Introduction and Purpose Statement Defined
In this week’s assigment, I am turning my attention to article B, to evaluate the introduction and purpose statement. The authors reporting on a qualitative study use the introduction to provide the audience with a narrative to introduce the topic, to identify that the topic is well-established, beginning with the general problem, then focusing on a specific problem and its consequences (Creswell, 2009; Harley, Buckworth, Katz, Willis, Odoms-Young & Heaney, 2007; Laureate Education, Inc., 2009).
The authors additionally use the introduction to justify the importance of the problem associated with the topic, identify discrepancies in literature, and conclude with the purpose of the study. The introduction is an important aspect of a journal article, because it not only provides background information, and allows the authors to describe the problem by exploring a specific phenomenon or concept, but it also provides how the study will provide remedies or solutions, and adds to the existing knowledge base (Creswell, 2009; Laureate Education, Inc., 2009; Harley et al., 2007).
The introduction concludes with the purpose statement, which establishes the direction of the research, orients readers to the main intent of the study, and what the researchers hope to accomplish (Creswell, 2009).
Qualitative research uses the purpose statement to focus on and advance a single phenomenon by exploring relationships or by drawing comparisons among ideas using neutral language. In addition, it demonstrates inquiry strategies for data collection, analysis, and research processes, identifies the participants, and the site at which the research takes place (Creswell, 2009).
In the following paragraphs, the introduction and purpose statement elements of the McGrath & Pistrang (2007) article are examined and evaluated, along with some of the nine purposes for research from as described by Newman, Ridenour, Newman & DeMarco (2003).
Evaluation of the Introduction of Article B (McGrath & Pistrang (2007)
McGrath & Pistrang (2007) begin to introduce the topic of interest in their abstract, by mentioning what the study examined, defining who the participants were, the location where the study took place, data collection
methodology, three dimensions of qualitative data collection and analysis, and the issue involved in the topic. As described by Creswell (2009), Dr. Patton (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009), and Harley et al. (2007), the authors begin to justify the study in the first paragraph of the introduction by citing that the topic is a well-established concern, and mention a specific cultural and sub-cultural population, by mentioning that the study took place in the U. K, and involves youth and staff at homeless hostels. McGrath & Pistrang (2007) explore the past extent of the problem, along with how it has changed in recent times, giving statistics outlining the extent of the problem.
The authors then identify past research that has identified youths at homeless hostels as being at greater risk for social, emotional, and physical problems to a much greater extent than other people in the same age group. The authors narrow the problem by asserting that homeless youth living in hostels lack of supportive social networks to help improve their experiences, and address the difficulties associated with defining whether their problems are causes or consequences of being homeless youths.
McGrath & Pistrang (2007) maintain that previous authors recommended that hostels hire older staff to establish or offer youth surrogate parent relationships, and address a specific discrepancy as failure to expand on how the relationship would work, offering no theoretical model for programs to follow for working with homeless youth. Furthermore, they examine specific staff helper elements of warmth, empathy, and acceptance as important issues to address, which contribute to the quality of the relationship between hostel workers and homeless youth.
The authors define the relationship between homeless youth and hostel workers as the broad investigation and aim of the study, the areas and aspects of the hostels, the range of time youth spend at hostels, and the types of support youth and staff required so that the programs are beneficial. They indicate that staff members often have little training or education regarding their role, or how to effectively work with, and support the needs of homeless youth. Their introduction concludes by describing the purpose statement and research methodology, described next.
Research Purposes as Described by Newman et al. (2003)
Newman et al. (2003) describe nine elements, which may be included in the purpose statement. Adding to the existing knowledge base, the impact on a personal, social, and organizational level, understanding complex phenomena, generating new ideas, informing constituencies, and examining the past all seem to be relatively important features in the McGrath & Pistrang (2007) article.
The authors are attempting to add to the existing knowledge base by describing the aim of the study as examining the experiences and elements involved in the relationship between residents and hostel workers, based upon the perceptions of the residents. They provide the direction of the study, by indicating why it was qualitative, which justifies the research. McGrath & Pistrang (2007) mention using a phenomenological approach, which is used to enlighten the audience to the specific issue of the nature of the relationship between homeless youth and hostel workers.
They identify the phenomena as having three helping or supportive elements of warmth, empathy, and acceptance on behalf of the staff, based upon the perceptions of the residents. Therefore, they are including the impact of these elements on the residents on a personal, social, and organizational level to explain the complexities involved in the phenomena, and to inform constituencies (Newman et al., 2003). McGrath & Pistrang (2007) examine the past in order to interpret and reinterpret findings, examine discrepancies and consistencies, and examine social and historical origins of the current social issue.
The authors accomplish this by mentioning that there has been little research focusing on the psychological issues related to the experiences of homeless individuals, and the need to study the issue in a social context. Their phenomenological method of inquiry justifies the aim of the study, which was to obtain accounts of the experiences of the homeless youth, and the emotional, empathetic, and acceptance levels of staff to improve upon services, as to make programs more beneficial.
The three dimensions of emotional, empathetic, and acceptance levels of hostel staff generate new ideas, helped the researchers form the hypothesis and theory, and to describe and define relationships, along with culture and sub-culture. For example, the authors define the relationship between residents and hostel workers on the three dimensions, and they describe the U. K. as a specific general culture, and the sub-cultures as the homeless youth and hostel workers as the participants of the study.
The two sub-cultures exist within the larger cultural population, as homeless youth living in two different types of hostels, and the work sub-culture described as the uneducated or undertrained staff members at the two types of hostels (McGrath & Pistrang, 2007). The general culture, along with the two sub-cultures are used in order to describe why the specific methodology of interviewing residents was utilized, further justifying why they conducted the research, the studies aim, and strategies for improving conditions.
In conclusion, there is a great deal more to say about the McGrath & Pistrang (2007) article, but overall, I found many of the key elements included in the introduction, described by Dr. Patton (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009), Creswell (2009), and Harley et al. (2009). I was also able to identify several of the nine features of the purpose statement, as proposed by Newman et al. (2003), found in the way that McGrath & Pistrang (2007) addressed the purpose of the study.
Examining and evaluating the writing of these authors gave me an opportunity to gain a much greater understanding of the key elements and concepts regarding the nature and importance of the introduction and purpose statements.
Creswell, J. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (3rd ed). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Harley, A. E., Buckworth, J., Katz, M. L., Willis, S. K., Odoms-Young, & Heaney, C. A. (2007). Developing long-term physical activity participation: A grounded theory study with African American women. Health Education & Behavior, doi:10.1177/1090198107306434
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Purposes of Research. Baltimore: Author.
McGrath, L., & Pistrang, N. (2007). Policeman or friend? Dilemmas in working with homeless young people in the United Kingdom. Journal of Social Issues, 63(3), 589-606. doi 10.1111/j.1540-4560.2007.00525.x
Newman, I., Ridenour, C. S., Newman, C., & DeMarco, G. M. P. (2003). A typology of research purposes and its relationship to mixed methods. In A. Tashakkori & C. Teddlie (Eds.), Handbook of mixed methods in social and behavioral research (pp. 167-188). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.