Research Reflection

Introduction

This paper presents a reflection of the events that occurred during my research fieldwork. The paper begins with a description of the events that occurred during the fieldwork that mainly involved interviewing the study participants on the cause and intervention strategies of teenage pregnancies. This is followed by the evaluation and analysis of the occurrences and final the provision of the future action plans that I intend to take to ensure that future field works are successful.

Description

In order to obtain findings for my research, I was to conduct interviews with the teenage professional and parents to obtain their views on the causes of teenage pregnancies in London and the intervention strategies that have been put in place to control the situation.  My fieldwork began with interviewing the professionals whom I accessed from their different offices in Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham. The next step was to interview the parents to obtain their views on the same. I decided to choose one of the residential estates in London in order to access these parents. I did not want to choose my neighborhood since I feared it might results into some form of bias in the data analysis due to my relationships with the parents in the region.

The interview process with the professional went smoothly and I managed to obtain comprehensive information from those interviewed. However, this was not the case in the interview conducted with the parents. Firstly I faced major challenges getting accessing to the estate since it was a gated community. The watchman in charge did not trust me so would allow me to get in easily. Even when I managed to get access into the estate, I still faced a number of challenges with most of the parents that I confronted to take part in the study. I wanted to engage the parents randomly and so chose on any one that I met along the pavements to provide the responses I needed. However, most of them were skeptical and some of them offered rude responses that made me loose in obtaining the answers. As much as I managed to get information from the estate, I went back feeling annoyed and tired for having received rude responses from some of the parents and for spending longer time in the field than I intended.

Feelings

I felt bad about being denied entry into the residential estate. I thought that by just explaining the purpose of my visit and providing a proof to justify that I am conducting a research, I would get access to the area without much confrontations with the gate keeper. I felt that he was nagging and asking unnecessary questions that were just consuming my time. Even after he allowed me in, I felt that he had treated me unfairly. However, after completing the interview and leaving the estate, I felt that the gate keeper was just doing his job of providing security. This feeling was also influenced by how well he communicated with me on my way out.

The first 8 parents I met also made me loss hope in conducting the study. The rude responses of being busy and unwilling to participate in such kind of study made me think that the topic I chose was not welcomed by most people. I wondered why most of the female parents that turned down my interview only did so after I mentioned the research topic. Later on I learned that people with experiences in teenage pregnancies are normally unwilling to talk about it. As Sedgh et al (2015) indicate, teenage pregnancies does not just have health problems to the teenager involved but can also results into psychological and emotional problems that might cause long term damages. I later thought that the women who turned downed my offer had either had teenage pregnancies or had daughters or any other close relative go through the same experience. As such, they were willing to talk about it or participate in any study that focuses on teenage pregnancy.

Evaluation

During the process of conducting the interview I felt that everyone I met did not want me to obtain the findings I needed for my research. From being denied access by the gate keeper at the initial stages and the parents declining my request to involve them in the study, I felt that that residence was not the best choice for carrying out the study. I felt that the people living in the region were unfriendly, proud and rude and were unwilling to talk to strangers. However, after I managed to engage about three parents in the study, I realized that there were some parents in the region who were hospitable. Moreover, following my friendly communication, with the gate keeper I also learned that he had actually not disrespected me as I had earlier thought.

My bad feelings were even more neutralized when I later talked to a fellow student on their experience. I realized that not everyone will be willing to be involved in a research. The personality of every person differs and there are those who will talk nicely to strange people while others are likely to be arrogant and rude. As Cooper (2015) posits, the personality that different people have influences their nature of interactions with others that their either live with or meet. This therefore explained why I got different kinds of responses from the different parents that I approached to take part in the research.

I was annoyed by all those who declined my request to take part in the researcher. I thought that they were looking down upon me thus not wanting to interact with me in any way. However, I came to realize that I needed only to be annoyed by those who offered rude responses or just passed me by when I approached them to take part in the study. There were those who declined to take part in the study but did so humbly with much respect. Initially, I was annoyed by their actions, but later on, I realized that they were well mannered. Cervone and Pervin (2015) have pointed out that it is not mandatory for one to respond to the request that is presented before you, however, one need to have courtesy and respect in declining the request so that the other party does not feel offended. Since everyone has their reasons for not taking part in the study, I realized that I ought not to have condemned those who had declined to take part in the study humbly and with a lot of respect, but those who were rude. However, from the experience of the other researchers as well, l learnt that one must meet individuals who are unwilling to take part in the study and those who are willing  since people have different personalities and different past experiences.

Analysis

The occurrences at the gate of the residence occurred due to my own failures. I feel that I should have informed the gate keeper earlier on that I was intending to carry out the research in that residential estate. I felt I should have done this the previous evening before coming to conduct the real study the following day. This would have ensured that I respond to all his queries in a different date from the day of the interview. The same view is held by Garner & Scott (2013) when they stated that the researcher needs to seek permission from the relevant authorities to the area where the study participants are located prior to the study; This is important note just to gain easy access to the premises but also to give the people in charge to inform the study participants on the supposed research that is to take place in the region. I felt that my seeking for this permission earlier own would have ensured that I do not get into controversial discussions with the gate keeper as well as I do not take a longer time carrying out the study.

I also feel that I would have talked to the gate keeper politely for him to have a clear understanding of the purpose of my visit. Rather than just saying I wanted to engage parents in a research, I needed to have clearly explained the reason why I chose the region. His worry was on the fact that parents can be accessed from most parts of the city and was just worried about my genuineness in accessing the residence to only carry out a study. Apart from just offering my national identification card, I feel I should have offered my student identification card and the note from the research department indicating that I am actually carrying out a research. Through the vivid explanation and justification of my authenticity in carrying out the research, the gate keeper would have believed me and thus we would have avoided the arguments and confrontations that we had.

I feel that the incidence that occurred with the parents who declined my respect was my own making as well as the fault of the parents I met. I feel is should have stated with providing the informed consent forms to every person I met. According to Damianakis & Woodford (2012) informing the study participants on the nature of the project as well as indicating that the issues of confidentially will be assured, is a sure way of convincing a number of people to take part in a study. I am certain there were some parents who were willing to take part in the study but were scared that the information they give might be leaked or used for other purposed. The informed consent would have assisted me convince most of them to take part in the study. I also felt that I should have started different discussions with the parents who declined my request. Rather than being annoyed and walking away, I could have engaged the parents in a form of a personal discussion and moved away from the study. Through this approach, I would have known why they are unwilling to take part in the study. In case that I found out that having an experience in teenage pregnancy is the reason, I would have directed the discussion in a way that it assists me obtain the responses I needed. As Wahyuni (2012) indicates informal interviews can be effectively used to draw information from study respondents who are unwilling to take part in an official interview. This approach would have therefore gain information from even study participants that were unwilling to be involved in the research.

The parents who offered rude responses also made the situation worse. They should have listened to my explanations on the reasons for conducting the research and on the fact that I will offer maximum confidentiality to the information they provide, before responding rudely to my responses. Moreover, they ought to have just declined the request politely and with respect as some did. Nevertheless, after learning on the different personalities and characters that people have within the society, I came to the realization that such kinds of people cannot be eliminated in the society. As such, one should focus on dealing with those who are willing to participate in the study and leave those who are not. As Garner & Scott (2013) shows the research is likely to run smoothly when the study participants willingly take part in the study. As such, one should focus on getting willing participants to obtain quality findings.

Conclusion

I feel there are some things that I should have done differently when carrying out an interview. I should have sought for permission from the relevant authorities prior to the date of the interview. I learnt that this communication with the authority is relevant in ensuring that the research process goes on smoothly. I did the same when carrying out the interview with the professionals thus certain that seeking for permission prior to the interview date is very important. I should have also provide an informed consent to the parents I met prior to communicating my research topic. This would have convinced them to take part in the study since the information presented is secured. I should have also engaged the parents in a form of personal discussion so as to understand their reasons for declining the offer. This would have ensured that I do not judge them wrongly and that I do not develop a feeling of being rejected. This would have ensured that the field work carries on smoothly as I had expected.

Future Action Plan

In future I will ensure that I develop a participant informed consent form before carrying out any interview that involves direct interaction with the interviewees. Since this is an ethical requirement of research that I ignored, I am in the process of carrying out research on how to develop and use the informed consent when carrying out these kinds of studies.

I will also ensure that I seek for permission from the relevant authorities before the day of the interview. I have learnt that the authorities cannot be ignored since they have the ability to either allow you or deny your access to the location. Overly, I will ensure that I take the issues of ethical consideration in research very seriously in my next research field work.

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