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Design a
research project, situating this within a theoretical framework.

 

‘Research
is all around us’ (Lambert, 2012 p.11), and maybe seen as ‘a planned
investigation’ (Lambert, 2012 p.12). The fundamental elements to compiling
successful research, are to set the research question and obtain methodologies
of conducting the research to collate relevant data.

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The
objective of this research project is to consider the potential difficulties
that parents may face when establishing an effective bond when experiencing a
multiple birth. The project will assess the possible challenges that may arise
for parents and carers when forming an attachment bond with multiple babies.

 

The
term ‘bond’ is frequently used by parents when referring to their children, or
surrounding the impending birth (Trevathan, 2011). Trevathan (2011) continues
to explore the concept of the term ‘bond’, suggesting in fact the possibility
of this being interpreted in differing ways.

 

Parents
may bond differently with each baby, especially if the babies each have unique
or distinctive needs. This differential bonding can be a source of guilt for parents
(Moore, 2007). Moreover, some parents worry that they will not be able to bond
with more than one baby at a time (TAMBA, 2017). This research projects seeks
to explore the truth or fiction behind such statements.

 

Hockenberry
and Wilson (2011) presented the concept of ‘monotropy’ this is the principle of
only being able to bond optimally with one individual at one time. This project
seeks to explore this in further detail, and explore the potential challenges of
bonding with individuals of a multiple birth and being able to bond with the individuals
equally and effectively.

 

The
projects aim is to discuss the above objective within a theoretical framework.

Analytically contemplating diverse research methodologies, whilst examining the
role of ethics and the reliability and validity of the project, to create an
adequate research plan to explore the various ‘bonds’ created through the
families used in the research conducted.

Research
is steered by a set of beliefs. This set of beliefs is known as a paradigm
(Killam, 2013). A paradigm is defined as ‘a theory or group of ideas about how
something should be done, made or thought about’ (Killam, 2013, p5). A paradigm
encompasses various elements, which are known as: ontology, epistemology,
methodology and methods (Scotland, 2012). Furthermore, every paradigm is based
upon its own ontological and epistemological expectations. Research is about raising
enquiries and seeking information to remedy the questions that are posed.

 

The
various elements are further explained; methodology is the method or plot of action,
which lies behind the choice, and use of methods (Crotty, 1998). Epistemology
is concerned with providing a physiological grounding for deciding what kinds
of knowledge are possible and how we can ensure that they are both adequate and
legitimate (Crotty, 1998). Ontology would sit alongside epistemology forming
the theoretical framework, for each theoretical perspective bodies a certain
way of understanding, ‘what is’ (otology) as well as a certain way of
understanding what it means to know (epistemology) (Crotty, 1998).

 

Scotland
(2012) outlines the ontological view of interpretivist as relativism.

Relativism perceives authenticity as subjective in nature, this differs from
person to person and that this reality is individually constructed (Scotland,
2012). This research project would follow the interpretivist approach as the
results collected would be that of an individual’s experiences, therefore no
single truth is collected and the results would be subjective and exploratory
in nature. Scotland (2012) supports this by proposing that the interpretive
epistemology is built on subjectivism based on real world phenomena, hence
personal experiences.

 

As
previously mentioned, this research project expresses the interpretivist
research method; this theoretical perspective compliments this research project
over the positivist paradigm. Interpretivists prefer to use qualitative data
for in depth studies on small group of individuals. The methods used included
interviews and participant observation (Holder, 2016). Interpretivists believe
in inter-subjectivity, in which individuals interact and communicate with each
other. Interpretivist approach uses qualitative methodology which has a focus
on words and meanings, through research methods such as interviews and questionnaires,
in contrast to quantitative methodology which seeks to determine an absolute
truth, (O’Hara, 2011) and has a greater focus on statistics and factual
outcomes. Qualitative research is complex, due to the subjectivity of the data
and being collect in person, it could be open to bias and interpretation. But
is based on first hand experiences so is undisputable data and could give
diverse results.

 

An
alternative paradigm is the positivist, ‘the basic beliefs of positivism is
rooted in a realist ontology, this is the belief that there exists a reality
out there driven by immutable natural laws (Guba, 1990). The positivism approach
is research that is founded on the underlying assumption, that there are
‘truths’ to be uncovered, and that the best way to discover these ‘truths’ is
to use scientific methods. This approach intimates a single reality based on
experimental hypothesis and realism, this is not appropriate to the project due
to the nature of individual unique experience, hence why the interpretivist is
appropriate. The positivist approach could be advantageous over interpretivist
due to its basis on fact rather than opinion, so reliability could be superior,
however this is determined by the aim of the project.

 

There
are also other paradigms that research could be based around, such as ‘action
research’ which is practitioner led and practice based research. Also,
‘pragmatism’ where experience could be changed due to surroundings or
circumstances, this could be another paradigm relevant to this research
project, as the families used in the research maybe from differing backgrounds
or social class which could contribute diverse results. This will be considered
when the research has been conducted to compliment the interpretivist paradigm
approach.

 

Methods
are the specific techniques and procedures to collect and analyse data and
results. The data collected will either be qualitative or quantitative. All
paradigms can use both quantitative and qualitative data (Scotland, 2012). The
purpose of research and the type of information required varies from project to
project using both of quantitative and qualitative research to obtain the
desired aim (Taylor, 2005).

 

Qualitative
research has a multimethod concentration, encompassing a study of the topic in
a routine setting, the study and collection of resources such as personal experiences,
perceiving individualities without quantities or measurement (Thomas, 2003).

This supports the reasoning for adopting the qualitative approach in this
research project. This form is reliable and relevant as a clear documentation
of the research collected will be recorded although there is no ability to
quantify the results. Though, the results may be open to interpretation due to
the descriptive nature and generalised approach as not based on fact like
quantitative research which is measured.

 

Quantitative
research is constructed around measurement and amounts; a focus on detail is
paramount (Thomas, 2003). This form of research is reliable due to its
credibility as there is the ability to replicate methods used and consistency
will produce accurate data. Conclusions and interpretations will be based on
fact so sound rationality.

 

Even
so, quantitative research is not relevant to this research project as there is
no research to measure through the form of amounts, rather the collation and analysis
of opinions and personal experiences.

 

Research
cannot commence without any facts, figures, statistics or a subject matter (Pawar,
2004). Diverse data collection methods imitate the attribute, extent, capability
and importance of the data to ensure a research project is successfully
completed (Pawar, 2004). Researchers should to choose a data collection method
that is most applicable to their field of education, although it may not be one
that they prefer (Pawar, 2004). The methods chosen should be tailored to the
subject matter and be applicable to the audience the research project.

 

As
previously mentioned, the interpretivist approach will be followed and will use
data collection methods that capture qualitative data. The researcher will
gather data through two research methods. Firstly, interviews, these are a
common and useful data collection (Philips and Stawarski, 2016). In this research
project, the interviews will be conducted in the interviewee’s home. Green and
Thorogood, (2009) states the positives of this, if an interview is carried out
within the interviewees private space this not only ensures confidentiality but
also a comfortable atmosphere to develop understanding. On the other hand,
being in the interviewee’s own home may cause distractions; the interviewer
must ensure that the location is quiet enough to facilitate conversation to collect
wholesome data (Guest, Namey and Mitchell, 2012). Philips and Stawarski (2016) stress
that interviews can be time consuming and they require the interviewer to set
aside time for preparation to ensure that the process goes ahead consistently. Careful
planning will ensure accurate and effective results are achieved.

 

The
second data collection method within this research project is questionnaires using
a writing frame format. When planning a questionnaire, it is significant to
keep the questions sharp and explicit (Cargan, 2007). The use of open-ended
questionnaires allows for spontaneous answers and a fuller picture of what the
respondent believes or what is important to him or her. Since the respondents
are free to express themselves, they are not bias or conditioned by the
researchers answer selections (Cargan, 2007). As this research project, will
ascertain results based on experiences with individualised answers, this will
be a suitable format to collect the data. As data, will be coming direct from
the source, this will enhance the validity of the results. Questions should be
open to gain opinions under the qualitative approach, whereas a quantitative
approach would target closed questions to obtain fact. During the planning
stage of the research project, the questionnaires will be carefully constructed
to ensure the wording is clear but not ambiguous. An important component when
conducting a questionnaire is to ask each respondent the exact same set of
questions, but not necessarily in the same order, since this increases the
reliability of the answers (Cargan, 2007), also this will support the validity
of results due to the consistency of questions used.

 

Other
forms of quantitative data collection methods involve carrying out observations
on participants. This is not suitable for this research project because the
scope is to consider specific individual experiences which cannot be collected
through observation due to the nature of the research require, this can only be
quantified through interaction with the parties involved, hence the choice of
interviews and questionnaires. However, strengths of observation method could
help to overcome some of the limitations of the chosen data collecting methods of
interviews and questionnaires (Pawar, 2004). This type of method aids to gather
rich and insightful data in environments with relatively less cost and less
inconvenience to the researched (Pawar, 2004). The weaknesses to observations are
that it is demanding in terms of the observer’s time, it can also be difficult
to observe everything at a time (Pawar, 2004). Whereas, questionnaires have
minimal dependence on the researcher; there are no invasive procedures, hence
chosen for this project as it is collating data that is personal and needs to
be collected sensitively. The most important aspect of a questionnaire is to have
a focused hypothesis (Pawar, 2004).

 

Ethics
must be deliberated throughout this research project. The British Educational
Research Association (BERA, 2011) and the Scottish Educational Research
Association (SERA, 2005) published ethical guidelines for educational research.

These guidelines have been considered during the planning and implementation of
this research project.

 

Consent
must be obtained from the participants to carry out any research or collection
of data. BERA (2011) states the importance of acquiring ‘voluntary informed
consent’ from participants, they must understand their role, why participation
is necessary, how the data will be collected and whom it will be shared with (BERA,
2011 p.5). Participants must agree to participate prior to the research project
being undertaken. Consent forms will be used in this research project,
outlining why the data is being collected and how it will be used, these will
be distributed prior to any data being collected.

 

Where
children are involved within the research process, educational researchers must
conduct their research in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the
Rights of the Child (UNCRC) (United Nations, 1989) (SERA, 2005). Article 12, requires
those who are old enough to form their own opinions to have the right to decide
whether to give consent for their own participation. During this research project,
babies and toddlers will be present, however, the data collection will come
from parents and carers of those of a multiple birth therefore there is no
direct research being undertaken from the minors. Article 3 of the UNCRC
concerning children’s best interests (United Nations, 1989) has also been
considered when planning this project. As each participant, will be sharing
information about themselves and the children, their wellbeing will be taken
into consideration, Article 3 states that when making decisions that may affect
children, the most vital part is considering the best interest of them (United
Nations, 1989).  

 

Participants
must be aware that they have the option to withdraw their data for any or no
reason at all (BERA, 2011). A deadline will be provided within the consent
letter so that they are made aware in advance; this is important as the data
cannot be withdrawn once the findings have been published. It is crucial that
the researcher does not use pressure of any kind to convince participants to
reengage with the project (BERA, 2011).

 

The
project should consider the emotional and physical impacts of the investigation
on the participant. Appreciation of the participants during this research
project should be given as it could may cause concern or uneasiness (SERA,
2005). The researcher should take all vital steps to decrease the sense of disturbance
and create comfort (BERA, 2011).  

 

Equally,
the researcher and participant must be aware that all data gathered will be
anonymous and confidential. To ensure this, the project will comply with the Data Protection Act (Gov.uk, 1989). It is extremely important that the
participants are aware of where the data is being stored, how it is being used and
to whom it may be made available to (BERA, 2011). This information will be
provided to the participants before any research is collected.

 

The
confidentiality and anonymous handling of a participant’s data is vital during this
research project. The participants right to privacy should be respected (BERA,
2011). Participant names or any information that will disclose the
participant’s identity in the data collection results will be eliminated and
will only be shared with the necessary professionals. Where required,
participant’s permission must be acquired to disclose any personal information
to third parties. Participants should give their agreement specifically to
individual third parties being permitted to have access to the information
(BERA, 2011). As the data gathered during this research project will highly
personal the ethical stance taken is paramount, it will be highly regarded
throughout.

 

Also,
the researcher must be aware of reliability and validity when undertaking the
research project to ensure the results produced are legitimate and dependable. Reliability
indicates whether a research method is neutral in its effect and consistent
across multiple occasions of its use. There are a variety of ways that
researchers can analyse their data to check on reliability (Denscombe, 2014).

 

Validity refers to the accuracy and precision of
the data. It also concerns the appropriateness of the data in terms of the
research question being investigated. To warrant the validity of your data, the
researcher must ensure the right questions are being asked in relation to the
existing theories and knowledge on the area (Denscombe, 2014).

 

To
comprehend the reliability of the research project and the data collected, the
sample size used will need to be credible. The researcher will need to ensure
any scope for prejudice is eliminated. The data will need to be dependable,
clear transcripts kept from the interviews will be conserved, ensuring these
are written up on the day it takes place, will ensure the occurrences is up to
date in the researcher’s mind, this will ensure the reliability.

 

Anderson
and Ardsenault (1998) identify questionnaires as the most used form of
accumulating research data, if constructed precisely the data collated will be
reliable and valid, whilst being a simple, inexpensive and timely manner. When
designing the questionnaire, the wording should be clear and unambiguous. The
sample size should be considered, usually the demographic would also be
considered to ensure a wide range is captured, this is limited however in this
research project, due to those who would care for multiples are going to
largely parents or a responsible adult.

 

Interviews
aim to capture a measurement of personality and an individual’s viewpoint, the
design of the interview is key to obtaining the research project propositions
(Kline, 1983). When conducting interviews, the questions used should be clear
and unambiguous and any leading questions should be avoided. The benefits of
questionnaires can be tailored to meet desired needs and gain the specific data
required. The ‘Hawthorne effect’ should be considered when conducting
interviews, as outlined by Cohen, Manion and Morrison (2017) the attendance of
a researcher may affect the attitude of the respondent also the answers given,
this may see the participant have a desire to impress or influence the
researcher which may give inaccurate results. The answers may be disguised
through a notion of giving a correct answer that is pre-determined. To reduce
the impact of the Hawthorne effect is difficult, as this is in built within
humans given a specific situation, the research will aim to make the respondent
feel comfortable to give accurate and honest answers.

 

Validity
of the data will also depend on checking the data to make that it contains no
faults (Denscombe, 2014). Qualitative data will need to be descriptive to
warrant it being objective and neutral, also generalisability so that the
findings can be applied to wider research surrounding bonding with multiples.

 

There
are numerous characteristics that must be measured before embarking upon this
research project, such as selecting the sample size and forming data collection
methods. The researcher must be aware of reliability, validity and ethics as
well as ensuring that the data collection methods are the most effective for
the project.

 

This
project will enable the researcher to access the challenges that parents and
carers may face when establishing an effective bond, and identify the possible outcomes
on how to overcome the challenges. Through situating the research project in a
theoretical framework, guidance from philosophers allows an approach to be
formed to construct a valid methodology.

 

Essentially,
confirmation bias from the researchers point of view should be deliberated,
this could affect the results of the research project. The risk is of only
collecting or using data that is suitable and appropriate due to pre-existing perceptions
(Lillienfeld and Waldman, 2017), this will be eliminated through carefully
constructed research methodology approaches.

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