Anne-Marie Ambert's "A Qualitative Study of Peer Thesis

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Anne-Marie Ambert's "A Qualitative Study of Peer Abuse and Its Effects: Theoretical and Empirical Implications" first emerged as a need to respond to the question as to what and how various factors impact the formation of a child into an adult. As the study continued however, she identified a new research item. This revolves around the abuse that children are subjected to from the part of their peers. The issue is relevant in the initial context as peer abuse can easily impact the present and future of a child. Foremost, the issue is interesting when few academicians and psychologists have placed emphasis on it and even more so, when peer abuse occurs more often than parental abuse. The research hypothesis is clearly presented at the beginning of the study. The study itself is relevant as it is based on both literary references, as well as empirical evidence.

Strengths and Limitations of the Study

The basic strength of the study is that it is based on real life situations, recollected by actual students who have been subjected to peer abuse and can offer first hand information. Another strength resides in the formation of the sample, which is relevant and representative.

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A primary limitation of the study is that it exclusively focuses on the students at the university. However, these individuals have somehow found a way to overcome their previous traumas and continued their education. In this instance then, the limitation resides in that the study does not take into account the youth of similar ages that did not go to college. It could be possible that some of them were subjected to more peer abuse, and a consequence could have been their dropping out of school. Another limitation is that the students are asked to recollect the past events that have made them the most unhappy. Peer abuse could have occurred, but not be considered the event that produced the most unhappiness (Ambert, 1994).

3. The Interpretative Dimensions of the Research

Thesis on Anne-Marie Ambert's "A Qualitative Study of Peer Assignment

The interpretations made by Anne-Marie Ambert are entirely based on the results of the study she had conducted. In this order of ideas then, they are consistent with the results. For instance, she pointed out that peer abuse was more common than parental abuse. This interpretation is consistent with the testimonials of the students who pointed out the same conclusion.

Since the literary works relative to peer abuse are rather elusive, the author bases her findings almost exclusively on the study she herself conducted. It was based on the study of two student samples, both of them relevant, reliable and representative. The conclusions and findings are supported by real life situations lived by students. One student for instance states that she had never been abused by her parents, but in school, she was nearly raped. This caused a long-term effect upon her growth as a social being. The author presents both particular issues as well as general ones, but the generalization is based on the findings indicated by particular respondents.

4. The Ethical Aspects of a Study

The study itself was inspired by an ethical dilemma. However not considered illegal, peer abuse is immoral and has severe repercussions for the victimized child. The actual occurrence of deception in the study is difficult to assess, but the work seems to be objective, unbiased and fair. Proof of these stands the author's precautions, materialized in the identification and formation of a representative sample. She also paid attention to the formation of the questionnaires, which were aimed to identify peer abuse, but also the correctness and reliability of the answers, by verifying previously known issues. Also, independent analysis have been brought in to assess the results (since no students were French, a French and unbiased analyst was brought in to assess the findings; they were similar to those of Ambert's in a proportion of 98.2%). The student's anonymity was safeguarded by not asking them to reveal personal data, such as name or age (Ambert, 1994).

5. Qualitative and Integrated Designs

The research design of the study is described in the first pages of the study in a clear and concise manner. This is formed from the analysis of numerous student testimonials - questionnaires and autobiographies. The actual numbers and time lines of the analysis and data collection are also presented. The study is based on an estimated 1,400 autobiographies, mostly 90 of the most relevant ones, chosen in a selective manner. The two analyses occurred throughout 1974 and 1989. The questions in the questionnaires were aimed to identify happiness and unhappiness and were asked on four age groups (0-5, 6-10, 11-14 and 15-18). The questionnaires had an estimated length of 10 pages and the autobiographies would be between 20 and 40 single spaced pages (Ambert, 1994).

An improvement to the study could have relied in a more longitudinal approach. In this meaning, the analysis does indeed expand over a two time periods, but considers two different samples. It could have been interesting to analyse the same sample at tow different times. Ambert's "A Qualitative Study of Peer Abuse and Its Effects: Theoretical and Empirical Implications" mostly contains qualitative data, but the findings are presented in qualitative formats as well.

6. Qualitative Sampling Designs

The setting of the study is based within a university and the sample is formed from students responding to questions relating to their childhood experiences with peers. The setting is relevant as the university allows the author good access to youth that can recollect past experiences. However, as it has been previously mentioned, it does not consider those young adults which did not go to college. From this standpoint then, the setting is less appropriate. The study of youth which did not go to college and their past peer abuse could represent the topic for a future and more extensive study.

The sample was formed from 90 students, out of 1,400 which initially responded to the study. The selection was made randomly and it is as such considered relevant and unbiased. The size of the sample is quite reduced in the meaning that the experience of 90 students can not be used to generalize the experiences of an entire generation. However, the findings are relevant and a wider sample would have implied tedious and likely inefficient work.

7. Data Collection Procedures

The data were retrieved through the issuing of questionnaires. Also, the author of the study retrieved her information from the autobiographies of the respondent students. The data were collected in universities and the people present include those which handed in the questionnaire and those which coded the answers and organized them into categories. The main burden revolved around the organization of the answers into categories, which resulted in too many categories. One category for instance was Out of School Leisure Time with Peers, which was further introduced under a larger category Peers (Ambert, 1994). The organization into too many categories could have implied inefficient data processing or could even impacted the quality of the collected information by a wrongful introduction of an event into a different category. This could have entirely changed the outcome and results of the study.

8. Data Quality in Qualitative Studies

The information collected comes from young individuals, and is therefore possible that it is biased and subjective. To verify its correctness, the author introduced questions to which she already knew the answer. This meant that she would then be able to assess the correctness of the questions to which she did not know the answer by comparing the questions to which she already knew the answer. In other words, if a student responded truthfully to a question that could be verified, it is highly probable that that student would answer truthfully to other questions as well.

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