Researching the effects of early cochlear implantation and its impact on literacy in deaf students all around the world, it is important to learn the opinion of the users of implants and their families. Besides, the points of view of the teachers and supervisors working with deaf learners could contribute to the research. That way, the design suitable for this research is qualitative and narrative since the focus is the impressions of the quality of life and learning after the implantation. The narrative study will rely on multiple personal stories shared by the individuals, who have experienced the effects of the implants. It is important to include many pieces of evidence provided by the people experiencing cochlear implantation from different perspectives (users, their families, their tutors). Since the research is qualitative, the main objective is to find out the individuals’ interpretation of the effect produced by the implants. That way, the insights and opinions in the sampled materials are to be interpreted objectively, and any kind of bias should be avoided.
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The sampling technique for this research will be based on convenience. In other words, the materials comprising the sample will be selected from sources of various types located on the internet. The sources will be chosen based on their characteristics as determinants of their suitability for the research. The sources are to be personal stories and insights about cochlear implantation and its effects on literacy. Since the researched population is young children, the sources will be considered suitable if they present the commentary or parents, doctors, and teachers of deaf children with implants. Besides, since the implantations have been available since the 1980s, it is possible to find evidence from the actual users of implants who were provided with this intervention at a young age and now are in their 20s.
Google Search was used to find the sources for the study. The keywords and phrases included “cochlear implants”, “personal story”, “interview”, “teaching”, “life with cochlear implants”, and “impact of cochlear implants”. Currently, the sources evaluated as suitable were located on such websites as Children’s Dayton (http://www.childrensdayton.org/), Cochlear.com, cochlearimplantonline.com, and Benioff Children’s Hospital (http://www.childrenshospitaloakland.org/). The sources present the stories of children, interviews or narratives of parents, and other adults observing the users. For instance, the source called “Natalie’s Story” (2015) is told by a father of a girl with bilateral hearing loss who described his daughter’s learning progress.
The source called “Jessica’s Story: A Wonderful Blessing” (2008) explores the impact of both implantation and the Auditory-Verbal approach in a child with bilateral hearing loss and is told by the user personally. In addition to personal stories and insights, some theoretical literature such as manuals for teachers working with deaf children with cochlear implants may be used. For example, a technical assistance paper called “Meeting the Educational Needs of Students with Cochlear Implants” (2004) provides detailed information concerning various communication modes, challenges deaf students face in life and learning, and the background on cochlear implants as a device. The source by Stith and Drasgow (2005) lacks personal insights but contains valuable information about the functions of implants, illustrations of its position on a child’s head, and the specific instructions for the education providers who work with deaf and implanted children in the public school environments.
Since the present research is qualitative, the method of data collection suitable for it will be a literature review. In this case, the literature is represented by interviews and stories posted online. The validity of the results will be determined by the fact that all the materials eligible for the quality measurement will come from personal evidence and experiences related to using cochlear implants or closely communicating with children who use them on a daily basis.
The interviews and narratives will be processed for the purpose of evaluation of the messages they carry and the information the authors included deliberately or what they intended to say – the way cochlear implants impact the life of children with profound hearing loss, the way they facilitate learning, development, and literacy. The sources such as manuals for educators will not be included in the result measurements as they do not contain any personal opinions and impressions as to the use and effect of the explored intervention. The data from the interviews and individual stories will be assumed as trustworthy since the authors share their personal experiences that are the basis for the evaluation of the effectiveness of cochlear implants in this study.
As for the estimations of the results, it will be conducted based on the kind of wording the authors of the selected narratives and stories user. Positive comments on the implants and learning outcomes will signify the effectiveness of the intervention, and negative or critical commentary will be regarded as the sign of the ineffectiveness of implants.
The research will begin with the identification of sources based on the outlined criteria such as age (only the stories concerning the learning and developmental experiences of children are acceptable, those of adult people with hearing loss are to be dismissed), personal experiences (manuals, tips, recommendations, and textbooks should not be considered as suitable for the narrative research). The sources will be found online using Google Search. The approximate number of sampled writings should be significant (at least six different stories).
For instance, the story by Hartmann (2005) concerning her own implantation experience as a child is a valuable source, whereas the chapter called “What children with a cochlear implant need in school” (2015) can be used for the description and background parts only even though it was found on Cochlear.com, as it is a guide for an educator. After all the stories are located, they need to be carefully reviewed. The reader is to pay attention to sentences characterizing cochlear implants and their effects as positive or negative. The research will require evidence, so the passages suitable for evaluation should be marked for further citations.
As to confidentiality – since all of the sources for the research are located online and can be freely accessed by any user, the ethical issue of privacy should not be regarded as a problem as the reviewed information was intentionally provided and posted by them for public access.
The marked passages and sentences will be arranged in groups based on their messages. There will be two main groups – negative effects and positive effects. These groups may have subsections, such as social and learning outcomes. The overall quality will be based on the majority of opinions. The specific words used by the authors should not confuse the researcher. For instance, someone may call cochlear implants “magical,” and in another narrative, they will be regarded as “wonderful.” Both of the opinions will go to the “positive effects” group. After the results are processed – they may be presented in the form of a table for better visibility and accessibility. There may be more than one table. For example, the first one will demonstrate the overall correlation of positive and negative opinions, and the second table will reflect the summarized contents of each reviewed story individually.
The present study is based on the works selected by means of convenience sampling. This technique is mainly criticized for the biased sample of a small size that does not necessarily reflect the overall results and opinions of the population in general. Another limitation to the generalizability of the research results will be its limited diversity. The reviewed stories mainly come from the authors dwelling in the United States, so it may reflect the points of view of the American population, but the reviews from other countries would be necessary to create a more or less reliable idea concerning the popularity of cochlear implants in other parts of the world.
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One more aspect that may serve as a limitation is possible advertising of cochlear implants, and positive comments and stories of extremely positive outcomes can be fabricated just to attract the attention of new clients as a promotional technique for a website, a product, or a medical center. This limitation can be avoided if only reliable websites are used as sources of the materials for the research.
Hartmann, C. (2005). What Is Life Like After a Cochlear Implant for a Person Born Deaf? Web.
Jessica’s Story: A Wonderful Blessing. (2008). Web.
Meeting the Educational Needs of Students with Cochlear Implants. (2004). Web.
Natalie’s Story. (2015). Web.
Stith, J. L. & Drasgow, E. (2005). Including Children with Cochlear Implants in General Education Elementary Classrooms. Web.
What children with a cochlear implant need in school. (2015). Web.