Narrative Inquiry Functions Research Proposal

Pages: 5 (1797 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Children

Narrative inquiry functions as a way of "studying the ways humans experience the world" (Connely & Clandinin, 1990, p. 2). Narrative data provides "a way of understanding one's own and others' actions, of organizing events and objects into a meaningful whole, and of connecting and seeing the consequences of actions and events over time" (Chase, 2005). The subject of this narrative inquiry is Jenny, a 16-year-old Caucasian who is 26 weeks pregnant and plans to parent her baby. The primary goal of this research is to allow the participant the opportunity to share personal accounts of her experiences which, in turn, will help to better understand the social issues of teenage pregnancy. Three main themes for Jenny emerge from this qualitative research study that are consistent with the general population: she repeated the past behavior of her mother; she had an absentee father; and her unplanned pregnancy was due to the use birth control. However, unlike the general population of teens becoming pregnant, the risk factors of not participating in school activities and low academic expectations did not appear to be contributors in Jenny's situation.

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Jenny, with her mother's consent, agreed to participate in this study on the experience of being a pregnant adolescent. Jenny was not selected randomly since I chose her from those who I had access to at the Clinic. The interview took place in the Clinic Conference Room and relied solely on open-ended questions. Jenny was very articulate and seemed to be relaxed during the interview. She smiled easily and used appropriate eye contact. I audio-taped this interview and transcribed it verbatim into manuscript form for analysis of the risk factors in the general population and how they may have contributed to Jenny's pregnancy.

Repeating the Past Behavior of Mothers

Research Proposal on Narrative Inquiry Functions as a Way of Assignment

A girl is more likely to become a teenage parent if her mother gave birth in her teens. (East & Jacobson, 2001). Perhaps the early pregnancy of their mothers sends a mixed message about the aappropriateness of the time in one's life to have sex and to bear children. Further, the mother is a role model for the daugher; someone she looks to for how to behave and what to strive to become. This certainly seems to be the case with Jenny whose mother was only 17 years old when she gave birth to her daughter. On this situation and her mother's attitude towards her daughter repeating her own early pregnancy, Jenny says, "Yeah. She understands. I mean everything pretty much I've went through I've followed in her footsteps. Not meaning to. But it seems like I'm a repeat of her (laugh)."

Absentee Fathers

Father-absent girls are about five times more likely in the United States to become pregnant as adolescents than are father-present girls (Ellis, Bates, Dodge, Fergusson, Horwood, Pettit, & Woodward, 2003). Perhaps the teenageer is seeking a replacement for their father's affection by becoming intimate with their boyfriend and some may even view a child as a source of the unconditional love they are missing in their lives. Jenny had originally lived with her dad, but his remarriage damaged the relationship with his daughter and left him out of her life before the pregnacy. Jenny makes the following comments about the situation with her father:

"I lived with him and then we had some problems. He got remarried and I didn't like it. I was so used to being me and him and then I had to share things with her kids and share him and I didn't like it so I moved in with my mom and I came here to school"

"I've been living with mom for probably about a year, a year and a half now. Me and my dad had just pretty much um we always, seems like all we do is argue. Every time we talk to each other we just argue. And uh I just actually really maybe started having a conversation with him and we'd talk on the phone and then I found out I was pregnant in August. And I called to tell him and he didn't take it too well. So I haven't really talked to him much since then."

Even after the pregnancy, the father-daughter relationship remains strained. She reveals that he refuses to support her in any way:

"Because right now I consider her [her mother] boyfriend more as a father to me then my dad. Everybody so far is supporting me so far except my dad. And my dad can't accept that. He wanted me to have the abortion or give it up for adoption but I'm not one that really believes in that or could live with that so.... told him I couldn't do it. And he then said that he didn't want any responsibility of takin care of another one cause he's already takin care of his and he said that he didn't want anything to do with me or the baby."

Misuse of Birth Control

More than 80% of teen pregnancies are unintended (Speidel, Harper, & Shields, 2008). Jenny's pregnancy fits this trend. She explains first finding out about her pregnancy in the following way:

"He [her boyfriend] was excited. I mean it wasn't planned. But I guess we'd been together and we plan to stay together hopefully so he um he was excited. And we um - the first time I thought I was pregnant - if I was - I figured he'd leave. I mean he wasn't too happy then. It was a big turn around when I found out that I was so (laugh) but his mom cried for about a week."

Over half of unitended pregnancies are to women not using any contraceptives with most of the rest occuring due to inconsistent or incorrect use (Speidel, Harper, & Shields, 2008). Jenny's pregnancy occurred even though she was on the pill when she became pregnant and claimed to be taking them regularly. She explains her pregnancy, despite being on birth control, in the following way:

"And I never missed one and I've been taking them for almost three years. But I smoked um before I found out I was pregnant and my doctor said it that it probably had something to do with that cause smoking and drinking and stuff like that any kind of drug or anything decreases the effects of those so uh..."

When asked if that's what her doctor told her, Jenny responded, "Yeah. But I'm not - I have no idea - he said that it was either that or I can't remember he said something about my hormones or something so - I don't know."

School Activities and Performance Were Not Factors

The school environment and how one is expected to perform in it are closely associated with teenage pregnancies. For instance, being involved in school activities is a factor that reduces the risk of childbearing during adolescence (Moore, Manlove, Glei, & Morrison, 1998). Conversely, low educational expectations have been pinpointed as a risk factor (Allen, Bonell, Strange, Copas, Stephenson, Johnson & Oakley, 2007). Interestingly, Jenny became pregnant even though she was active in school activities and did fairly well in school. When asked about her activities, Jenny answered, "Um, when I went to Amherst I was a cheerleader and I played softball. And I like watching TV and hanging out with my friends." With regards to her performance in school, she stated, "I was making honor roll and then I dropped a couple Cs here and there."

Study Limitations

As with all studies, limitations have arisen in my research. Most notably, the study did not begin with the intent of analyzing risk factors. As such, there are many risk factors for pregnancy such as age discrepancy in relationships, inadequate parental supervision and domestic violence, to name a few, that have not been explored in this study. These factors could be just as important, if not more important, than Jenny's mother having a child when she was a teenager, her absentee father and her misuse of birth control.

There are also limitations resulting from subjective interpretation in the analysis of the research. Subjective interpretation "filters the data through a personal lens that is situated in a specific sociopolitical and historical moment" (Creswell, 2003, p.183) Therefore, there may have been bias in how I interpreted the data. For example, some researchers my consider "a few Cs" as very poor performance while this researcher has rated it as good considering the rest of the grades were a's and B's. Further, some may believe, after reviewing Jenny's narrative, that Jenny was not at fault in her use of birth control vs. this researcher's opinion that alcohol, and perhaps drugs, was either a direct factor in rendering the birth control ineffective or an indirect factor that caused irresponsible behavior that Jenny is not willing to discuss.

Another limitation may have arisen from Jenny having not been randomly selected from the pregnant teenager population, as well as her sole perspectives that do not allow for… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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