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Data collection and analysis are very complex tasks that can be accomplished using a variety of different approaches. These tasks need to be put into practice thoroughly because errors during the collection of data or its analysis can undermine the results of the whole study and compromise its reliability and validity. This paper focuses on the collection and analysis of data in the study by Rew that targeted the self-care behaviors of homeless youth. The paper discusses the processes that appeared from the data, its presentation, and its accuracy.
The article under analysis is titled “A Theory of Taking Care of Oneself Grounded in Experiences of Homeless Youth” it was written by Lynn Rew and published in Nursing Research in 2003. The article targets the self-care and hygiene knowledge and behaviors among the population of homeless youth.
Categories and Processes that Emerged from the Data
The data for this study were collected using tape-recording the interviews with 15 homeless participants ages 16 to 20. The records of the interviews with the participants were then transcribed and analyzed carefully with the help of notes. Further, the constant comparative method was applied for a purpose to code the data and break it down into categories; the process was speeded up by specialized software that helped the researchers ensure a higher level of rigor and efficiency (Rew, 2003). The appropriate data interpretation was achieved by means engaging some of the participants in the process of interpretation who agreed that the understanding was correct.
Overall, the recordings of the interviews underwent the following processes:
- Open coding
- Categorizing of the data (Rew, 2003).
First of all, the interviews were analyzed line by line. Besides, each of the interviews was compared to the other ones to find similar patterns and wording. The interview transcriptions were reread and recoded several times for better precision and rigor. The use of the axial coding process resulted in the appearance of the word categories that reflected such aspects as context and causes (Rew, 2003). The revealed 12 categories were analyzed using diagramming for better visibility of their correlations and patterns; and as a result, subcategories were identified that further were related to three major categories. The researchers were focused on the further refinement of the data context and content and repeated the processes involving rereading and recording several more times.
In particular, the processes that were identified by the researchers involved three major aspects – “Becoming Aware of Oneself, Staying Alive with Limited Resources, and Handling One’s Own Health” (Rew, 2003, p. 236). The three categories comprised the overall process of self-care in an environment with a high level of risk and limitation. Further, each of the three identified categories was subdivided into two processes based on several different strategies. For example, Rew (2003) specifies that “self-care for homeless/street youths, is a process of deciding and acting in ways that enhance basic self-respect (caring about oneself) and that promote health” (p. 237).
To be more precise, the author mentioned that this process started from the acknowledgment of the young people that their lives at home were less healthy and more dangerous than the environments they would be faced with living in the streets (Rew, 2003). Practically, the author connects the concept of self-care with self-awareness and self-respect of the participants; she explains that making up their minds to leave homes, the young people begin moving towards gaining better self-esteem that assumes taking care of themselves and their health and wellbeing. The categories and processes outlined by the author carefully reflect the aims of the study and the research question approaching it not only from the practical perspective but holistically focusing on the environments of the participants as a whole and separating their self-care patterns from their histories and situations.
The Author’s Presentation of Results
Judging from the description of all the tasks that were involved in the data collection, processing, and analysis, there was a very substantial amount of work done for a purpose to identify the patterns in the 15 interviews and establish categories, subcategories, and strategies of self-care. However, the data presented in the research is surprisingly poor.
In particular, the author presents the demographic characteristics of the participants – their pseudonyms, age, sex, ethnicity, and general features and characteristics (brief background descriptions) outlined in the form of a table; and also, the author provides a scheme of the three major categories of taking care of oneself in a high-risk environment – staying alive with limited resources (that includes self-preservation and self-protection), becoming self-aware (with such strategies as acquiring self-respect and forming self-reliance), handling own health (the included activities are the interactions with the others and overcoming obstacles) (Rew, 2003). The scheme used for the presentation of these categories is very basic and reflects just this part of the data analysis. However, in reality, the body of information was rather large and included a variety of aspects.
The author chooses to present the findings in the form of a discussion and using the quotations from the interviews to support her arguments. The discussion itself is clear and easy to understand. The author did a good job explaining how the findings are related to one another and what behavioral and wording patterns were established during the analysis of the interviews. At the same time, it would be helpful if one more table was included in the presentation of data that would reflect the phrases and answers of the respondents that were coded, coding categories, and some of the most common responses. This approach would significantly improve the accessibility of the findings and raise the clarity of discussion carried out by the author. In that way, it is possible to make a conclusion that that evidence provided to support the research findings was substantial, but the way it was presented could have been improved and made more comprehensive.
Nursing Implications of the Research
The purpose of the study was to evaluate the self-care habits and patterns in homeless individuals whose homelessness was a choice and a way to protect themselves from abusive environments. The research findings contribute to a better understanding of the nursing practitioners of what motivates the self-care habits and which intention is behind an individual’s desire to preserve their health and wellbeing. Namely, the study reveals that the search for self-sufficiency, confidence, and an attempt to build up one’s self-esteem serve as the drivers of one’s voluntary self-care. The participants of the research engaged in self-care in a highly limited environment with multiple health threats. This environment could be likened to that of people suffering from various conditions that complicate their usual self-care routine so the motivators could be required.
Rew, L. (2003). A Theory of Taking Care of Oneself Grounded in Experiences of Homeless Youth. Nursing Research, 52(4), 234-241.