A Methodological Consideration and Methodological Design Suitable to Examine Teenage Pregnancy

A Methodological Consideration and Methodological Design Suitable to Examine Teenage Pregnancy

Melissa Jordan (Middle Georgia State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6108-8.ch002
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Teen pregnancy can be a sensitive topic, and understanding how to capture significant, rich, and robust information from this unique population will depend on the research methodological design implemented by the researcher. Understanding the unique challenges faced by teenage mothers and developing strategies for them to overcome these challenges will likely improve their educational and social experiences in the future. It can also deter teenagers from future practices that could lead to risky behaviors resulting in teenage motherhood. There are several methodological research designs that can be used to examine teen pregnancy. This chapter will discuss phenomenological methods and why they could be considered the best suited in understanding this phenomenon.
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Teen pregnancy is considered to be an important topic for public health research due to the social cultural impact it has on not just at the national level but on a global level as well. According to the Centers of Disease Control (2017), a total of 229, 715 babies were born to women between the ages of 15-19 years old, for a birth rate of 22.3 per 1,000 women. The need to improve the quality of life opportunities for teen mothers and their children is a necessary factor in decreasing the billions of dollars spent on health care and foster care. Research statistics document a decrease in teenage birth rates within U.S., a drop of 8% from 2014, with a fall of up to 9% for women aged 15-17 years and 7% for women aged 18-19 years (CDC, 2017). Despite this decrease in numbers in teen pregnancy, the U.S. rate is still substantially higher than any other western industrialized nations, with persistent racial/ethnic and geographic disparities (CDC, 2017). According to the Centers of Disease Control (2017) and The Power to Decide (formally known as the The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 2016), understanding the importance of teen pregnancy prevention is vital for existing health disparities, in promotion of educational attainment and achievement and to increase employability potential. Teen pregnancy can be a sensitive topic and understanding how to capture significant, rich, and robust information from this unique population will depend a lot on the research methodological design chosen by the researcher. The problem revolves around identifying the appropriate research methodology which would allow understanding the issue and its aftermath in complete totality.

Phenomenology happens to be an effective research methodology to understand the lived experiences of a teen mother, her challenges, decisions and views. The aim of phenomenological research is to describe accurately the lived experiences of the participants and capture the meaning in these lived experiences. The researcher’s job is to transform the lived experience in such a way that the individual who is reading the text is actually re-living and reflecting on what is meaningful to that particular participant.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Phenomenology: Phenomenology is a type of qualitative research focused on gaining an understanding of the human behaviors through the eyes of the participants in the study. Phenomenology is inspired by the phenomenon of human consciousness and is a reflective analysis of the life-world experiences.

Reduction: A task of describing what one is seeing in not only the terms of the external object, but also the internal act of consciousness. This requires the task of looking and describing and looking again and describing.

Memoing: The act of recording reflective notes about what the researcher (fieldworker, data coder, and/or analyst) is learning from the data.

Reflection: A qualitative method that occurs throughout the phenomenological approach. The objective of reflection is to provide a systematic, clean, and coherent sense of development of the analysis and synthesis needed to interpret the lived experience.

Transcendental: The special method of the eidetic reduction by means of which the phenomena are described. Used interchangeable with “phenomenology.” through the method of imaginative variation, (examples of instantiation, and comparative examination) the invariant or eidetic aspects of a particular phenomenon are explicated.

Epoche: Is a Greek word used by Husserl meaning to stay away or abstain from presupposition, or judgments about the phenomena under the investigation.

Imagine Variation: A qualitative method which seeks possible meanings through the utilization of imagination, varying the frames of reference, employing polarities, and reversals, and approaching the phenomenon from divergent perspective, roles and functions.

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