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An Exploratory Study, Research Paper Example

Pages: 12

Words: 3231

Research Paper

“The problem of this research paper is to determine (1) whether factors related to drug-exposed infants’ allegations would be substantiated; (2) whether factors related to a drug exposed infants’ constitute maltreatment.” [1](Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M, 2007). The introduction gives rise to the issues at hand but also confers to articulate about other related issues that in my opinion may not be relevant to the case study. The purpose of the research is clearly defined but the methods by which the research is validated are not obvious nor do they sustain the empirical and theoretically based data. Hence, a quantity of of the information given is significant yet other significant research is absent that could support the hypothesis and lead to a stronger supported conclusion. These allegations will be discussed further in detail during the process of this exploratory study.

The significance of the research is to determine a valid methodology for analysis that will eventually pilot a valid conclusion from supported data. Factors related to drug exposed infants during pregnancy which leads to child maltreatment after birth should be seriously analyzed. “At present this study reveals that Child Protective Services obtained data from Nevada County from the years of 1998-2001. They assume populations are ‘normally distributed’. The test also assumes that ‘variances within the group tested’ are equivalent. “Non-parametric testing in contrast yields certain sample data that produces a value or statistical data. This value is then interpreted for the likelihood of its chance occurrence according to some type of statistical probability distribution.” An example is the Chi Square (X2).” [2](“Statistical, 2008).  [3](Key J., 1997).

“The tests are not so reliable because a positive drug screen for mother or infant at birth does not necessarily mean that there an allegation is substantiated in most states. CPS must find evidence ‘independent’ from a positive alcohol or drug test in order to substantiate a case.” [4](Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M, 2007). This can be positive and negative. The positive side is that it protects the mother’s inalienable civil rights; negative side is the infants’ rights are not protected in the mean time while independent testing is being conducted. CPS currently has no ‘temporary interim’ in place to protect the infant whom is the ‘victim’ in the situation.  I certainly understand that drug and alcohol testing can sometimes produce ‘false positives’ and the need to confirm is ever present, but the issue is then to efficiently to ensure the independent testing is conducted by a stipulated regulation or guideline or some type or some monitoring is conducted on the home situation in the interim. The alleged positive should not be treated as a ‘negative or neutral’ result for the protection of the infant. The purpose is not to infringe a mother’s civil rights only to protect the infants’ rights. Most of these tests are conducted by Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectroscopy and the results are considered valid unless there is an error by the technician or some instrumental error. Scientists have developed protocols to diminish both forms of error. Instruments are checked daily and technician techniques are controlled by round robin testing.  Field testing conducted initially may not be supported as valid scientifically because of the measures used to conduct the testing. Examples are urine and saliva testing usually conducted at the CPS office. They are used as a general initial testing to instrumental testing for validation.

“Price (1999) identified a possible hypothesis that theorizes previous family involvement with CPS and a degree of severity of maltreatment factor in child abuse substantiation. This hypothesis was hypothesized by Eckinrode, Powers, Doris, Munsch and Bolger (1988) indicating that a ‘professional source’ of a report increased the likelihood of case substantiation depending on the type of maltreatment and the child’s ethnicity.” The hypothesis is formed from a viewpoint of the literature but several points are eliminated when forming the hypothesis such as test reliability and substantiation of allegations. The researcher appears to go directly into the testing and reporting of findings rather than making a true hypothesis with relation to these matters. [5](Sun, Freese & Fitzgerald, 2007).  “Other hypotheses mentioned in this study are ethnicity, type of drug, mother’s age at referral, family history of drug abuse, type of CPS referral.” [6](Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M 2007). The combination of these factors are discussed in this research but their relevance does not fully correlate with the plan of the research study which is to determine “(1) whether factors related to drug-exposed infants allegations would be substantiated; (2) whether factors related to a drug exposed infant constitute maltreatment.” [7](Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M, 2007).   This is my personal educated opinion because insufficient research presented in this study supports relevant alleged factors desired to be achieved and an overabundance of information with representation of irrelevant factors are presented. The research paper is extremely unorganized, as such suggesting an elementary research. The presentation presents ineptness with respect to scientific research.

Ethnicity and type of drug present in the mother and child’s system is the focus of the study. “Ethnicity is spoken about in regards that it is not a factor of prediction of drug-exposed infants rather a prediction of the mother’s behaviour-whether she attended court hearings, participated in drug testing and treatment and completed such programs and overall factored into whether the mother and child would be reunited.” [8](Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M, 2007.)  In my opinion the ethnicity variable does not focus on the ‘main topic’ which is “[9](1) whether factors related to drug-exposed infants allegations would be substantiated; (2) whether factors related to a drug exposed infant constitute maltreatment.” (Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M, 2007). Ethnicity suggests that the study is racial and cultural bias and lessens the validity of the results. Research by Sagatun-Edwards and Saylor (2000) has determined that ethnicity does not factor into the substantiation of the maltreatment allegation itself, it should not even be considered for the mere fact it takes the ‘focus’ off of the primary issues at hand. I find it very difficult to firmly state if the results are thorough enough based on the literature and research presented.  My educated opinion discerns the base for representation of subjects should have been collected from more than one county portraying a ‘representation’ of the community as a ‘whole’. With this in mind, I somewhat feel the subjects are mildly representative and the results could have been more current perhaps in the years of 2000. The relevance is that the research is conducted thoroughly and all subjects are representative of the entire community. A demonstration of flawed methodology is in Sagatun-Edwards and Chasnoff, Landress and Barnett (1990). [10]“It was found that African American women had similar rates of positive urine toxicology results as the distribution of Hispanic and African American women in the 1995 Sagatun-Edwards research study. The literature does not totally and efficiently correlate with the results.” (Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M, 2007). The research approach has some merit by fundamental base but is not conducted with sufficient thoroughness and does not appear to be representative of the whole community. That is demonstrated as noted above in the two studies.

The subject quantity of 457 is a good representation for a research study. I would suggest using a Chi Square (X2) Methodology because it yields certain sample data that yields a value or statistical data which is a great deal easier to interpret and compare statistically.  A result is as good as its validation by ‘replication’. Variables seem to be responsive and accurately applied. It was very important that the variables correlated with relation to infants released to foster care or relatives were included. This shows the nature of the final result of produced CPS. It may not be totally relevant to the initial goal of the research but it certainly is desired to obtain this information when a ‘lay person’ is viewing such an emotional research report. The first thought that comes to mind is, “”What becomes of the children?”

The subjects appeared to have been selected without bias and are not representative of a whole community. I do not think this research was properly thought out. Correlation goes by means of research that shows the same result of African Americans and Hispanics as compared to Whites in another county. The research design was based on a Q-Methodology attempt. This is typically used to clinically access patients and how they think. “Q represents factor analysis of data and R involves finding correlations between variables. Q looks for a correlation between subjects of variables. Q ranks variables by some series of instructions by their agreement with statements individually.”[11](Exel, 2005). This method along with the T-Test and Chi Square Analysis was used to conduct the research. I have already stated that the Chi is sufficient but the Chi Square (X2) would have been preferable to bring correlated valid results. The results are more precise and easier to statistically interpret.

Sufficient confounding variables were used in this research to prove the results. They included type of drug exposure, mother’s age, prior parental abuse (everything but the T-test). Controls are used by scientists to determine if the test is working properly.

The research paper does not mention of the reliability and validity of the testing instrumentation only mentions that ‘toxicology tests’ were conducted. ANOVA is only a means of calculating biological data. Logistic regression is simply a prediction of the probability of the occurrence of an event and by no means can be substituted for scientific toxicology analytical techniques. Preliminary testing can be done by the Dip Panel Test, Saliva Screening Test and verified by sophisticated testing by full ‘toxicology screen’ analyzed by GC/MS (Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrophotometry) or LC/MS/MS (Liquid Chromatography/Mass Spectrophotometry). The fact that the analytical testing method was omitted from the paper brings me to believe that is rather an informative paper rather than a true scientific study.

The research paper does not support sufficient procedural information on scientific testing to replicate this study. Only because I have worked in laboratories with GC/MS and LC/MS that I am familiar with what needs to be present to conduct this type of research study. The statistical data methodology is present and the variables is also present (with reference to the chosen subjects) thus that part of the research could be duplicated. However, the full experiment could not be duplicated without some previous scientific knowledge of toxicology testing or GC/MS or LC/MS testing information.

The statistical test used in this research is the Chi Square Test. The test is appropriate as mentioned earlier in this paper however, I would have chosen the Chi Square Test (X2) only because it presents data in an easier to follow statistical format which is essential for a research project. However, since the true methodologies of the scientific method of toxicology are not revealed, the Chi Square Test is sufficient. Logistic regression was used in this research as a predictor of the probability of the occurrence of an event, but by no means can be substituted for scientific toxicology analytical techniques.

The practical significance of this study is administrative (CPS) based rather than scientifically based. “The practicality is shown by the fact that even though literature does not support (because there is not much available) the fact that marijuana-positive cases were less likely to be substantiated than amphetamine/cocaine positive case, research shows a suggestion from the data that CPS administration may need to improve it’s administrative policy to guide investigators’ decisions about drug-exposed infant case substantiation.” [12](Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M, 2007). Although not substantiated by literature, CPS needs to be aware that marijuana positive test may indicate future use of harder drugs. Case substantiation needs to comply with legalities and that will come through knowledge and training of employees. [13]“Identified treatment programs should be available to identified newborn families with intervention and time period of success in mind. Race does not factor in findings because alleged white cases were as likely to be substantiated as African American cases.” (Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M, 2007).  [14]“Studies suggest that the ‘universal’ drug testing policy is controversial and target poor and minority women. Implications show there is no difference in the result of the alleged whites and African American’s (meaning both are just as likely to be substantiated). The fact that marijuana positive cases resulted in a lower substantiation than amphetamine/cocaine based cases shows that CPS investigators may be in need of further Drug Alcohol Treatment training. [15](Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M 2007).

The conclusions are logically supported from the data presented. The conclusion is very well-organized and based on a general administrative view geared to support CPS change and a promise to help the young mothers of today without any discrimination factor. The author has not over generalized the conclusion to this study. The conclusion is based on the data presented and is valid. It refers to the mention of literature presented and is thoroughly explained. “Research suggests no implication of bias with relation to substantiated and unsubstantiated cases of occurrence of subsequent child maltreatment.” [16](Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M, 2007). Research suggests bias because of the fact the study ‘only’ included drug-exposed infant groups and most discussions are limited to comparisons within that group. The marijuana positive cases were bias because the study shows no true literature or research conducted on the subject yet the results are included in the research itself. The study shows an obvious bias in the fact the study ‘assumes’ that the CPS investigators’ ‘are not pre-disposed’ to sufficient Alcohol and Drug Knowledge to conduct a reliable survey for the purposes of this research study. Literature suggests that ‘the universal drug policy’ is used ‘instrumentally in all facilities’ without mentioning what the universal policy is. This is bias.  From the use of research and literature provided it would be correct to assume from previous information that the testing is ‘inadequate’. Any information that is not referenced with a proper study or researcher is considered ‘bias’ for the purposes of this research/administrative improvement study.

References

[1] Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M (2007) An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants: Case Substantiation and Subsequent Child Maltreatment Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants.pdf

[1] Statistical (2008) Non-Parametric Statistics Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, http://www.statsoft.com/TEXTBOOK/stnonpar.html

[1] Key, James (1997) Research Design in Occupational Education Module S7-CHI Square Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, http://www.okstate.edu/ag/agedcm4h/academic/aged5980a/5980/newpage28.htm

[1] Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M (2007) An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants: Case Substantiation and Subsequent Child Maltreatment Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants.pdf

[1] Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M (2007) An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants: Case Substantiation and Subsequent Child Maltreatment Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants.pdf

[1] Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M (2007) An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants: Case Substantiation and Subsequent Child Maltreatment Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants.pdf

[1]  Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M (2007) An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants: Case Substantiation and Subsequent Child Maltreatment Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants.pdf

[1] Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M (2007) An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants: Case Substantiation and Subsequent Child Maltreatment Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants.pdf

[1] Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M (2007) An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants: Case Substantiation and Subsequent Child Maltreatment Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants.pdf

[1] Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M (2007) An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants: Case Substantiation and Subsequent Child Maltreatment Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants.pdf

[1] Exel J. (2005) Q-Methodology: A Sneak Preview Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, http://www.qmethodology.net/PDF/Q-methodology%20-%20A%20sneak%20preview.pdf

[1] Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M (2007) An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants: Case Substantiation and Subsequent Child Maltreatment Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants.pdf

[1] Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M (2007) An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants: Case Substantiation and Subsequent Child Maltreatment Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants.pdf

[1] Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M (2007) An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants: Case Substantiation and Subsequent Child Maltreatment Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants.pdf

[1] Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M (2007) An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants: Case Substantiation and Subsequent Child Maltreatment Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants.pdf

[1] Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M (2007) An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants: Case Substantiation and Subsequent Child Maltreatment Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants.pdf

[1] Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M (2007) An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants: Case Substantiation and Subsequent Child Maltreatment Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants.pdf

[2] Statistical (2008) Non-Parametric Statistics Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, http://www.statsoft.com/TEXTBOOK/stnonpar.html

[3] Key, James (1997) Research Design in Occupational Education Module S7-CHI Square Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, http://www.okstate.edu/ag/agedcm4h/academic/aged5980a/5980/newpage28.htm

[4] Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M (2007) An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants: Case Substantiation and Subsequent Child Maltreatment Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants.pdf

[5] Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M (2007) An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants: Case Substantiation and Subsequent Child Maltreatment Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants.pdf

[6] Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M (2007) An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants: Case Substantiation and Subsequent Child Maltreatment Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants.pdf

[7]  Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M (2007) An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants: Case Substantiation and Subsequent Child Maltreatment Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants.pdf

[8] Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M (2007) An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants: Case Substantiation and Subsequent Child Maltreatment Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants.pdf

[9] Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M (2007) An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants: Case Substantiation and Subsequent Child Maltreatment Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants.pdf

[10] Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M (2007) An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants: Case Substantiation and Subsequent Child Maltreatment Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants.pdf

[11] Exel J. (2005) Q-Methodology: A Sneak Preview Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, http://www.qmethodology.net/PDF/Q-methodology%20-%20A%20sneak%20preview.pdf

[12] Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M (2007) An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants: Case Substantiation and Subsequent Child Maltreatment Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants.pdf

[13] Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M (2007) An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants: Case Substantiation and Subsequent Child Maltreatment Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants.pdf

[14] Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M (2007) An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants: Case Substantiation and Subsequent Child Maltreatment Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants.pdf

[15] Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M (2007) An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants: Case Substantiation and Subsequent Child Maltreatment Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants.pdf

[16] Sun, A. Freese M. & Fitzgerald M (2007) An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants: Case Substantiation and Subsequent Child Maltreatment Retrieved September 10, 2009 from, An Exploratory Study of Drug-Exposed Infants.pdf

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