Relationship of Eating Disorders Self-Esteem Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

These suppositions allow the researcher to view the world from a certain perspective while ignoring other perspectives. The researcher in this study assumes that his subjects are logical human beings who have a rationale point-of-view. Their thinking is valid and reasonable and their approach is more or less along the lines of scientific thinking. In addition, we assume that commonsense thinking and scientific thinking are more or less identical in nature. With these assumptions in mind, we take a post-positivism philosophical foundation; as in line with Trochim (2000) post-positivism is the outright denial of positivism (which argues that the laws of the nature are perfunctory and therefore deductive reasoning can be the only suitable approach to comprehend nature) and presupposes that day-to-day human and scientific reasoning are more or less the same and in order to understand reality, researchers have to use not only deductive but also inductive reasoning (Trochim, 2000). Therefore, it is believed that post-positivism philosophy will assist the researcher to achieve his objectives with precision, accuracy, clarity and relevance.

2. Research Approach

Conceptualization of eating disorders is a relatively novel issue and as a result the theoretical frameworks available in its literature have not been completely explored. Therefore, the researcher plans to explore this issue in depth by utilizing an inductive approach. He plans to collect data by interviewing the subjects and examining the findings. The purpose is to uncover consistent and identical patterns in the thinking of the subjects so that some original results can be sketched, which can help other researchers in their study of eating disorders. Trochim (2000) points out that an inductive approach is highly accepted for studies that aim to develop a theory. He points out that in an inductive approach; the researcher employs a bottom up approach where he moves from specific and precise themes to general theories.

3. Research type and Time line

The researcher plans to utilize a cross-sectional point-of-view as this study analyzes the characteristics of eating disorders based on structured interviews conducted in a single point in time. Trochim (2000) points out that cross-sectional research studies take a small piece from the topic at a single point in time. This is in contrast with longitudinal studies which take on two (or sometimes even more than two more) measurements in different times (Trochim, 2000). After considering the time and budget of this study, the researcher chose a cross-section research perspective.

4. Data Collection Methods

It has already been pointed out that the current literature on eating disorders lacks empirical and observational studies. The researcher plans to end this disparity by carrying out in depth and formal interviews doctors who treat eating disorders and those patients who have an eating disorder. For that reason the data being collected for this study is going to be non-numeric and therefore qualitative. Trochim (2000) points out that a qualitative method is in contrast with a quantitative one as it takes into consideration wide-ranging data, that may include videos, sounds, photographs and alphabetical text along with other non-numeric data (Trochim, 2000). The researcher believes that the qualitative method will perfectly fit the aims of this study.

Data Evaluation

Evaluation of the data will be based on calculating the intended affect or the outcomes/results of the study. The method used to measure the results of the study will be the same as those found in other research synthesis studies. We will also look into the process with which the results have been obtained so that limitations in the methods can be determined and improvements can be suggested.

5. Qualitative Method

The researcher plans to carry out in depth and formal interviews with doctors who treat eating disorders and those patients who have an eating disorder. The qualitative method selected for this study is going to be a survey interview. The researcher will be directly involved in the data collection process, as well as, experience the thinking, rationale, acquaintance and understanding of reality by the subjects. Formal interview protocols will help the researcher by providing sufficient information to construct general theories. Trochim (2000) points out that despite the fact there are a number of methods to execute qualitative studies, the most commonly used method amongst scholars is the survey-interview as it gives flexibility to the researcher to fulfill his/her objectives (Trochim, 2000).

6. Qualitative Validity

Interviews are carried out by using identical procedures for all the subjects. In this way differences and dissimilarities in the subjects' responses are ascribed to genuine differences and dissimilarities in the studied sample. Furthermore, differences and dissimilarities in the results are not ascribed to attributes of either the instruments or the methodology. In order to facilitate reduction/elimination of such mistakes, all interviews are maximally standardized throughout the procedure (Cohen et al., 2000).

7. Sampling Strategy

All interviewees are selected through personal contracts. Therefore, non-probability purposive sampling is used to select the sample for this study. Trochim (2000) points out that non-probability purposive sampling assists the researcher in selecting the sample with a specific purpose in mind. The researcher can stay in line with his/her purpose and utilize the sample that he/she feels will generate the most accurate, in depth, precise, complete and reliable results (Trochim, 2000). After careful deliberation, the researcher believes that non-probability purposive sampling will go well with the aims of this study.

8. Data Analysis

Since the data collected from in depth and formal interviews will be non-numeric; therefore, this study will use coding techniques to analyze the data. The researcher will compare and contrast the results of this study with the results of previous studies highlighted in the literature review (chapter 2). Identical patterns will be separated and revealed; similarly, new emerging patterns will also be illustrated and pointed out. This method will assist the researcher in (1) revealing the personal characteristics of people who have eating disorders; (2) understanding the factors that cause eating disorders amongst teenagers; (3) exploring the relationship eating disorders, depression and social / ethnic backgrounds. Cohen, Manion and Morrison (2000) point out that comparing the qualitative results with the results of previous studies allows the researcher to draw attention towards the emerging patterns amongst the population and provides incentives for additional research on the same topic.

Chapter 4: Findings

This chapter compares and contrasts the results of this study with the results of previous studies highlighted in the literature review (chapter 2). Identical patterns have been separated and revealed; similarly, new emerging patterns have also been illustrated and pointed out. This method has assisted the researcher in designing a general theory about (1) the personal characteristics of people who have eating disorders; (2) understanding the factors that cause eating disorders amongst teenagers; (3) exploring the relationship eating disorders, depression and social / ethnic backgrounds. The results will be highlight the eating disorder habits formed under the following influences: cultural belief and body image; anxiety; social settings; parental behavior; economic issues; emotional expression; ethnic identity; stress physical-self.

The impact of cultural belief and body image on eating habits

Many researchers have characterized body image as a subjective occurrence rather than an objective one. Body image is formed by customs and mores about the desired physical appearances of both males and females emanating from the society. By applying this definition, one finds that self-esteem and eating disorder habits are directly proportional to the level of cultural standards an adolescent believes he/she has attained. Practitioners studying body image and eating disorders have found that girls are increasingly becoming victims of severe eating disorders as they are surrounded by ideal images of women who not only depict physical perfection by being thin, sexual and inactive; but also portray social and economic success. Several research studies have confirmed that female adolescents who are at the beginning of menses are more likely to develop lower self-esteem as they end gaining nearly one third of additional fat. Furthermore, these girls are a higher tendency to develop negative eating habits in order to compensate for their weight gain. Other studies have also confirmed that post-menses adolescent females are also highly likely to develop higher levels of self-esteem due to (1) biological changes occurring in their body and (2) the media representation of an ideal body image. Similarly, numerous researches have also found that girls developed lower levels of self-esteem because they are constantly being told that they are imperfect regardless of how thin or beautiful they are. Other studies found similar results and concluded that the strong link between lower self-esteem, eating disorders and body image should not surprise anyone (Klump, 2004).

The impact of anxiety on eating disorders amongst adolescents

Byrne (2000) in his study found strong links between anxiety, eating disorders and low self-esteem amongst adolescents. He founded his study on two theories, namely (1) classical turmoil theory and (2) normality theory (Byrne, 2000). Bulik (2004) in his study found that these two theories have dominated most of the subject of study on the adolescents and their eating behaviors. The turmoil theory mainly concentrates…

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