02 Mar 2010

Sample Essay: Article Critique

Introduction

According to Melissa and Jessica, this is a study carried to provide a picture on gender differences in mate poaching. The study had various questions all aimed at getting the feelings of different people (of different age and liking) on interests that may affect their pursuant to relationships. The study was conducted on participants from Oklahoma State University. In writing the report findings, the researchers review different authors on the subject to ensure that it has the required scientific rigor. Further, adequate literature review enables readers to have confidence in the findings and also it allows others to reference the materials without doubt.

Independent Variable(s) used in the Study

The independent variable is like the explanatory variable(s) in any research study and its outcomes does not depend on any other variable(s). In this research study, the independent variable is gender (Females and Males). In this case, the relationship status will be compared for both women and men. The comparison is done using graphs, Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and measures of dispersion (e.g. standard deviation).

Dependent variable(s) used in the study ‘relationship status-single or attached) and qualities of the ideal romantic partner. The relationship status and the qualities of the romantic partner depend depends on the gender of the respondent. This can further be ascertained by the literature review. The dependent variables show the comparisons of men and women. Further, one variable, like relationship status, is controlled for the other variable, qualities of ideal romantic partner, and vice versa. The differences in both men and women are then determined using one explanatory variable holding the other constant.

Sampling used to gather Subject

Sampling is one of the areas the research work has faltered. In this research study, there is no indication of any sampling done prior to the research work. In this case, a sample of 184 participants was used and was made up of 97 women and 87 men. For an ideal research study in which the results are meet the expectations of a research study, the sample needs to be representative of the entire population. A quality scientific research work has no room for biasness. In such a case, the population needs to be stratified (subdivided into non-overlapping subgroups-strata), for example, by departments (or faculties) since the population is not homogenous where a simple random sample will be carried out as is the case. Stratification involves putting together elements with same (almost) traits together and then picking a simple random sample from each stratum.

Further, there is no indication of the total population in Oklahoma State University as this would have guided in the calculation of the sample size using the formula; n = N / (1+N (e2)). Where ‘n’ is the sample size, ‘N’ is the population size and ‘e’ is the expected error (error on the bound of estimation) which in is 5% in most cases. Once the sample size is determined, then a sample for each stratum is calculated using the formula shown; nk = (Nk / N ) * n; where ‘nk’ is the  sample size for stratum ‘K’, ‘Nk’ is the population size for stratum ‘K’, ‘N’ is total population size, and n is total sample size using the first formula. These formulas would have resulted into the sample size which will mostly represent the entire population without bias.

In any research study, there is need to carryout what is called an understanding of the sample size by administering free consent forms to the participants. This ensures that all participants are aware of the benefits involved and also the understanding that participation is by free consent. This is done mainly to ensure that there is no subject loss which is expensive to the researcher in addition to affecting the precision. In this research study, this is not available.

Reliability of Study

There are quite a number of aspects which makes a research study un-reliable and they include. Withholding some results from the research report findings, reporting findings as though they represent the true feelings on the ground, paying participants to receive positive research results and getting funding from an organization to carry out a research on their behalf with some biasness.

Withholding research findings is all about only reporting the positive ones is shelving the negative ones. Further, generalizing research findings as though to represent the entire population using a smaller sample is not ethical as the findings may be far much different if a larger sample is used. In addition, to pay participants to respond in such a way is against research ethics teachings of free consent and protection of vulnerable groups. Further, for any research to have the required reliability, there is need for a deeper understanding of who did it, why it was done and may be who paid for it to be conducted, may be he/she did it for money.

In this case, the research findings may not be reliable since it was conducted without a mention of the total population in the University which would affect the final sample size. A sample size of 184, although large, may not be large if the total population is taken into consideration. All the other aspects have been taken care of.

Validity of Study

For a research work to be valid, the participants need to be selected at random. Randomness reduces incidences of serial correlation which affects precision and the final research results. Further, randomness minimizes biasness which leads to skewed results. In this case, there is no indication of randomness. Further, there is need to understand whether the research work is double blind in that, the researcher and the participants do not understand what is under study. In this research study, it is evident that the researcher is aware of what is required. Again, a research is valid if it compares its findings and literature with other research works in the same field (topic). There also the need to study interaction effect between the explanatory variables and it significance to the overall research findings.

Reference

Melissa, B and Jessica, P (2009). Who’s Chasing Whom? The Impact of Gender and Relationship Status on Mate Poaching. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, No. (45) pp. 1016-1019

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07 Feb 2010

Sample Essay: Critical Thinking on a Mental Health Article

“Time Trends in Autism and in MMR Immunization Coverage in California” an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association written by Loring Dales, MD; Sandra Jo Hammer, RN,PHN; Natalie J. Smith, MD,MPH discuss the correlation of the vaccine MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) and the onset of Autism in children from 1980 to 1994.  This study was conducted in response to the belief that immunizations in general and the MMR immunization specifically is the central cause to the increase of the mental health disorder of Autism.

The study looked at the Kindergarten students in California that were born between 1980 and 1994 and their immunization records.  The immunization that was focused on was the MMR and it was given between 17 and 24 months of age.  The number of immunizations were tracked and compared to the number of children diagnosed with Autism and found that there were 44 cases of autism per 100,000 in 1980 and 208 cases of autism per 100,000 in 1994.

The authors of the study state the largest drawback to their study was not being able to talk to the students or their families to determine other factors that may have had an impact on the cause of the autism.  Concerns also about the heredity factor of the disorder were mentioned in the article.  These were all the elements that they were not privy to or able to investigate.  This writer agrees that the information is simply not known by the authors and could have a huge impact in their ability to make a solid conclusion with the collateral information.

Information is also lacking about the sex of the children being reviewed.  Concerns about the sex of the children should have been addressed.  The percentage of males with a mental health diagnosis of autism is higher than the female population.  One simply must question whether or not the numbers of females included in the statistics caused a faulty result of conclusion.  This is an area of concern as the conclusion of MMR immunizations not causing an increase of mental health diagnosis of autism in children from the years of 1980 to 1994.

Dr. Stephen Barrett, who operates the Quackwatch website that will address medical issues to determine if it is a legitimate medical conclusion and is supported by many other medical professionals in the particular field of medicine being discussed.  Dr. Barrett has looked into the claim that autism is caused by vaccines and all vaccines should be discontinued in children.  Dr. Barrett supports his conclusion that immunizations as a whole and MMR specifically does not cause autism to develop in children.  Dr. Barrett’s article included studies which looked into the children’s medical history far more deeply than the study by Dales et al.  This supported the Dales et al conclusion by bringing evidence that has been missing in the first study.

The Immunization Safety Review Committee published a report of their studies and their conclusion also indicated that there is no correlation between the immunizations specifically the MMR vaccine and the occurrence of autism.  While this could certainly be a non-surprising conclusion of a study conducted by an immunization safety review committee; however, the findings in their study also supported the findings of the other two studies listed in this paper.  Each one brings another component to the original study that adds support and validity to the conclusion that would otherwise be questioned for the lacking elements.

A point that all three articles make that is extremely crucial in the findings of the lack of cases of autism being recorded.  What this mean is simply, there were millions of MMR vaccines given to both male and female children during these years and in 1980 only 44 cases were found in this study.  In 1994 there was only 208 recorded in this study.  If the MMR vaccine was the cause of the increase in autism, the numbers would have been substantially higher.

What this tells the researchers in all the studies is the cause of the onset of autism is not the MMR vaccine.  The reason for the belief of MMR immunizations causing autism is the time frame the immunization is given.  It is given between 17 and 24 months.  Additional studies have been conducted and referenced in Dales et al and Dr. Barrett articles of other causes of the onset of autism.  One fact that was mentioned numerous times is the age in which autism often manifests itself in outward symptoms parents are able to notice as something different or wrong with their child.  The abilities the child had been developing during their first year to year and a half begin to decline.  This time frame is also the time frame of the MMR immunizations.  However, the studies point out that even in children who did not have the MMR immunizations between the ages of 17 months to 24 months began demonstrating the symptoms of autism.

This was crucial in their findings that MMR does not cause autism or autistic symptoms to begin to manifest themselves.  It is unfortunate that the symptoms begin to manifest themselves after the child had shown great promise in their lives, but the MMR immunization is not the cause. Parents with children who have been diagnosed with autism are faced with a lifetime of struggles for themselves and their children.  While the MMR immunization is not the cause, nor the absence of the vaccine the cure for autism, this article demonstrates the need for finding the cause and possible cure or vastly more successful treatment for this disorder.  This writer believes that by ruling out one cause will enable the researchers to move forward to find the cause.  Causing ones child to face the risk of a serious disease simply due to the belief of it causing autism is tantamount to child abuse.

References

Barrett, Dr. Stephen. “Misconceptions about Immunization, Misconception #9:Vaccines Cause Autism” Quackwatch, Your Guide to Quackery, Health Fraud, and Intelligent Decisions. Accessed October 19, 2009. http://www.quackwatch.com/03HealthPromotion/immu/autism.html.

Dales, MD Loring; Hammer,  RN, PHN Sandra Jo; Smith, MD, MPH Natalie. “Time Trends in Autism and in MMR Immunization Coverage in California”. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2001: 285:1183-1185. Accessed on October 19, 2009.  http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/285/9/1183.

Immunization Safety Review Committee.  “Immunization Safety Review: Vaccines and Autism

Released”. May 14, 2004. Accessed on October 19, 2009. Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice. http://www.iom.edu/en/Reports/2004/Immunization-Safety-Review-Vaccines-and-Autism.aspx.

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01 Feb 2010

Sample Essay: Morality, Self- Control, And Crime

1.In the study entitled “Morality, Self-Control, and Crime,” the researchers aim to establish that the Self-Control Theory in association with morality is an effective predictor of criminal probability.  Previous studies in the past have established that self-control is a deterrence to deviant behavior.  Self-control is defined as the person’s capacity to avoid certain acts whose long-term implication could prove a disadvantage.  In some people, self-control is strong while others have weaker tendencies to avoid acts that go against the norms of society (Gottfredson, 2007).  The researchers want to affirm the universality of this assertion by applying the theory from a sample data from Lviv, Ukraine, a place in Europe that was previously under the rule of communist Soviet.  The researchers have chosen this place because of its economically evolving society.

Aside from studying the effect of self-control on people’s probable misconduct, the researchers have inserted another factor in the equation and to test whether this second factor has a stronger impact on crime compared to self-control.  They want to determine whether the morality of a person has any relation to his self-control as well as the indicators of crime.

Self-control theorists have placed it as the strongest factor keeping people from crime.  In recent years, moralists start to assert that morality is central to deterring crime. The researchers would want to know if there is an interrelation between these two factors.  They assume that people who lack moral principles have also low self control and are likely to commit criminal behavior, while those with strong moral convictions have also strong self control and are the least likely to commit deviant behavior.

2. The independent variables in this study are self-control and morality.  Self-control is an inherent attribute in some people while others have to consciously practice in order to acquire this characteristic.  In this study, self-control is an independent variable since it is one of the factors measured among the respondents that does not change (Cool-Science-Projects.com, n.d.).  Instead, the person’s responses to different situations vary depending on his self-control.  Morality is also an independent variable because like self-control, it will not change a person’s tendency to commit or not to commit crime or misconduct.  Both of these factors are used from a cognitive perspective.

The dependent variable in this study is crime because the performance of a deviant behavior will depend on the person’s morality and self-control (Cool-Science-Projects.com, n.d.).  Since crime covers a wide spectrum, the researchers limited this to seven force and fraud offenses and the participants’ likely performance of these identified crimes.  The changes in these variables are measured and correlated with the respondents’ morality and self-control.  In order to get a more meaningful result, the researchers have introduced five control variables.  These are gender, age, intactness of the family of origin during childhood, perceived family economic status during childhood, and childhood religiosity.  These control variable are necessary to avoid getting results from respondents coming from a widely varied personal background.

3.In order to obtain the data for analyzing the correlation among crime, self-control and morality, the researchers used a face-to-face interview method with 500 pre-qualified adults.  The adults in this study are chosen randomly using a specially designed selection process.  The design of this research calls for this kind of method in order to obtain the most accurate and relevant information (Trochim, 2006).  The selection of the respondents as well as the actual data collection were made by a professional survey organization that is based in Ukraine.

To find the eligible respondents for this survey, each must qualify in a two-stage sampling procedure.  The first requirement is for the person to live in first street routes in one of the six districts randomly chosen for the study.  Then, from among the households located on those identified districts, 70 percent from the number is used to draw 150 of the samples.  The rest of the 500 samples are chosen as random replacements.

After the face-to-face interview, each respondent is to answer a list of questions that are considered sensitive in nature, such as, past misconducts and moral feelings.

Although the respondents were not forced to join the study, they were given a monetary compensation for their participation.

4. The researchers’ review of prior literature is divided into two sub-sections.  The first one focuses on previous studies showing how self-control figures in people’s performance of crime. Reviewing literature related to self-control and crime at the start of the study is appropriate in order to establish how trends in recent years have made social scientists began to look for other factors in determining why people commit crime.  While it is generally accepted that crime is somehow caused by low self-control, this study’s review of literature has only drawn on some self-control studies and generalized their conclusions about its impact on criminality.  The researchers only mentioned those that are conducted in more recent years in order to make the data applicable to the present time.

The section discussing self-control studies is comparatively shorter compared to the section on morality.  The researchers have explained early on that one of the important goals of this study is to establish the role of morality in crime.  Since self-control has been widely studied, the researchers chose to focus more on morality.  In trying to probe how morality could impact the person’s actions, the researchers attempted to validate Wikstrom’s 2006 study that concludes morality is the basic factor in acts of crime.  Most of this section expounds on the different arguments that Wikstrom has presented to support his claim particularly on the validity of the Situational Action Theory, which makes weak morality, in opposition to self-control, as the most important factor in crimes.

Overall, the literature review is somewhat limited but nonetheless, they are adequate to provide a significant background why the present study is important.

5.Based on research findings, the researchers believed that there is greater evidence supporting weak morality as a determinant of criminality compared to self-control.  The research also confirmed that self-control is a factor that contributes to people committing deviant behavior.  However, the researchers also did not find a strong correlation between self-control and morality.  Each factor is independent of one another.  Because of this weak correlation, a contention now exists on what factor is stronger in pushing an individual towards an action that is considered wrong by society.

Self-control theorists have proven many times in the past that this factor is the underlying reason why criminality is rampant in the world.  For many years, this belief has been widely accepted until such time that new studies show the possibility of another factor being more powerful than self-control.  With the creation of the Situational Action Theory, social scientists would have to conduct further studies to determine which of the two could claim to be at the root of the problem.

6.This research cannot be generalized for several reasons.  Weak morality as the root of crime is a new concept that needs to be further validated by additional studies across all cultures in different parts of the world.  The researchers have explained that their focus is the city of Lviv because of the changing dynamics of a culture that has recently emerged from socialism to embrace capitalist ideas and ideals.  Being the case, it should be noted that the Lviv case is unique and does not represent many cultures around the world.  It could be applicable to other countries experiencing the same changes, like many countries in Eastern Europe.  But for other countries with a more stable environment, like those in the West, the results could changed significantly.  The same dynamics are not true for the more stable capitalist states whose populace’s morality and self-control are governed by other factors.  Thinking of generalizations at this point would be too premature.  Human nature is highly complex and could change depending on many external and internal factors surrounding him.

It will take more time, possibly years, and several studies of observing society before the implications of this research could solidify.  It may be true that morality has a stronger effect on individuals compared to self-control but it is also likely that both play equal roles in other cultures.  There are too many possibilities arising from this research that it is not probable at present to create generalizations that would speak for the entire world.  What other researchers should do is to expand the sample population to include other societies and other races.  The control variables should also be changed to see a more diverse result.

7.A research design should be created in such a manner that the most relevant information are obtained without prejudice.  The sampling method is rather restrictive considering that the participants are all above 18 years old.  It has to be remembered that many offenses in society today are perpetrated by minors.  It would have been more useful if the age range has been changed to include minors.

Adults are more likely to have an established set of moral views and higher self-control, except in cases when the person has psychological issues.  Adults generally can handle themselves better making the results inapplicable to a larger population.  Youth respondents in any culture are more interesting since they have the capacity to vary greatly in terms of thinking and perspectives.

The researchers, though, have not claimed that their intention for conducting the research is to make their hypotheses applicable to a bigger context.  They have stated that their expectations are only limited to a certain group of people.  Using a quantitative method to obtain a correlation is also appropriate (Hopkins, 2000).  In this regard, the research design is appropriate.  Others in the field are left with many possibilities for further exploration.

8.The data presentation and discussion are done in a manner that makes it easy for the ready to understand what the researchers have found out.  Discussion goes directly to the point, wherein results show that a stronger correlation exists between morality and crime.  The discussion avoids using technicalities that would confuse the non-expert.

The results are important since they provide a new perspective concerning factors that push people to commit crime.  It highlights important aspects concerning morality and its role in society.  This will make society realize and evaluate the current state morality among the people.  However, the researchers have pointed out several limitations in the study particularly on the sample population that could make the results less applicable to a bigger population.  With the existence of this significant limitations, the results’ substance is affected.

9.This study opens a lot of possibilities for further studies as a result of various questions arising from the present hypotheses.  These questions or hypotheses include:

is this applicable to all changing economies

is this applicable to the youths of those economies

is this applicable to capitalist states

are morality and self-control really independent of each other when Christian doctrine suggests that self-control is a product of morality (Knight, 2009)

Naturally, the next wave of researches would focus on the validity of finding morality as a stronger factor over self-control by using respondents from other cultures, age group, and by increasing the number of respondent.

10.Some of the potential drawbacks of this research are: making society put pressure on people to adopt stricter moral principles; the Churches using this study to preach about morality; and the undermining of self-control as a deterrence factor in controlling crime.  Previous teachings about self-control should not be disregarded while everyone focuses on morality.  From a Christian perspective, this study could create confusion and divert people from what is essential.  Efforts at stopping crime should not change just because morality is emerging as a factor.  Instead, experts should design their programs to include both self-control and morality.

References

Gottfredson, M.R.  (2007).  Self-control theory.  Blackwell Reference Online. Retrieved April   23, 2009, from http://www.blackwellreference.com/public/tocnode?id=     g9781405124331_chunk_g978140512433125_ss1-70

Hopkins, W.G.  (2000).  Quantitative research design.  Sportscience, 4.  Retrieved April 23,        2009, from http://www.sportsci.org/jour/0001/wghdesign.html

Independent and dependent variables. Cool-Science-Projects.com. Retrieved April 23, 2009,   from http://www.cool-science-projects.com/independent-and-dependent-variables.html

Knight, K.  (2009).  Morality.  Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved April 23, 2009, from             http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10559a.htm

Trochim, W.M.K.  (2006, October 20).  Design.  Research Methods: Knowledge Base.    Retrieved April 23, 2009, from http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/design.php

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08 Aug 2009

Sample Essay: Should Information On Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Be An Integral Part Of Prenatal Classes

Introduction

What happens if a pregnant woman comes to a hospital to give birth and doesn’t know anything about pregnancy and giving birth? What could possibly happen if the expectant mother doesn’t know what really is her condition prior to giving birth? What if she doesn’t have any knowledge on how to take care of herself during pregnancy? We can only think of the worst case scenarios. So what could possibly be the intervention on this? It is simply prenatal classes.

A prenatal class is an integral part of pregnancy for a woman to know what to do during and after pregnancy. This is the time a woman learns the best practices to take care of her health and her baby’s to prevent complications while pregnant or even during giving birth thus lowering the mortality and morbidity rate of mothers and babies. Once a woman finds out she’s pregnant, she should then see a professional health practitioner such as an OB-Gynecologist to have her pregnancy monitored for early detection of possible complications later on.

What could pregnant women possibly benefit from a prenatal class?  According to Beier, childbirth may affect of how a woman may later view her birthing experience.  Since a woman is more knowledgeable when it comes to birthing process and how to take care of herself during pregnancy and with constant monitoring to be sure of her and her baby’s condition, she would be more confident with her pregnancy and giving birth. Although a lot of women may not be able to attend prenatal classes due to a lot of factors such as schedule conflicts or financial constraints, there are a lot of ways for a pregnant woman to learn more about pregnancy and giving birth such as online classes or reading books, but if it is possible for them to attend prenatal classes they should do so for them to understand better and have the information from an expert.

What is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and how important that a mother learns what this is all about? What is the necessary information that an expectant must know about what this syndrome is?

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a birth defect of a baby as a result of the mother’s drinking of alcohol during pregnancy (Doctors on Medicinenet.com). This defect was formally discovered on 1968 by Lemoine and his colleagues in France when they studied the 127 children born to alcoholic mothers, but this gained little attention. It was only in 1973 when it was rediscovered by Jones and colleagues from Seattle that it became popular. Since then a lot of reports were done about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

An expectant mother should learn about what this fetal alcohol syndrome is all about so to prevent them from drinking alcohol while pregnant. They may then wish to change their drinking habits while pregnant.

In a study done involving 400,000 women in the U.S. who all drank alcohol while pregnant gave a negative report on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome for so long as they didn’t exceed 8.5 or more drinks in a week. A review on studies about this disorder found out that it only prevalent among alcoholic mothers.

Thus expectant mothers need to know when to stop drinking and when they already had enough alcohol intakes so as not to endanger her baby.

Statement of the Problem

Is there any change in the drinking habits of pregnant women when fetal alcohol syndrome is included in the prenatal class?

Null Hypotheses

There is no change in the drinking habits of pregnant women when Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is discussed in prenatal classes in terms of age.

There is no change in the drinking habits of pregnant women when Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is discussed in prenatal classes in terms of annual income.

There is no change in the drinking habits of pregnant women when Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is discussed in prenatal classes in terms of educational attainment.

There is no change in the drinking habits of pregnant women when Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is discussed in prenatal classes in terms of civil status.

Research Design

The research design that would be used in the study is the causal research method wherein the cause and effect would be studied. This method would aim to investigate the effect of one variable to another variable. In this study the effect of the discussion of fetal alcohol syndrome during prenatal classes to the drinking habits of the pregnant women.

List of Variables

Independent Variables

Prenatal Classes discussing Fetal Alcohol Syndrome – is the term used for the prenatal class attended by the respondents discussing fetal alcohol syndrome.

Drinking habits – is the term used that refers to the number of alcohol intake of the respondents every week

Age – refers to how old the respondent is

Educational attainment – refers to the degree of education finished by the respondent

Annual Income – refers to the total household income each year

Civil Status – refers to the status of the respondent whether she is single, married, widow, separated or divorcee.

Measurements of the Variables

Drinking Habits

Women: 0-6 *drinks per week = light drinking, 7-20 drinks per week = moderate drinking, 21 and above per week = heavy drinking (for female under age 65)

Men:  0-14 drinks per week = light drinking, 14-34 drinks per week = moderate drinking, 35 drinks and above = heavy drinking

*One drink = one 12-oz bottle of beer (4.5 percent alcohol) or one 5-oz glass of wine (12.9 percent alcohol) or 1.5 oz of 80-proof distilled spirits.(family doctor.org editorial staff)

Age Bracket

Bracket 1 = 18-22, Bracket 2 = 22-27, Bracket 3 = 28-32, Bracket 4 = 33-38, Bracket 5 = 38-menopausal stage

Educational Attainment

Elementary Level, Elementary Graduate, High School Level, High School Graduate, College Level, College Graduate

Annual Income Bracket

Less than $10,000 per year, $10,000-$50,000 per year, $50,000- $100,000 per year and above $100,000 per year

Civil Status

Single, married, widow, separated or divorcee

Description of Sampling Procedure

The sampling procedure that would be used is the non-probability purposive-sampling. This type of sampling method is appropriate for this study since it would only include pregnant women who attend prenatal classes and these respondents are chosen purposely for the study. There would be a certain target group that is chosen purposely to participate in the study with the qualification that they are pregnant women undergoing prenatal classes.

Data Collection Methods

The data collection method that would be used in this paper is through a questionnaire wherein this tool would be provided to the respondents. They would be choosing from the selections that would best apply to them. The questionnaire would be made by the researcher and have it validated by the professor. This would be appropriate for the study so it would not be very time consuming for a one on one interview with the respondents that may affect their number.

How the Data Will be Coded and Analyzed

The answers of the respondents of the study would be tabulated. The tabulation would be according to the variables presented above. The data in the questionnaire would then have a number that would represent each item. A computer application such as the MS Excel may be used to help the researcher sort out the data The computer application may perform the statistical analysis or a statistician may help determine what appropriate statistical technique would be applied.

How Ethical Issues will be addressed?

The ethical issue as to the use of human beings as sample would not be a problem. The respondents would not be forced to become respondents of the said study. Their consent would be sought prior to giving them questionnaires to answer. They would be informed as to what the study is all about and how this study would be of help in the future. Their answers would be strictly kept confidential. The respondents would not be subjected to or predisposed to any physical harm. They would not be undergoing any invasive procedures that may be affecting their health or their baby’s.

Conclusion

This study would explore on the pregnant women’s response in terms of their alcohol drinking habits prior to and after pregnancy. After the respondents would be subjected to the prenatal class wherein a discussion on fetal alcohol syndrome would be included, the study would find out how this would change the number of their alcohol intake every week. This study would then prove if there would be any positive change in the alcohol drinking habits of these pregnant women then it would be an integral part to include the discussion of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome during prenatal classes. This would then help lower the cases of children born with defects caused by excessive alcohol drinking of mothers during pregnancy. This would also help many women have a safe pregnancy and avoid possible complications in the duration of their pregnancy.

Literature Review

A lot of studies have already been conducted about Fetal alcohol Syndrome and the importance of prenatal classes during pregnancy. The following works are cited would be presented to show the importance of knowledge about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome prior to getting pregnant and during the pregnancy stages.

In a study done by Nichols (1995), regarding the comparison in the adjustment to new parenthood between first time parents and what was the effect of attending prenatal classes on them. The study included parents who attended prenatal classes and those who did not. The study showed a difference in maternal age and maternal and paternal educational levels but didn’t show difference in terms of prenatal attachment, prenatal childbirth involvement, the satisfaction during childbirth and the sense of competence in parenting, and the transition to being first time parents. It suggested further studies then on how prenatal classes can help on becoming first time parents.

This study then can help us show how important prenatal classes are to new parents. This would show how important the information that they got from attending such classes would help them later on to adjust to a new chapter in their life.

Another study from Koehn ML (1993) entitled “The psychoeducational model of prepared childbirth education.” states that childbirth classes influences pregnant women on effective coping to the experience of childbirth. They would have confidence in actively participating in the birthing process and pain management without artificial pain management interventions.

In an article from familydoctor.org (2003) states that attending a childbirth class are one great way in preparing for labor and birth and a lot of topics related to pregnancy and giving birth are discussed. These articles also suggest selecting a childbirth class that would perfectly fit ones needs. The classes may range from discussing basic knowledge to the in depth discussion on the complication of pregnancy.

This would be a great help to pregnant women to learn things about pregnancy that they would not learn when they opt not to attend prenatal class. This may then increase the level of confidence of an expectant mother to have her baby.

In a study done by Lumley J; Brown S (1993) entitled “Attenders and nonattenders at childbirth education classes in Australia: how do they and their births differ?” the results stated that there were minor difference when it comes to measures of pain and to the use of procedures, interventions, and pain relief, that there was no difference in terms of satisfaction with the provision of information through pregnancy, birth, and the postnatal period. The results also showed that women who attended prenatal classes were not more confident and they are less likely to develop depression 8 months after giving birth. The greatest difference that was showed was with the health practices by women during pregnancy in terms of cigarette smoking, missed antenatal appointments, breastfeeding, and alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

Thus this study suggests the importance of including appropriate health practices during pregnancy. The inclusion of this discussion would greatly help first time parents to have healthy babies. It would also give them knowledge on how to have healthy practices to prevent complications of pregnancy and lessen the chances of child birth defects.

Another study from Bradley LP (1995) entitled “Changing American birth through childbirth education”, it stated that educators on childbirth classes could bring changes to the prenatal care of an expectant mother.

This study would then suggest that attending prenatal classes may be essential to the decision making an expectant mother would make as to the kind of prenatal that she should be receiving.

In another study by Handfield B (1995) entitled “Do childbirth classes influence decision making about labor and postpartum issues?”, suggests that childbirth education classes had minimal effect on their decision for breastfeeding and staying for 24 hours where they gave birth. This also suggested a further study.

This study aimed to show if there would be an effect as to women’s decisions on matters regarding prenatal and post natal care. However the researcher was not able to establish a significant relationship thus needs further study.

Another paper entitled “The Impact of Birth Complications on Parental Decision Making: Could Prenatal Classes Help?” by Phillips and SJ, Tooley, GA discusses the importance of preparations before birthing. This article proposed that an option of attending prenatal classes should be considered to have knowledge about birth complications thus lowering their chances to experience it.

This study then suggests that enough knowledge about the possible complications is important and these are discussed in prenatal classes. This then implies the importance of prenatal classes so the expectant mother would know what to avoid during pregnancy. She would also know what factors that may predispose her and her baby to the dangers of complications.

Another article from Multiple Moms (2007) sited the importance of taking prenatal classes especially for women who are carrying twins. It stated that this kind of pregnancy is unique as there is a different set of physical and emotional challenges. The article says that there are a lot of concerns regarding multiple pregnancies. Topics on multiple pregnancies would include Nutrition, weight gain, appropriate exercise, rest, and stress-management are even more important when you’re caring two or more.  How much to eat?  How much to drink?  What can you can and can’t do?

The article then suggests that the expectant mothers especially when carrying twins should be very careful in handling her pregnancy. An expectant mother must learn more about the possible complications, the possible method of delivery since it would be twins and what to expect with her pregnancy. This may then give the expectant mother more confidence during her pregnancy and thus may lower anxiety rates that may affect the process of her delivery.

An article entitled Annie’s Song states that since proper prenatal care is an important for an expectant mother, a key step could be attending prenatal classes to learn more about her pregnancy and the stages she’s into and what to expect on these stages. Annie’s Song is an education program offered to the ‘lost’ population of young and unmarried women who weren’t attending these critical classes.

Through this service the young people who are afraid to attend prenatal classes may be educated. They are the ones who need the education the most since they are the ones who tend to abuse themselves to release the pressure of their condition. Most of the young pregnant moms are the ones who have unwanted pregnancies. They are the ones who might have the complication of postpartum depression. They need to be educated on the processes of pregnancy and birthing for them to have a background of what parenting really is.

Studies had also been made about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome that are important facts that parents must learn prior to pregnancy and during pregnancy. The following reviews had been found.

Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is a leading but preventable cause of mental retardation during pregnancy wherein alcohol consumption is quite high. Though there have been public education this disease still increases its cases as much as 12,000 approximation each year (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2000). Despite of information dissemination on how to prevent FAS women still pursue drinking alcoholic beverages during pregnancy which in turn exposes the fetus in their womb to the adverse effects of alcohol ( Sokol, Delaney – Black, and Nordstrom, 2005). The alcohol that a pregnant woman drinks travels through her bloodstream and across the placenta to her fetus, or developing baby. A fetus’s small body breaks down alcohol much more slowly than an adult’s body does. So the alcohol level in the fetus’s blood is higher than in the mother’s blood, and the alcohol remains in the fetus’s blood longer. This exposure of the fetus to alcohol causes FAS. Studies have shown that there is no proven particular amount of alcohol that causes FAS still moderate and light drinking of alcohol still shows an effect on the babies. An average of only one drink per day increases a baby’s risk of FAS (WebMD.com,LLC. 2005-2008). Alcohol rapidly reaches the fetus in which it crosses the placenta. Extensive studies have demonstrated equivalent fetal and maternal alcohol concentrations, suggesting an unimpeded bidirectional movement of alcohol between the 2 compartments. The fetus appears to depend on maternal hepatic detoxification because the activity of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) in the fetal liver is <10% of that observed in the adult liver. Furthermore, the amniotic fluid acts as a reservoir for alcohol, prolonging fetal exposure.

The diagnosis of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is based on findings in the following 3 areas: (1) characteristic facial anomalies, (2) growth retardation (intrauterine growth restriction and failure to have catch-up growth), and (3) CNS involvement (cognitive impairment, learning disabilities, or behavioral abnormalities) (www.emedicine.com/ped/topic767.htm).

Studies have also found that alcohol damages the fetal brain by interfering with the growth factors and neurotransmitters that regulate cell proliferation and brain development  (7).  Normal neuron development requires neurons to develop and migrate to the outer layers of the cerebral cortex. Alcohol exposure at critical times can alter normal migration, and neural cells end up in abnormal positions, thus altering the connections among neurons. The growth and differentiation of serotonin-releasing neurons (i.e., serotonergic system – 5HT) has been studied with interest, since this system plays an important role in human mood disorders. Research seems to indicate that environmental influences in early development may alter neuron determination in the serotonergic system. Alteration in the function of the serotonergic system is associated with increased individual susceptibility to mental health disorders and can affect how well the individual respond to pharmaceutical agents.

There have been many disorders associated to Fetal Alcohol syndrome.

A study of Dr. Ann P. Streissguth,. Et al. have shown that Attention Deficit & Distractibility Increase when Mothers Consumed Alcohol during Pregnancy. Attention, distraction, and impulsive behavior problems more likely to occur to children whose mothers have taken alcohol moderately during pregnancy. A test called continuous performance test was conducted in order to determine endurance, persistence, organization, distractibility and impulsivity in this large group of 7 year old children. One test given, considered to be effective at assessing Attention Deficit Disorders, and is called the AX-task. In this test the child sits at a computer screen that is flashing single letters at one second intervals. The child is asked to push a button when the letter “X” appears, but only when it was immediately preceded by the letter “A”. The numbers of errors were then calculated for three different mother alcohol consumption levels (0-3 drinks daily, 3-4 drinks daily, & more than 4 drinks daily) to determine if there was any correlation between the amount of alcohol consumed and the number of errors the child made on the test. The results showed that greater alcohol exposure resulted in far more errors on the AX task. The authors stated that the direction of the effect is as predicted, with poorer performance associated with higher (alcohol) exposure.” Tests of distraction were also conducted while the child was taking the CPT tests. There was an 8% distraction rate for the 0-3 drink exposure children, a 14% distraction rate for the 3-4 drink exposure children and a 46% distraction rate for the children whose mothers drank more than 4 drinks per day. Average reaction times were about twice as slow for the more than 3 drink exposure children. In conclusion the researchers stated that this study is vital in showing the continuity of the impact pre natal alcohol exposure on the child’s attention and reaction time even after adjusting for different predictors.

Sally E. Shaywitz, M.D., et al, stated that milder degrees of the dysfunction of the central nervous system are frequently encountered in the child of alcoholic women, and suggested the broader study of FAS to include the behavioral and learning deficits as manifested in the central nervous system. An indication of mild dimorphic features of fetal alcohol syndrome there have been a manifestation of hyperactivity and learning difficulties in children with normal intelligence born to heavy drinking mothers.   Alcohol exposure in utero (during pregnancy) may be an important, preventable determinant of attention deficit syndromes in childhood.”

Reading Test Scores Lower in Children Whose Mothers Drank Alcohol During Last Trimester of Pregnancy presented by Dr. Claire D. Coles she stated  that during the third trimester of pregnancy alcohol  exposure may affect the developing hippocampus or allied structures, leading to deficits in the ability to encode visual or auditory information of the child. They (the child) found to be low in academic levels and it is possible that some of these children will develop particular learning disabilities.

A study presented by Dr. Joanne L. Gusella that among the 84 children who have been tested at 13 months were found to have lower verbal comprehension and spoken language scores whose mothers have drank at about .24 ounces of alcohol per day. The Bayley Scales of infant Development was used to test language and comprehension which included  da-da or equivalent, Jabbers expressively, Imitates words, Says 2 words, Names 1 object, Vocalizes 4 different syllables, Listens selectively to familiar words, Responds to verbal request, Inhibits on command, Shows shoes or other clothing or own toy. The test was conducted by professionals who are not aware that the mothers of these kids were drinking alcohol during pregnancy. It showed a positive result showing the significance at the 0.05 level.

FASD and FAS are not genetically inherited conditions. A child must be exposed to prenatal alcohol in order to be affected. However, there are believed to be variations in the susceptibility and severity of the conditions based on environment-gene interactions. The environmental impact of alcohol on the fetus may vary due to the timing and dosage of alcohol; the genetic make-up of the mother who consumes and metabolizes the alcohol; and the fetus, which responds to the toxic effects of alcohol and eventually metabolizes it in later development.  Research has demonstrated that dosage and timing of exposure may impact the severity of the disorders. It is assumed that drinking alcohol during the first trimester of pregnancy results in the most severe physical anomalies. However the inner structure of the brain changes and the cognitive injury as the result can occur with alcohol exposure during pregnancy.

Despite these findings not all incidences of prenatal exposure to alcohol will result in FAS. The possibility that genetic risk factors play a role in the susceptibility to adverse effects was first considered when animal researchers noted that different strains of mice and chick research models were affected differently by alcohol exposure during gestation. Certain strains consistently experienced more severe alcohol-related disorders than others, even when the amount of alcohol ingested was kept constant. This suggests that genetic differences in metabolism and molecular mechanisms of alcohol toxicity control teratogenic effects. At the same time, genetic risks that predispose the woman to alcohol addiction and conditioning may indirectly affect her drinking pattern. While intake is generally considered an environmental issue alone, there is now evidence that genetic variations may affect the amount of alcohol desired and the risk of dependency and addiction. The mechanisms responsible are not totally clear and more study is warranted. How the environmental issues, such as pattern of alcohol consumption, impacts the protective benefits is also unknown and more difficult to study. Other genetic factors, such as the role of placental enzymes and maternal-fetal interactions, also need consideration. Such factors may be the key to predicting which newborns will be at risk for the most adverse outcomes. Although promising, more population-based research is needed before polymorphisms can be used as a biomarker to identify women or newborns at higher risk of FAS. Genetic makeup alone does not account for enough of the variance in outcome.

Another study was done by May, P et. al. entitled Maternal Risk Factors for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in the Western Cape Province of South Africa: A Population-Based Study states that there is a difference between case and control mothers when it comes to  socioeconomic status, religiosity, education, gravidity, parity, and marital status. The result also showed that children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome were mostly born to mothers with alcohol abusing families where in mothers are heavy drinkers.

This result alone would prove that there is really an effect when pregnant women drink too much alcohol during pregnancy and this would also account for the occurrence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Thus, it is very necessary for expectant mothers to know the level of alcohol allowed when they are pregnant. They must know safe practices when it comes to health to prevent complications such as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

These are some important facts that we need to know that would guide us with this study. This would greatly help us in understanding why this study needs to be conducted.

Sources:

Beier, Catherine. (2007, November 09). Online Childbirth Education – A New Way to Prepare for Your Baby’s Birth. EzineArticles. Retrieved March 20, 2008, from http://ezinearticles.com/?Online-Childbirth-Education—A-New-Way-to-Prepare-for-Your-Babys-Birth&id=822907http://www.medicinenet.com/fetal_alcohol_syndrome/article.htm Last Editorial Review: 4/1/2002 Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

This site is maintained by Prof. David J. Hanson, Ph.D. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Alcohol: Problems and Solutions http://www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/FetalAlcoholSyndrome.html#3

Mary R Nichols RN, PhD (1995) Adjustment to New Parenthood: Attenders versus Nonattenders at Prenatal Education Classes Birth 22 (1) , 21-26 doi:10.1111/j.1523-536X.1995.tb00549.x (http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1523-536X.1995.tb00549.x)

 Koehn ML. 1993.The psychoeducational model of prepared childbirth education.  AWHONNS Clin Issues Perinat Womens Health Nurs, 4: 1, 1993, 66-71 (http://www.childbirth.org/articles/cbeclass.html)
http://www.londonrdpractice.co.uk/Prenatal-Classes.html

Problem Drinking and Alcoholism: Diagnosis and Treatment by MA Enoch, M.D., M.R.C.G.P. and D Goldman, M.D. (American Family Physician February 1, 2002, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20020201/441.html

Lumley J; Brown S. 1993. Attenders and nonattenders at childbirth education classes
Australia: how do they and their births differ?  Birth, 20: 3, 1993 Sep, 123-3

Bradley LP. 1995. Changing American birth through childbirth education. Patient Educ Couns, 25: 1, 1995 Feb, 75-82

Handfield B; Bell R .1995. Do childbirth classes influence decision making about labor and   postpartum issues? Birth, 22: 3, 1995 Sep, 153-60

Journal of Undergraduate Research Volume 1, Issue 2 – February 2000 http://journal.hsmc.org/ijnidd

Phillips,SJ et al. The Impact of Birth Complications on Parental Decision-Making:

Could Prenatal Classes Help? (http://209.85.173.104/search?q=cache:5kQE8wrwsJoJ:www.aare.edu.au/04pap/phi04946.pdf+Importance+of+prenatal+classes&hl=tl&ct=clnk&cd=40&gl=ph&client=firefox-a)
  
Multiple moms. Prenatal classes for multiples.http://www.multiplemom.com/articles/prenatal-classes-for-multiples.html
Annie’s Song (http://www.qualityoflife.org/ich/anniessong/anniessong.cfm)

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