Article Critique: Theoretical / Conceptual Framework in Designer Drinks Study

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Theoretical/Conceptual Framework

The authors do not frame their argument or their research in terms of a conceptual framework, prevailing theory or model. However, the absence of such a theoretical framework is unnecessary. While no theoretical framework is outright stated, the authors imply easily that prevalence and quantity of drinking among adolescents is a public and private health concern.

The concepts are not clearly identified and defined. For example, the authors refer to "designer" drinks, naming what they believe to be "designer" drinks. These include Mad Dog 20/20, which could hardly be called a "designer" drink. It would be preferable to operationalize the term "designer drink," probably by referring to marketing literature. The variables, however, are clearly stated. Dependent variables including drinking habits and attitudes toward the "designer" drinks.

The authors do not explain the measures used, and do not indicate what survey instrument was used. The questions on the survey instrument are not clearly listed and are only alluded to.

4. The research problem flows naturally, in spite of there being no stated conceptual framework other than the vague assumption that "drinking is a problem among young people."

5. The authors refer to a few outside sources, but this study generally lacks a strong literature review or analysis of prior research in the areas either of marketing to young people or of the effects of drinking.

II. Protection of Human Rights

1. The authors do not mention whether appropriate actions were taken to ensure ethical procedures, and no ethical board or ethical review is invoked to review the current study.

2. Because the study relies on survey instrument data, the authors do not discuss the issue of risk. However, ethical issues like confidentiality and anonymity are not mentioned in the report.

3. There is no information about whether the participants were informed or that consent was given.

4. There is some evidence that individuals may be identified, given the population sample was derived from a single health organization. The Argyll and Clyde Health Board list could theoretically be acquired.

III. The Research Problem

1. The problem statement is introduced early, but it is unclear exactly what the authors feel to be the problem. Is it drinking in general? Or is it drinking tasteless drinks like MD 20/20 that is the problem?

2. The problem may be significant, in that nurses may be aware of trends in adolescent drinking behavior. However, the type of drinks available or chosen by young people is irrelevant to their overall health and drinking habits. The authors do not prove, for example, that drinking "designer" drinks necessarily leads to drinking more often or more heavily or that these drinks are dangerous. The impact on the nursing field is not directly addressed.

3. The purpose for the research is not clearly discussed in the article. It is hard to know whether the authors are more concerned about drinking in general, or simply that young people are being seduced by marketers into drinking certain products. Clearly, though, the authors feel that the designer drinks are a problem.

4. The research variables are not spelled out for the quantitative study. The survey instrument remains unnamed, and the individual questions remain unclear. It would appear that survey questions included those related to what the participant prefers to drink, and in what context the person drinks.

5. An answer to the problem will have little impact on clinical practice, because in practice alcohol abuse is detrimental to health whether the person drinks expensive Scotch or Mad Dog 20/20.

IV. Research Question/Hypotheses

1. Unfortunately, the research question is not stated clearly, and neither is the research hypothesis. The authors seem to want to explore the potential impact of designer drinks on adolescent health, but no health variable is included in the quantitative research. Therefore, the authors are not measuring for health; they are measuring for attitudes and behaviors.

2. Although the statement of purpose and research hypothesis are unclear, there is a continuity of tone and style that leads the reader to believe there might be an underlying purpose to the research.

3. The authors do not state outright their variables, at least in any detail. In the results section, the authors do discuss some of the variables that were measured in the survey, such as frequency of drinking, place of drinking, and which beverages are preferable to others. The variables are generally attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors related to drinking, measured by a questionnaire, but what exactly is being tested remains a mystery.

4. Prediction is not evident, but implied. The authors clearly begin with the assumption that "designer" drinks are a problem.

V. Review of Literature

1. A comprehensive literature review is not a part of this research. However, the authors do elucidate prior research on adolescent drinking behavior. The variables addressed in the studies cited are not necessarily the same variables being tested for in this study.

2. Assuming the authors want to show that designer drinks are causing young people to drink more frequently, the authors are unable to refer to prior studies showing that marketing has an impact on adolescent drinking preferences, frequency of use, or behaviors. However, the authors do show that studies have demonstrated a connection between some types of drinking behaviors in adolescence with some adverse effects such as poor performance in school. School performance is not a dependent variable in the current research, though.

3. Most of the sources listed in the literature review are from studies published within a few years of the current one, and are therefore contemporary. However, the current research is about fifteen years old.

4. A case can be made based only on the fact that health care practitioners seem perennially concerned about adolescent drinking behaviors. However, the link between regular drinks and designer drinks is a leap that is not justified in the prior research cited in the study.

VI. Research Design

1. An exploratory survey design was used in the research.

2. The design is appropriate for measuring attitudes and self-reported behaviors, but not on measurable impacts of drinking "designer" beverages. There is no control group, which would help determine differences between those who drink "designer" versus "standard" drinks.

3. Insufficient information is offered for replication, as the researchers do not indicate the name of their survey instrument.

VII. Sampling

1. The target population was 12- to 17-year-olds, and was "drawn from the community health index (a listing of names and addresses of people registered with a general practitioner within the health board area) for Argyll and Clyde Health Board."

2. The sample selection procedures are clearly defined, for the authors simply acquired a list of names and addresses of 12- to 17-year-olds from the Argyll and Clyde Health Board registry.

3. The sampling method is relatively narrow, focusing on only one district. There could easily be confounding variables like socio-economic class, ethnicity, and lifestyle choices.

4. Sample biases are not described.

5. The sample is relatively large considering only one database of names was used to collect the sample.

VIII. Data Collection

1. The instrument for data collection was an undefined, unnamed survey.

2. No rationale is offered for why the survey was selected, and especially why the questions in the survey were chosen.

3. The instruments are as vague as the research question, because it is unclear whether the researchers are interested in health outcomes, or on attitudes and drinking preferences alone.

4. The instruments are suitable for use, because they are simply surveys.

5. There are no procedures for testing validity and reliability of the survey instrument, which is a major weakness of this research.

IX. Quantitative Analysis

1. The research design fits with the analytical methods, but the study questions are ill defined.

2. The authors never mention what type of statistical analysis was used to measure survey responses.

3. There is some link between the findings and the analysis, but the analysis is weakened by the lack of ANOVA and other statistical methods.

4. There are numerical presentations, mainly in percentages of responses for each survey item.

5. Graphs are simple and clear.

X. Conclusions and Recommendations

1. The study results cannot be generalized to a larger population, although regions of Scotland with similar demographics to this one may be used.

2. Assumptions include the assumption that designer drinks are somehow more dangerous, or that the presence of designer drinks causes more young people to drink more frequently. However, the reader must infer the assumptions based on what the authors state in the introduction.

3. The authors do show why they included drinking environment in the survey; because of the issue of "control." However, there is no evidence to suggest that young people will drink more in the "uncontrolled" versus controlled environment. The results are linked to the research question, but the entire study is too muddled.

4. There is some potential for future research implied, which could involve marketing research or actual health outcome measures for the target population.

5. There… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Theoretical / Conceptual Framework in Designer Drinks Study."  Essaytown.com.  November 27, 2013.  Accessed May 19, 2019.
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