To establish reliable numbers and statistics about pregnancies and HIV/AIDS infection among African teens, the means used should involve grouping of the variables in the study.The instrument used in data collection should, therefore, allow for therepresentation of all the variables for the study (Messik, 2000). If such methods are used, then the results would be valid and reliable. In addition, the results obtained and their derived conclusions would be more credible and could be referred by other future researchers (Rubin, 2010). It is also important that the methods and tools of measurement used in the study are unquestionable and valid (Rubin, &Babbie, 2010).
In this research, problems facing African teens are addressed with more emphasis on cases of pregnancies and HIV/AIDS infections. The study also evaluates various methods of research to determine the most suitable for in the study. Validation of the methods is extensively discussed to offer credibility to obtainable results of the study. In addition to exploring the spread of HIV/AIDS in the population, the study will also offer recommendations on measures that would help reduce the incidence.
The developing countries are the most hit by HIV/AIDS, which has as well led to moral destruction in the society (Rotheram-Borus, Song, Gwadz, Lee, Van Rossem&Koopman, 2003). In addition to the infection, female teens are also exposed to early pregnancies with the state of the environment. They have a challenging responsibility to guard their sexual health as well as their reproductive health., African teens face the danger of sexually transmitted diseases more than their counterparts in other regions. The issue is alarming, and therefore research is necessary to establish the cause of the matter and offer appropriate recommendations to overcome the challenge.
The World Health Organization reported an increase in the rate of HIV/AIDS infection among African teenagers. In addition, the organization also noted an increase in the occurrences of pregnancies in the same population (Lyon, &D Angelo, 2006). In the study, adolescents’ general attitude toward the two issues was investigated. From the research, it was found out that theinadequacy of sexual information played a role in perpetuating the problems. Urgent measures are therefore required to cope with the issues.
Objectives of the Study
The research looks at HIV/AIDS and pregnancies among African teens. In addition to exploring the incidences, the research also purposes to offer measures that can be used to address the problem. Issues addressed include the following:
- Means by which HIV/AIDS is tested in the group
- Stigmatization of teens diagnosed with HIV/AIDS
- Preventive methods employed to avoid HIV/AIDS infection
- Situations rendering HIV/AIDS infection rates to be high among African teens
- Determination of whether HIV/AIDS infection in the population results from personal failure of the failure of the society in general
The study employs the Health Brief Model to study the incidences of pregnancies and HIV/AIDS infections among the African teens. The framework supposes that the likelihood of people to engage in certain health risks is determined by their perception of the social and health impact of HIV/AIDS infection (Rotheram-Borus, Song, Gwadz, Lee, Van Rossem&Koopman, 2003).The framework also addresses the use of several preventive measures such as the use of condoms as well as moral support to avoid stigmatization of teens infected with the disease.
Measurements and Instruments
Methods employed in a quantitative research design could be descriptive, experimental or correlative in nature. There are both advantages and disadvantages in the methods used for each particular investigation carried out. Various methods of research are suitable forsome studies and less suitable for others. Likewise, the study on HIV/AIDS and pregnancies among African teens is best with certain research methods compared to others. In this paper, the strengths as well as weaknesses of the three methods are discussed regarding the issue of study. The study proposes the best method in the investigation of HIV/AIDS infections among the African teens.
The Descriptive Design
The method involves adescription of the subject in the study. As Creswell and Plano (2007) wrote, the method allows for the use of precise methods of data collection such as case studies, surveys, and observations. This method of design can, for instance, give data on a certain event and further describe the experience and response of the subjects. However, the method may not guarantee the confidence of the data obtained. In some cases, individuals only tell what they think would be the researchers expectation. In addition, the may find some questions too personal to be sincere to the researcher. The method also has compromised confidentiality. Creswell and Plano noted that subjects tended to fear that their information could leak to people whom they may not wish (2009).A further shortcoming to the method is its high chances of error as well as vulnerability to subjectivity. For instance, the researcher may modify the information on the questionnaire to contain only the information that confers with their hypotheses. It is, therefore, hard for descriptive researchers to overcome the possibility of bias especially in data collection.
The method incorporates a number of hypotheses, with the first step involving the relationship between different variables (Creswell & Plano, 2007). The method is advantageous in that it minimizes the number of variables in the study hence adequately controlling independent variables.The method also allows the researcher to establish the relationship between the causes and their effects in research studies (Creswell & Plano, 2007). Following the strict conditions and controlled set up, the method also has the advantage of offering good results.
However, the method is associated with shortcomings such as failure to do certain experiments. For instance, researchers may fail to do an experiment on ethical or practical grounds. Again, the method is prone to the use of artificial data by controlling point variables (Frankfort-Nachmias, &Nachmias, 2008). Human errors are also likely to occur with the method.
Correlations Method of Design
Data collection in this method involves acomparison between two variables. The method is noted to allow researchers more time to collect data than does any other method of quantitative research (Choudhury, 2009). Findings from the methodology are also more applicable as most of the studies are done outside the laboratory (Creswell & Plano, 2007). The method is also noted to allow for future research by providing offering a starting point for other researchers.
Thestrategy is, however, limited in that it fails to establish a concrete reason for the relationship seen in the variables it compares (Creswell & Plano, 2007). In most cases, the design does not determine which variable controls the other. It would be possible, for instance for a study to reveal therelationship between high affluence and high levels and education. However, either of the two could cause the other yet the method cannot determine what the primary variable is.With the method, a need would arise to resolve further the issue and in the course of the further research, another variable could as well be identified. For instance, the other variable could be living in New York. In this case, living in New York could result in both affluence and high education levels.
Correlation Method of Design as the most Appropriate
In this study, a link between the lifestyle of African teens and the two issues, HIV/AIDS and pregnancies is important. In addition, the study would require amostly observable connection, a requirement most fulfilled by the correlation method (Mcclain&Madrigal, 2012). Again, the method allows collection of thehuge amount of data that would be analyzed to establish whether the lifestyle of African teens has led to the high cases of HIV/AIDS infection and pregnancy rates.
The experimental method would be inappropriate in this study as it involves too many ethical considerations. With the method, subjects could not for instance be forced into HIV/AIDS testing neither could the testing be done in their ignorance. On the other hand, the descriptive method would fail due to its lack of confidentiality.
To sum it up, different methods of research design fit in varied situations. A method could be fit in a certain study but unfit for the other. The correlativemethod is the most appropriate for the study relating lifestyle to high cases of pregnancies and HIV/AIDS infection among African teenagers.
Important Levels of Measurements
In this context, levels of measurements describe the relationship between attributes of a given variable (Kelley, Noell, & Reitman, 2003). To distinguish between varied aspects of a study, one requires knowing the level of measurement and its corresponding category’s nature.In the study regarding HIV/AIDS and teen pregnancies, three of the four major measurements of levels are applicable (Rubin &Bebbie, 2010). The three are the nominal, ratio and ordinal levels.
In thenominal level, only qualitative attributes of the variables are used (Sim & Wright, 2002). In most cases, the level involvesyes or no questions, and they address issues that may require emphasis. For instance, respondents could be asked whether they are from Africa and answer they give could be either yes or no but not both (Sim & Wright, 2002). For this study, thenominal scale would be particularly important to determine whether candidates are fit for the study.It would also enable the researcher to group the respondents into different categories of the study. The researcher may, for instance, group the respondents into victims of early pregnancy or HIV/AIDS infection. This would further facilitate the subsequent research procedures.
The ratio level, on the other hand, covers most information and is it usually incorporates the absolute zero (Rupp, Templin & Henson, 2010). It further engages with other levels making it importantto the study topic of this research. It allows for assessment of continuous data and overcomes the assumption that zero is always the lowest possible outcome in a research question (In Little, 2014). The scale could, therefore, be important in thedetermination of the different causes of both high rates of HIV/AIDS infections and pregnancies in the teen population of Africans (Gliner, Morgan & Leech, 2010).
Content Validity, Empirical Validity, and Construct Validity
Validation of different aspects of research is important as it ensures that the questions involved at different levels are relevant and helpful to the study. As Messick wrote, it is required that researchers validate their survey instruments when carrying out different activities (2000).
Content validation is usually non-statistical and mainly assess the extent to which a given measurement tool reveal the different facets of the social set up in question. It is advisable that content validation be carried out by a panel and not a single person (In Little, 2014).With combined efforts, chances of making uninformed decisions are decreasedand, therefore, the results of the study are more likely to be reliable. Proper validation leads to the success of the research survey. For this case, a panel would be required to review the comments and also determine whether the research engages a representative population of African teens victimized by early pregnancies or HIV/AIDS.It is necessary to subject the research process to constant content tests to ensure content validation.
The validation determines the relationship between the variables in the study and the behavior of the subject. To attain empirical validity, researchers are required to incorporate adequate samples, competent measurement procedures, as well as a comprehensive statistical survey. Empirical validation is important in research as it provides a direct relationship between study variables and subjects behavior.
In construct validity, tests are done to assess the claims of the theory in question. Researchers carry out experiments that aim at exploring the many aspects of the elements of a given theory. Usually, construct validity is linked to the substantive theory it is supposed to evaluate., construct validity enables validation of theories involved in a given research.
Reliability of the Measurements
Reliability of data obtained from the research is crucial as it would boost the confidence of both the researchers in the study as well as future researchers who may refer to the data later (In LoBiondo-Wood & In Haber, 2014).For the data to be credible, the methods used to obtain it must be valid. To validate the methods, a panel would be required throughout the whole research process to overcome the tendency of individuals to make uninformed decisions. Data reliability could also be increased through conduction of random validation tests to check on the consistency of the methods (Thompson, 2003).
Reliability and Validity of Measurement Tools Employed
For the best research results, the most appropriate tools are selected in every process. However, the best tools come at a cost and a major limitation in their use is their associated high cost. The limitation does not, however, overcome the advantage of such tools as content validity as it takes alittle time to compare information to the content domain. Again in empirical validity, the tool allows determination of how various behavioral traitscontribute to the high HIV/AIDS infection rate as well as thehigh occurrence of early pregnancies in the African teen population.Construct validity, on the other hand, relates research findings to the existing theories. Reliability and validation of measurements are crucial to the success of the research on the high rates of HIV/AIDS infection and teen pregnancies.
Sampling in Quantitative Research Plan
In most cases, research results are based on the sampling. Sampling is, therefore, a critical part of most research work and should, therefore,be undertaken in the most appropriate manner. To decide on the most applicable sampling method, researchers should evaluate the advantages and the disadvantages of the available strategies (Polit& Beck, 2004).Again as MacNee and McCabe wrote, the size of the sample selected should capture as many details as possible to offer a comprehensive analysis (2007). Improper sampling could give misleading data, and the results of theresearch would not be valid. Use of an inappropriate method of sampling is likely to alter the results of a research study, and the whole process would be rendered useless.
As Melnyk and Morrison-Beedy (2012) indicated, randomization is one of the best strategies forquantitative research data sampling. A study on high cases of early pregnancies and high rates of HIV/AIDS infection is unquestionably more of a quantitative research and is least concerned with the theories. As such, randomization would be the best method for data sampling. Usually, randomization can involve further categorization such as cluster sampling, simple randomization sampling, and systemic sampling as well as stratified sampling. The method gives subjects an equal chance tobe sampled in the study and the data collected is, therefore, least likely to be biased. In addition, randomization ensures that the selection of each participant is independent of the others allowing for an almost entirely representative group of samples. With the independence of selection, theprobability for any subject to be selected is not influenced by the picking of other subjects.
Before conducting a study, researchers first estimate the size of the sample they require. Sample size is influenced by population size, the resources available as well as the type of sampling being conducted (Rubin &Babbie, 2010). For this study, teenagers comprise 50% of the entire African population (Falola, 2004). It is, therefore, recommendable that the research should at least involve a tenth of the teen population with equal coverage in all the African countries and based on appropriate ratios of population sizes. Unequal representation could lead to data misleading data, and therefore it should be emphasized that all African countries be equally represented in the study. A sample to small may not offer fair representation while a sample too large could be difficult to handle and would reduce the accuracy of the data obtained. Randomization should be used in theselection of participants.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Randomization
Randomization is beneficial in that it gives a good coverage of a population with minimal bias. The method is often generalized to represent the entire population being investigated. Participants enjoy an equal opportunity to participate in aresearch study as long as they fit into the group being tested. It is impossible to involve the entire population in the study and randomization is usually the most appropriate means to ensure that the whole populationis represented. The method further allows researchers to relate their findings to the probability theory. In most cases, statistical data is based on randomized gathering. With proper randomization, data obtained from research offers a general view of the groups being investigated.
However, randomization faces limitations just like any other method of data collection and sampling. Proper representation of the population under test may fail especially with some strategies of randomization such as cluster-sampling and multi-stage methods of sampling. In most cases, failure of any method of randomized representation would result from initial selection of clusters. For a conclusion to be credible, the research is required to incorporate many clusters and in turn, many resources are required. Ensuring that optimal randomization is practiced is also a major problem with the method. Errors may occur with the many processes involved.
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