Research Concepts and Ethics
This assignment for Module 1 consists of two parts: short‐answer questions; and responses to a short case related to type 2 diabetes, which will be introduced in this assignment and run through the entire course.
Part 1: Short-Answer Questions
1. Write your own definition of epistemology.
2. Consider Creswell’s four philosophical worldviews. Now consider your discipline—where do you think it sits within Creswell’s four philosophical worldviews? Explain your answer.
3. In the group discussion of Module 1, Lesson 2, you were part of a Research Ethics Board and evaluated the ethical merits of fictitious scenarios. Similarly, you are now asked to read the scenario below and describe the ethical considerations for this proposal. In your answer, refer to three ethical principles that you have learned about through the Module 1 readings and course notes, and state how each principle is related to the proposed research. If any principle is not dealt with appropriately, suggest what changes the research team might make. You may use the following table to structure your answer.
How is this principle an issue in the proposed research?
If this principle is not dealt with appropriately, what could they do differently?
A research team wants to examine the effectiveness of massage therapy provided by registered massage therapists on the pain experience of women in labor, as well as their request for analgesia during labour. The researchers plan to approach women in their second stage of labour (i.e., the time between when the cervix is fully dilated and the baby is delivered), when their pain appears to be greatest, and administer a written consent form. The consent form will include details of the massage offered, potential risks and benefits of receiving massage, and a statement that the labouring mother can discontinue involvement in the study at any time. All women who provide consent will immediately begin receiving massage, although the duration of the massage will be negotiated between the labouring woman and massage therapist. Women will be asked to rate their pain on a scale, and their use of pharmacological analgesia will be determined from their medication record. In order to ensure that the massage therapy session is not interrupted, the researchers plan to place a sign on the patient’s door indicating that a massage is in progress.
Part 2: Type 2 Diabetes Case and Responses
Type 2 Diabetes Background
In three of your assignments, you will consider questions related to a particular case involving type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes makes up about 90% of the cases of this disease (10% are related to type 1), and is primarily a metabolic disorder characterized by high blood glucose levels leading to insulin resistance and deficiencies. It is often related to obesity and poor diet in adults (though not exclusively), and, in its early stages, it is often managed by increased exercise and dietary change. There are a variety of complications that can arise from having high blood glucose levels, such as heart disease, kidney problems, blindness, and poor circulation.
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The rates of type 2 diabetes have increased, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized it as a global epidemic (WHO, 2012). In response, research into a variety of aspects of the disease, including prevention, epidemiology, and management (encompassing pharmacology, lifestyle interventions and other clinical approaches) has increased. As type 2 diabetes research is cross‐disciplinary, it is a good candidate to explore through the different research methods that we will cover during this course. We will work through the following case as part of each module.
Introduction to the Case
Meaghan is a 35‐year‐old woman who lives in Prince George, British Columbia. She has recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. In some ways, she was very surprised to receive the diagnosis, as she is healthy and fit, although two of her cousins on her mother’s side are also living with diabetes. Meaghan is very active, running and cycling regularly, but she does find it hard to keep working out consistently during the winter months. Furthermore, she has never considered her daily diet as particularly unhealthy. Currently, she is processing the news of her diagnosis and thinking about what it will mean to be dependent on blood glucose monitoring and possibly insulin shots. Her doctor has recommended that she take a closer look at some of her lifestyle options for improving her outlook as she lives with diabetes.
As we proceed through this course, we will revisit Meaghan and her progress as she begins her journey of understanding type 2 diabetes and the role the disease will play in her life.
Answer the following questions about the start of Meaghan’s journey:
1. Meaghan wants to look for quality research evidence. Peer-reviewed journals can be an important source of information. Write your own definition of “peer review” and discuss two advantages of looking for studies in peer-reviewed journals?
2. Meaghan has a lot of questions about type 2 diabetes. Some are about treatment and preventing complications (e.g., medications, diet and exercise, and monitoring and responding to blood glucose levels); others are about how people feel when they live with diabetes, their quality of life, ways they find support, etc. Write three research questions that Meaghan may have. For each of these questions, identify what research approach would be most appropriate. For ideas about quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research questions, you can search the relevant literature by using the TRU Library’s article databases. If you use any studies for the basis of your question, please cite these sources. You will explore this literature in more detail in the coming modules, so for now just a general database search should provide you with enough information.
3. Given what you know about Meaghan, what ethical considerations should she be aware of when she interacts with researchers and healthcare personnel?
4. What might Meaghan do to protect herself?