Introduction to Qualitative Research (1)-Philosophical Assumptions
Introduction to Qualitative Research (1)-Philosophical Assumptions
Autism is an unfortunate illness that affects children. Proper research on this subject involves vigorous examination of different criteria. For example, the research design should be flexible in nature where the researcher does not have a fixed mind about the outcome. Autism and Bilingualism is an article that fits this description because the authors’ objective is finding out the average relationship between autistic children and their parents. The use of case studies is vital in this respect because it enables the collection of actual data from people experiencing this phenomenon. This approach results in the exposure of authentic results. It is also integral that the research method used facilitates a better understanding of the subject. For instance, this article employs interviews which shed more light on the issue (Hampton, Rabagliati, Sorace & Fletcher-Watson, 2017). The 17 bilingual parents having children with ASD and 18 bilingual parents having children who are typically developing provide firsthand accounts of the challenges of the different growing environments. This route offers the best platform for conducting observations of the emotions of various parents and their interactions with the said children. In fact, both verbal and non-verbal communication techniques are detectable.
Participant observation is an ideal indicator of the quality of the research. Hampton, Sorace and Flethcer-Watson apply this tactic in their case study. They are able to see the effects of introducing a bilingual culture in an area where children with ASD are present and differentiate that with an environment containing children with a typical development regimen. They easily ask relevant questions such as the meaning of autism, its commonality, its cause, how the child developed the disease, the extent of blame on vaccines, the best way of seeking help for one’s child and the preferred manner of dealing with such a diagnosis. They also question the ability of the children attending school. Such active involvement in the research is helpful because it prompts responses from the parents as well as the children.
A semi-structured interview process like the one used by the authors is a recommended practice because of its ability to elicit certain responses. As such, the questions lack a formal pattern and are dependent on the context of the conversations held with the subjects. For instance, it emerges that bilingualism in ASD households causes confusion to the children. Further probity of this assertion reveals that such situations confound the children’s thinking capacity and give them a hard time learning the different languages (Storyful, 2014). These interactive sessions therefore enhance the research process by exposing underlying beliefs about autism and reinforce the notion that children suffering from this illness have a weak cognitive ability to socialize with others. It also allows the subjects make comments and give opinions that are not politically correct but a reflection of the raw emotions they feel based on their experiences with their children.
The research procedure is important because it validates the results that form the basis of the study. For instance, the article rightly points out that the parents and children were randomly selected which aids in the determination of the effects of bilingualism in autistic children. The lack of a specific pattern of recruiting subjects reveals that such illnesses affect people from different backgrounds. It also exposes the different intellectual abilities and speech disorders that are common amongst sufferers. There is a wide variation of strengths and challenges possessed by individuals with autism based on the random sampling used. This indicates that victimization of patients with this disease is wrong and should be condemned because such people are useful in various other ways in the society. It also enables the authors realize that different autistic children and parents have varying levels of anxiety, seizures and sleep disturbances that affect their ability to speak coherently.
An inductive approach to the study is essential in a qualitative research. In this context, researchers use the data accumulated throughout the study to make proper inferences that support their conclusions. The article cites the authors’ belief that bilingualism contributes to the creation of a closer bond between parents and children. This exhibition of affection is an observation that was made amongst the subjects in comparison to the typically developing children and their parents. The urge to teach their children a new language and the inherent desire to see them grow normally facilitates their closeness and forms a basis for their friendship. In fact, it heavily relies on the empathy that such guardians feel towards their children which makes them preoccupied with their well-being (Hampton, Rabagliati, Sorace & Fletcher-Watson, 2017). Careful observation of this interaction is vital in analyzing the different responses of families with children suffering from autism. It also enriches the quality of the research because it shows that such sickness has a way of attracting parents to their children in a special manner that is sometimes lacking in an ordinary family setting. This reinforces the objectives of the research and makes the findings authoritative.
Qualitative research also focuses on sensitive topics based on personal experiences which helps to humanize the study. The authors endeavor to achieve this goal by tackling the issue of autism, which is a national epidemic that affects several families. For example, out of every 68 children, one suffers from this disease in the US. Families that encounter this illness face stigmatization and isolation by other members of the community. The affected children are often bullied and teased by their peers because the disorder is considered a bad omen. In fact, this article highlights the common stereotypes that are associated with autism such as the victims are mentally ill, have poor social skills and are dangerous individuals that should be avoided. It is commendable that parents and children with this condition ably assert their opinions on the way they handle such misinformation. The effect of trauma especially on the children is visible in this study because they narrate their ordeals at school and other public events. Heart wrenching stories like these are difficult to examine because of the emotions they stir within researchers and victims alike. Their inclusion in any study is vital in exploring the objective of the research and enhancing its qualitative value to the society. It brings to the fore the symptoms of the disease and the coping mechanisms for both parents and children while tackling the issue of societal stereotypes in a manner that raises awareness to the general public (Hampton, Rabagliati, Sorace & Fletcher-Watson, 2017). As such, people are inclined to agree with the findings that autism is a disease that affects anyone, it is curable, it has an emotional toll component, and it leads to a deeper familial bond and requires the support of all stakeholders for a faster recovery process.
Hampton, S., Rabagliati, H., Sorace, A. & Fletcher-Watson, S. (2017). Autism and Bilingualism: A Qualitative Interview Study of Parents’ Perspectives and Experiences. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 60(2), 435-446.
Storyful. (2014). Baby Best Videos 2014. Youtube, December 5. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAS4a0v-Ov8
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