research with those people whose life-world and meaningful actions are under study and the activities are carried out by the participants (Creswell, Eberson, Eloff, Ferreira, Ivankova, Jansen, Nieuwenhuis, Pietersen, Plano Clark & van der Westhizen 2015:136). The design enhances implementation of changes to improve a setting in the study area rather than aiming at coming up with theories (Edwards & Edwards, 2012). Using the participatory action research design helps to provide a dynamic space for redesigning information on social and family issues that impact on participants’ lives on a daily basis (McIntyre 2002 cited in MacDonald 2012). However, Halskoy and Hansen (2015) point out that the researchers’ meaning and application of participation differs. Appreciative inquiry was applied to involve all people (parents of adolescents) affected by the issue of concern (HIV prevention among adolescents) with a specific focus on change and empowerment, building on exceptional positive experiences of parent-adolescent sexual health communication to deal with a negative situation (Kelly 2010).
In participatory research researchers and participants reflect and use unfamiliar approaches that allow them to work as partners hence there is no power relationships but individuals equally strategies on the research process (Bergold & Thomas 2012) This is in line with AI, which seeks to bring about change through a wide range of involvement of individuals who are going to implement the envisaged change to ensure sustainability (Kessler 2013).
The characteristics of PAR are summarised as follows:
PAR is an orientation to inquiry, meaning that various research approaches (qualitative and quantitative) and paradigms can be applied (Cargo & Mercer 2008 in Jagosh et al 2012).
The focus of PAR is on change, and the researcher commits to work with individuals to improve and understand the world around them by changing (McIntyre, 2008). However, researchers may differ in terms of how much democracy to reduce inequality they would want to employ among the participants and also the extent of change they want to achieve.
PAR focuses on the needs of an individual group in their context, however the number of people may differ from small to large groups or community (Cargo & Mercer 2008 in Jagosh et al 2012).
Emphasis is on collaboration of researchers and participants working together to examine a problematic situation or action to change it for the better but the research outcomes are used by the research participants themselves (Jagosh et al 2012).

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 Appreciative inquiry

As indicated in chapter 1, appreciative inquiry was used to guide the study because both AI and PAR are mainly dependant on the commitment and collaboration of the two parties, namely the facilitators and participants, as equal participants to facilitate change (LoBiondo – Wood & Haber 2010: 115; Polit & Beck 2012: 509). In both AI and PAR, the emphasis is on active involvement of study participants in all the phases of a study to bring about change (Vollman, Anderson & Macfarlane 2004 as cited in Macdonald 2012). Furthermore, the participants should be the individuals who are going to implement the envisaged change to ensure sustainability (Kessler 2013).
The researcher facilitated AI by involving the participants in the typical activities of the AI process described in chapter 2, namely collection of positive stories, peer interviewing, positive topic statement, structured model 4-D, motivating vision of the future, theme creation and action plans. Appreciative inquiry revolves around qualitative research.
Qualitative research is a systematic, subjective form of inquiry used by researchers to obtain information on human experience, perceptions, motivations, beliefs, opinions, intentions, values and behaviour. The major aim of qualitative research is to is to understand the phenomenon deeply and thoroughly as it occurs naturally in the real world according to the context of the individuals that experience it (Grove, Burns & Gray, 2013:20; Polit & Beck 2012:120). Furthermore, qualitative researchers have the notion that there are complexities in finding the truth because it is complex and dynamic and can only be found by studying people as they interact with and in their social setting.
Qualitative research aims for deeper understanding of people’s perceptions, opinions, feelings, beliefs and values. It is especially useful for providing a platform for people who have no history and excluded to have a ‘voice’ on issues that concern them. It is the researcher’s belief that this approach provided parents of adolescents a “voice” on an important issue of HIV prevention among adolescents by describing their exceptional experiences of parent-adolescent sexual health communication including what they believed to be appropriate interventions for HIV prevention among adolescents.
A summary of the characteristics of qualitative research is presented in the paragraphs that follow (Botma et al 2010; Burns & Grove 2011:20; Creswell, 2009:175-177; Kumar, 2011:13, 20,104; Leedy & Ormrod 2010:94-97; LoBiondo-Wood & Haber 2010: 131; Polit & Beck 2012: 556; Brink, van der Walt & van Rensburg 2012:120).
Qualitative research is an inquiry focusing on in-depth understanding of human experience, perceptions, motivations, intentions, behaviour and in search for meaning, namely how people try to make sense of their lives. It relies on methods that allow the researcher into the personal and private world of participants using flexible, creative and varied strategies.
The advantage of qualitative research is that it is unique because it is personal, rich and in – depth views of the respondents, which are not amenable to scientific criteria. It draws on spontaneous and varied data collection approaches such as one – one interviews, focus group discussions, observations, and the analysis of audio and video recordings, documents as well as diaries. While quantitative studies are concerned with statistics qualitative studies focus on narratives and small samples, which are often purposively selected. Small sample sizes are commonly used given that population representation is not an issue considered in qualitative studies.
In qualitative research classrooms, schools or sports fields are usually used to conduct research as they qualify to be natural settings.
Qualitative researchers rather than using counts and numbers they use words to describe a phenomenon.
Researchers in qualitative research are more concerned about the process than the product.
It is often based on inductive logic: going from the specific to the general.
Qualitative research is often criticised because methods used have not been shown to be valid and reliable (Parahoo 2006 in Chauke 2014).
Exploratory-descriptive design: The aim of AI is exploration and discovery. Exploratory designs assist researchers not only to observe and describe the phenomenon but to go a little further to discover the holistic nature of the phenomena under study (Polit & Beck 2012: 18; Saunders, Louis & Thornhill 2016: 174). The same authors point out that exploration allows the assessment of possible factors linked to the issue of concern especially those issues with little or no information, for example, how parents use their role in preventing HIV among adolescents. The researcher believed that the parents’ role in HIV prevention among adolescents was obscure and little information was known about it hence the need for exploration. Exploration was also used in this study to enhance the clarification of concepts pertinent to the research topic by means of extensive literature review.
The aim of descriptive studies is to describe, in detail, some process, event or outcome and document the characteristics of the study participants. Research questions that start with “what” and “why” generally indicate a descriptive study. Descriptive studies are often exploratory; which means the researcher suspects a phenomenon or event exists and he or she is set out to confirm those suspicions (Houser 2015: 138). Through descriptive research, investigators examine, gather detailed data on the existing phenomenon and discover new information necessary to increase the body of knowledge (Burns & Grove 2011:61). The information does not only increase body of knowledge but influence development of plans to be used in improving the lives of individuals through prevention and promotion of health.

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RESEARCH CONTEXT

Contextual research is described as one in which the phenomenon under investigation is studied in terms of its intrinsic and immediate environment or contextual significance. According to Polit & Beck (2012:743), the physical place where the study is conducted is contextualised not only according to the environment but also the situation or condition in which data collection takes place. It can take two forms; it can either be controlled (laboratory setting) or natural. Natural settings are real-life study environments without any changes made for the purpose of the study. The study was conducted in a natural environment, in the community setting at two high schools (one private and one public high school) in the Manzini city of Swaziland. The two (2), out of seventeen (17) high schools in Manzini were purposively selected, based on their collaboration with the Manzini Municipal HIV team.
Manzini city is centrally located in Swaziland and has a hive of activities and high social interactions including sexual relationships that have an impact on HIV and AIDS. According to the Swaziland Ministry of health (2017), the HIV prevalence in Manzini among persons aged 15 years and above was estimated to be 27.3%. However, the report does not provide figures for adolescent age groups, which is the target group for this study.

CHAPTER 1  ORIENTATION TO THE STUDY
1.1 INTRODUCTION
1.2 BACKGROUND TO THE RESEARCH PROBLEM
1.3 PROBLEM STATEMENT
1.4 AIM/PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
1.5. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
1.6. KEY CONCEPTS
1.7. THEORETICAL FOUNDATIONS OF THE STUDY
1.8 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
1.9 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
1.10 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
1.11 STRUCTURE OF THE THESIS
1.12. CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 2  THEORETICAL FOUNDATIONS
2.1 INTRODUCTION
2.2 ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS THEORY OF DEVELOPMENT
2.3 APPRECIATIVE INQUIRY (AI)
2.4 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 3  RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
3.1 INTRODUCTION
3.2 THE RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
3.3 THE RESEARCH QUESTIONS
3.4 RESEARCH DESIGN
3.5 RESEARCH CONTEXT
3.6 RESEARCH METHODS
3.7 TRUSTWORTHINESS
3.8 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
CHAPTER 4  ANALYSIS, PRESENTATION AND DESCRIPTION OF RESEARCH FINDINGS 
4.1 INTRODUCTION
4.2 DATA MANAGEMENT AND ANALYSIS
4.3 RESEARCH FINDINGS
4.4 RESEARCH FINDINGS
4.5 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 5  PARENTS-INITIATED INTERVENTIONS TO PREVENT HIV TRANSMISSION  AMONG ADOLESCENTS
5.1 INTRODUCTION
5.2 PARENTS-INITIATED INTERVENTIONS TO PREVENT HIV AMONG ADOLESCENTS
5.3 SUMMARY OF PARENTS-INITIATED INTERVENTIONS TO PREVENT HIV AMONG ADOLESCENTS IN SWAZILAND
5.4 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 6  CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
6.1 INTRODUCTION
6.2 RESEARCH METHODS
6.3 SUMMARY OF RESEARCH FINDINGS
6.4 Parents’ initiated interventions to prevent transmission of HIV among adolescents.
6.5 CONCLUSIONS
6.6 RECOMMENDATIONS
6.7 CONTRIBUTION OF THE STUDY
6.8 STRENGTHS AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
6.9 CONCLUDING REMARKS
LIST OF REFERENCES
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