Teen Smoking Behaviors Current Consequences Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

e. managerial, social, political, economic benefits are linked to the study's results) the proposed helpful outcomes are realistic (i.e. dealing with questions that can actually be answered through the type of data gathering and analysis you're proposing. The suggested helpful outcomes do not go beyond the data that's to be collected).

The increase in teen smoking may be abating, or may be taking a pause before it continues the climb seen in the past 10 years, from 1996 to 2005. In either case, reducing smoking at an early age has a lifelong effect on individuals' health, and can lead to better quality of life for millions of people who might otherwise take up smoking. A secondary benefit is that lessons learned may help to reduce the current 3.1 million teen smokers, many of whom try smoking and quit -- it would be useful to know why they started in the first place, and why they quit.

The objective of this information is to apply the information learned to future ad campaigns, most of which are funded by state tobacco settlement money.

Research Design

The study will focus on a high school in a mid-sized Texas town, but also include those who started high school, stayed in the same town, but dropped out before their senior year. In order to provide significant statistical results, the study will focus on over 1,000 students in the primary study, plus a control group of at least 400 students. It is hoped that findings in the control group (African-American teens) can be compared to the entire 1,000-student cohort, and to sub-cohorts of Hispanic and white teens.

This survey will be performed with questionnaires which ask the students about the following independent variables:

Body Mass Index -- the hypothesis is that there is a high correlation between high BMI and starting smoking. Does it also correlate with continuing to smoke?

Gender -- the hypothesis is that more boys than girls will take up smoking and continue to smoke; these numbers have changed in the past, so it would be useful to understand how they relate in this group studied.

Sexual behavior -- it may be that there are enough teen pregnancies to study that sub-group's smoking behavior. If not, the survey will cover some sexual behaviors, attempting to learn if the students engaged in sexual behavior prior to or during their high school years. The hypothesis is that early sexual behavior is a predictor for starting and continuing smoking, as is teen pregnancy.

Dropping out of high school -- the hypothesis is that dropping out of high school results in a higher propensity to start and continue smoking.

Home status -- the hypothesis is that those teens who come from single-parent households are more likely to start and continue smoking habits.

Church attendance -- the hypothesis is that church attendance frequency is negatively correlated with smoking initiation and continuation.

Dependent variables:

Exercise -- how much they exercise may be related to BMI

School sports participation -- may be related to BMI

It is not known if dropping out of high school is related to the 'problem syndrome,' as outlined in the literature review, above.

Extraneous Variable

It may be that the students' self-declared behaviors are not true, despite assurances that the results will be kept confidential. The study will poll 10% of the students' parents in order to verify some of the claims, such as regular church attendance, single- versus dual-parent households, and known smoking behavior. Although the parents may not be aware of all their children's activities, this will provide a useful cross-check of teen behaviors.

Scoring answers

The surveys will be made anonymous. A code will be used to tie together those students' results who also have results from parents, but these will be double-blinded for the study scorers.

Data Analysis

In addition to straight correlations, a regression analysis will be used in order to break students into specific groups of behavior. It may be found, for example, that those who are or have been pregnant participate in a number of other behaviors. By controlling for these variables, one may be able to establish influences of specific behaviors or demographic factors on the likelihood of smoking.

Statistical significance will depend on the number in the sample corresponding to specific correlations. if, for example, 100 of the 1,000 surveyed are heavy drinkers (over 1 drink per day), the 2 SD variation will be about 6%. The standard used for statistical significance will be a P<.05, or a number greater than 100 with a 95% confidence rate (i.e. 6% or lower). The correlation coefficients will be run on Excel 2007, and results will be explained as either 'statistically significant,' 'suggestive,' or 'not correlated.'

Nature and form of results

points) Shows a fictional data set (in an appendix) listing, at minimum, final scale "scores" for the IV and DV

See Appendix for data summary points) Shows statistical output for the analysis of the fictional data

See Appendix points) Directly states the research hypothesis and null hypothesis points) Correctly interprets the meaning of the statistical output, in relation to the null and research hypotheses.

The results showed a strong correlation between starting smoking and the following factors:

Boys more likely to continue smoking, although both boys and girls are as likely to try it.

Those who started early sexual behavior were more likely to start smoking and continue their smoking behavior.

Those who dropped out of high school were just as likely to start and continue smoking as those who engaged in early sexual behavior

Those from single-parent families were more likely than others to try smoking, and to continue smoking, although not at high a level as those who are sexually precocious.

Those who attend church regularly are more likely to start and continue smoking than those who don't, which ran counter to the hypothesis.

There was a significant correlation between behaviors: those who engaged in early sexual behavior were much more likely to be dropouts, to come from single-parent households, and less likely to attend church regularly.

Those with high BMI were less likely to exercise regularly. Those who exercised regularly were also likely to participate in school sports, and vice versa. As expected, the percentage of students participating in regular sports who tried smoking was nearly as high as those who didn't participate in sports, but they were much less likely to continue smoking.

A points) Correctly explains the conclusion to be reached from the statistical results: What do these results mean within the context of the original research problem

These results suggest that discreet variables, as posited, result in increases in continuing smoking behavior. The correlation between trial without continuation was relatively low across all behavioral groups. One can describe a 'problem syndrome,' in which those teens with one behavioral problems tended to have other behavioral problems, which explains why the smoking behavior was similar amongst those who were sexually precocious, obese and came from broken homes. The surprise was regular church attendance, which did not seem to negatively correlate with continued smoking behavior as thought -- perhaps the fairly high church-attendance rate (70%) mitigated the results

Qualification of researchers

Professional research competence is listed for each investigator (for some writers, MGMT 650 is the research competence component).

Relevant managerial experience is listed for each investigator (includes your experience within the industry you're investigating).

Professor John Q. Adams, Project Advisor

Professor of Business Research

Conducted or advised over 50 such studies

Member of the American Society of Research

John Doe, Project Leader

Graduate student in statistics and sociology

Participated in 10 such studies as study leader or participant in the study team

Co-author on 5 studies (list)

Jane Campion, Research Assistant

Undergraduate statistics major

Minor subject: sociology

Joe Boggs, Research Assistant

Undergraduate pre-med major

Has worked in stop-smoking clinic in the past

Others provided on a part-time or occasional basis


Major phases of the research project described above are listed in order of their proposed occurrence.

Schedule formulation 15 days

Screen and choose school 45 days

Establish parent/teacher supervision 15 days

Enroll students and dropouts 30 days

Complete student and parent surveys 15 days

Analysis of results 30 days

Report preparation 60 days

Facilties/Special Resources point)

Locations for data collection are listed Any special equipment needed for data collection is listed

The data collection will take place in the Texas high school, with facilities provided by that school. The school will receive a small recompense for the use of its facilities, and the (anonymous) results will be shared with the school and the community.

This will require a full-time project manager for the duration, two assistants for enrollment and administering the tests, and one assistant during the schedule formulation, screening process, and report preparation


Statistical results (sample)


Bobo, J.H. (2000). Sociocultural Influences on Smoking and Drinking. Alcohol Research & Health, 225-234.

Cooper, T.K. (2003). A prospective evaluation of the relationships…

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