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This paper discusses methods that could be used in data gathering and analysis with an aim of developing the most suitable nursing intervention to deal with various problems. In this case, the problems are the issues of different eating habits among different groups of people, especially teenagers. The need for this has been brought about by the recent spike in number of eating disorders, which has been largely due to influence of media, which tends to promote a specific body type as the ideal body type. In order to achieve this ideal image, teenagers have increasingly cut back or increased their food intake, leading to the various food disorders, observed in recent times. It is a high time that an effective intervention be created to combat this issue so as to promote healthy eating habits and a healthier population in the long-run. To create this intervention, however, research has to be done to find out the specific problems that are experienced, the number of people, affected by the said problems, and to find out which strategy would be most effective to achieve maximum results. The paper also discusses the issues of differing eating habits with various factors such as gender and socio-economic factors. The socio-economic aspect includes factors such as education, different levels of income and different social status and the effects that these factors have on teenager eating habits.
Prior to the actual gathering of data, a very crucial step to the success of data gathering process is the pre-collection stage, which involves a number of activities. This step is important as it provides a plan for data gathering, providing focus on the activities towards achieving certain pre-set objectives. It enables research be performed without drifting out of research scope and helps make most of the time, allocated for the research. This stage involves deciding on objectives of the data gathering process. In our case, the objectives, decided upon, would be those questions that would have to be answered by the research and these would include: the average amount of food intake, the type of foods most commonly consumed, the socio-economic status, education among others. These would help set clear guidelines for the research to be carried out. It also involves finding out the amount of resources that are available for research and deciding on a methodology that fits with the available budget. A method for carrying out the research is decided upon and, then, it can proceed to the actual data gathering stage.
An important aspect of data gathering that has to be taken into account when going out into the field to gather data is the issue of ‘sampling’. In cases, where there is a wide source of data such as the one discussed above, it is almost impossible to conduct research on each and every teenager to find out his or her eating habits. Though possible it would be overly time consuming and expensive and would defeat the reason for the study. In such cases, a fraction of the research base is selected for the actual research and is assumed to be an accurate representation of the whole population. The choosing of this representative fraction is done through various methods, which may be random or non-random.
Various methods may be used to gather data. Perhaps the most effective method would be conducting of personal interviews with the people being researched on, whom in this case happen to be the teenagers themselves. Conducting an interview is a skill, which is mastered through practice by the interviewer on the best way to approach the interviewee and how to obtain accurate information. There are various types of interviews; one of them is the face to face interview, which is said to give the highest response and participation from the interviewee. It enables the interviewer to build a rapport with interviewee and he can clarify any ambiguous issues as they come up. It is, however, not cost-effective for larger research bases. Another form of interview is the telephone interview. An advantage of this form is that it is relatively cheap as no cost incurred on commuting; also distance is not an issue because researcher can interview virtually anybody who owns a phone. Its response rate is, however, not as high as that of face to face mode of interview. The research may also be biased to only include people who own phones (Olsen, 2012). An upcoming method of data gathering is the computer assisted personal interviews, which is done with the help of laptops or other personal computers.