The purpose of this assignment is to critically understand different process, methods and designs which are needed for effective research. This assignment will critique a specific research article which includes eight areas that will be discussed on issues, validity and ethics. The research article is called ‘Food for thought: An ethnographic study of negotiating ill health and food insecurity in a UK foodbank’.
Rationale can be defined as setting out reasons on why the researcher has conducted the research and explains the purpose of their research (Bhattacharyya et al., 2009).
This study was carried out because it wanted to explore the relationship between health and food insecurity of those who use foodbanks in the UK (Garthwaite et al., 2015). This paper focuses on mental health of people and their experiences of using foodbanks due to their ill health, which involves the costs and how they may or may not have a healthy diet due to having less income (Garthwaite et al., 2015). According to Cooper & Dumpleton (2013), it was estimated that 500,000 people did not have sufficient access to healthy foods which meant that 19% were hospitalised in England due to malnutrition (Dowler et al., 2001). The lifestyle choices can influence the health of foodbank users because if they are spending money on items which are expensive such as alcohol and cigarettes which can lead to food poverty (Robinson et al., 2013). According to Poppendieck et al. (1998), food provision in the UK and internationally has become very significant because there is charitable emergency food provision because there has been an increase in taxes, benefits as well as unemployment rates.
Appropriateness of methodology
Appropriateness of methodology consists of two approaches in research which are quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative approach is about numbers and anything which can be measurable such as questionnaires and surveys (Balnaces et al., 2001). On the other hand, qualitative approach to research involves understanding people’s opinions, attitudes and behaviours (Kothari, 2004).
This paper is a mixed method project and focuses on the data which has been collected through an ethnographic study (Garthwaite et al., 2015). The approach to research is more qualitative than quantitative because it is about men and women experiences of using Trussell Trust foodbanks through observational and interview data (Garthwaite et al., 2015). By using a qualitative approach, the researchers were able to ask volunteers who had participated in the interviews about their experience of using foodbanks (Garthwaite et al., 2015). This is appropriate because after doing the interviews the results were analysed with the qualitative data analysis software (Garthwaite et al., 2015). However, the approach to the research can also be a little bit of a quantitative because there was a specific chosen number of men, women and volunteers who got interviewed and observed (Garthwaite et al., 2015). This is appropriate because it will examine relationships between their income and the health of foodbank users (Beynon et al., 1994).
In my opinion if the researchers had only used one approach instead of using two then the result would differ. This would have been appropriate to the research because they would have been able to focus on either quantitative or qualitative approach.
Sample-choice and management
Sample choice management is about the participants who are involved in the research and who you are collecting and gathering data (Rose et al., 2013).
The sample consisted of volunteers and foodbanks users. Semi structured interviews were taken in which 42 interviews was people who use the foodbank and 8 interviews with volunteers (Garthwaite et al., 2015). The 42 people who used foodbanks were interviewed in their home for 2 weeks in order to find out their experiences of food which they had received which included 20 women and 22 men all between the ages of 18 to 60 years (Garthwaite et al., 2015). The 8 volunteers were individually semi interviewed in a quiet place of the foodbank. The sample choice of 22 men and 20 women is not appropriate for this research because the researchers should have chosen more women and men to take part in their research (Garthwaite et al., 2015). This would have made the research more accurate and flexible in order to draw conclusions from the data which has been collected so important decisions can be made (Bierlaire, 2008). In addition, the age range which has been chosen for this specific research is not appropriate because it’s too broad (Garthwaite et al., 2015). If the researchers had chosen a sample of participants aged from 20-40-year-old it would have made it more appropriate to fit with the hypotheses of the research (Kumar, 2014).
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The researchers have chosen to do a purposive sampling because in this research they have decided to sample men and women who are foodbank users as well as sampling volunteers who wanted to be a part of their research (Garthwaite et al., 2015). If the researchers had used a different type of sampling method such as convenience sampling then this would not be appropriate because by asking questions to the first available people it would be bias which can lead to sampling errors (Hedt et al., 2011). If the researchers sampled professionals or other working-class individuals about what their thoughts were on foodbanks then they would have different perspective (Garthwaite, 2016).
Data collection methods
Data collection is about gathering new information for the research study, through primary and secondary data (Heaton, 1998).
The data collection methods which have been used are participant observations, semi- strcutred interviews, field notes. These methods of research are clearly explained and identifiable in the research article (Garthwaite et al., 2015). Semi structed interviews took place in the foodbank where it was fully recorded, and notes were taken. After that, interviews were arranged in people’s home and was recorded and transcribed verbatim (Garthwaite et al., 2015). Interviews are appropriate because the researchers have used there time and energy in conducting interviews by asking open and closed questions. This was then looked at with other data collection methods observations which had been transcript (Garthwaite et al., 2015).
According to Byrne (2004), interviews are a useful research method because you can get to know things about the person you are interviewing such as their values and attitudes. However, if the researchers had used formal questionnaires then they would not understand peoples experiences, events and opinions (Byrne, 2004). Questionnaires and surveys would have been appropriate for this research study because it does not cost much and can gather information through to a bigger audience (Wright, 2005). The researchers can send out questionnaires and surveys online which means that the information which has been collected can automatically come back to the researchers (Wright, 2005). Also, it increases productivity by saving time which means that data can be easily transferred into a table where it can be analysed in more depth (SmartSurvey, 2018).
In my opinion the data collection methods which have been used some of this is appropriate and some of is not in terms of the data type that the researchers have collected. It is appropriate because the researchers had looked at what they found out from the interviews and observations in an analytical way (Garthwaite et al., 2015).
Data analysis is about what the researchers have done with the data in order to find patterns and explanations which can be done through a thematic analysis (Wallech et al., 2013). A thematic analysis is a method where data has been explained in detail by making different interpretations and identifying trends with the research (Braun & Clarke, 2006).
The researchers took a qualitative thematic analysis approach. According to Perry et al (2014), ill health is not the reason why people have been referred to food banks instead, it is about foodbank users have ill health. The researchers had found out that mental health problems such as anxiety and depression was high amongst foodbank users through their observations and interview data which they had undertaken (Garthwaite et al., 2015). This is evident of the field notes which was taken of different participants as it all came down to having mental health problems. The analytic methods are clear because people who use the foodbanks said that they can have someone to talk and can feel they are not going to get judged by being in a positive friendly environment because it was et up in church (Garthwaite et al., 2015). However, if someone is from a different culture then they may not want to go to the church as it may be against their religion or the food that is there may not be appropriate due to their beliefs (Griffith, 2015).
Research rigour and research limitation
Research rigour is about qualitative research which involves reliability and validity (Kincheloe et al., 2004). In research there are many limitations which is about what the research has done or cannot do.
The research article does involve some limitations because there was 42 interviews with foodbank users and eight with volunteers. According to Mann (2016), interviews can be time consuming because they involve social interaction. By the interview asking different questions such as closed can get responses which are straight to the point however, if the interviews asked open questions then participants can take their time to express what they think and have experienced (Parkinson, 1994). However, the research should have interviewed different types of people such as different gender, age, ethnicity and backgrounds.
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Another limitation is the methods which the researchers have used as they could have used quantitative approach rather than qualitative to analyse data differently. The researchers explain how rigouras there research was because they identified foodbank users how they had suffered with health inequalities aswell as mental health problems (Garthwaite et al., 2015). However, if the researchers had taken other people’s perspective such as professionals then they could have got different views leading them to get accurate data (Greener, 2018). If the research sample had people who did not have consent or did not want to be a part of the research then this means that they are unreliable participants as they want somebody with them when they get interviewed.
Ethical consideration in research is about not causing harm and risk to participants who are involved in the research by getting an ethical approval (Gennaro, 2014).
The research has raised ethical considerations by making sure the research which was carried out was respected and was approved by Durham University Department of Geography Ethics Committee (Garthwaite et al., 2015). By having an approval it means that the participants rights are protected and are able to make their own informed decisions (Rhodes, 2018). In addition, the participants who took part in the research was kept confidential and had full informed consent of the purpose of the research (Garthwaite et al., 2015). In order to minimise the risk when the data was collected it was anonymous before undertaking the thematic analysis (Garthwaite et al., 2015).
The researchers have found out that ill health was not the reason why foodbank users were referred, instead it was to do with there social consequences which had a huge impact on the employment, benefits, debt and relationships with other people (Garthwaite et al., 2015). According to Perry et al (2014), she believes that there are certain factors which affects foodbank users to have ill-health which included not having a job, bereavement and not having a relationship. These factors led to having poor health consequences such as struggling with their mental health (Garthwaite etl al., 2015). The researchers also found out that people who use the foodbanks need income and those who don’t have much money tend to buy food which are cheap quality and therefore, resulting in poor diet and health problems (Ashton et al., 2014). The researchers have found out that its about the wrong choices that foodbank users make as they are on a low budget and aren’t able to choose the right foods to eat (Garthwaite et al., 2015). The reason why the use of foodbanks in the UK have been used are because there are certain factors which affect people’s health resulting in being poor. Finally, foodbank and the way in which it impacts on people’s health and how different debates of another foodbank use both in the UK and USA (Garthwaite et al., 2015).
To conclude, (Garthwaite et al., 2015) this study was well researched. In the study the researchers had used many methods and involved participants to get different views and opinions and experiences about using foodbanks and how this affected their health due to their financial circumstances. The sample choice was appropriate to the research because they had interviewed and had took notes and further justified their findings through a thematic approach. This paper can be criticised because the researchers could have used other methods to find out experiences. In addition, this paper is very easy to follow as the researchers have identified different areas by putting subheading which makes it east to follow.
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