The paper is dedicated to the topic of Child Psychology, and especially to the issue of environmental aspects influence on the autism disorder. In order to choose this topic, a small exercise was conducted and various journals and bulletins reviewed. In order to perform concept mapping, the following stages were followed: planning, generation of statements, their structuring, statements’ representation, interpretation of maps and their utilization. In order to perform them in an objective way, a group of eight people was gathered so as to brainstorm ideas effectively and interpret them in the right way. In the research of the various causes of autism, the systematic sampling technique was used.
Conceptualization of a Research Focus
Planning and Evaluation are important parts of any research. However, in order to reach the stage where planning is required and an execution is needed, there must be a robust conceptual framework. In order to do the same, it is necessary to follow the process of concept mapping, where the structures are conceptualized in various groups and the final concept is prepared, which can be further evaluated to reveal positive results (Trochim, 2007).
Conceptualizing may be described as simple articulation of thoughts. However, while doing a research project, there are various important steps that have to be followed and the process is much more robust and systematic. In this paper various topics will be consider and one of them will be selected in order to conceptualize it further and develop a framework, which will help to work on the other steps of the research project (Trochim, 2007).
Selection of Topic and Concept Mapping
In order to find an interesting topic, I conducted a small exercise and, as its part, reviewed various journals and bulletins. After completing this stage, I came up with the topics related to Child Psychology and Cognitive Effects of Pain Management Drugs. However, on the basis of peer feedback I finally selected Child Psychology as my topic. While this is the topic which was selected, it has a very broad existence and needs to be mapped to find the concept that will be a part of the further study (Trochim, 2007).
Before performing the concept mapping, it is important to clearly describe the scope of the topic that will be mapped. The topic of child psychology includes the basic children’s behavior and responses, which may be physical or mental in nature. According to Trochim (2007), there are six steps in concept mapping, namely planning, generation of statements, their structuring, statements’ representation, interpretation of maps and their utilization. In order to ensure adequate preparation and brainstorming, I have involved a team of eight school teachers for pre-school education who are regularly in touch with children between the ages of 2 and 5 years. To generate statements that define issues related to child psychology, there was brainstorming session completed. Its results are presented in Appendix section of this paper.
The next step was structuring of the statements. The same was done on the basis of simple discussions, because the group was small and such activities as sorting and forced ranking (rating) were not required. In order to develop representation of the statements generated by the group I selected, we performed analysis of our statements and plotted them on a map in accordance with the relations between them (see Appendix for details). Simultaneously, a cluster analysis was performed along with two-dimensional statement map so as to come to the final concept statement. We didn’t have to use the map rating in our case, as the group was comparatively small. After completing the mapping activity, the next step was creation of literature review on the selected statement.
Review of Literature
Abnormal social deficits, repetitive behaviors and impaired communication are common symptoms for autism in children. It is a kind of condition that takes person completely away from social contact and he/she gets absorbed in his or her own world. Though the effect is only related to social cognition, there can be multiple factors responsible to give rise to this condition. They may be genetic or related to environmental risks. Though there were multiple opinions around this state, including bad parenting, later it was discovered and proved that this was primarily a type of neurological disorder (Reser, 2011).
Autism has been a topic of multiple researches and the most of them were done in order to understand the problem, not to find the solution. The study of this psychological state was compared and studied in line with other socially impacting disorders, like schizophrenia and depression. But even though these states are more or less adaptive, cognitive syndromes of their root cause are very different from one other. The issue is that the activity simply impacts the ability to focus on a certain thing and, therefore, it is very difficult to gauge this in children, who are in their learning stages and may not show desired concentration simply due to lack of interest or another better alternative being available (Reser, 2011).
In order to complete a detailed and fruitful study on a particular topic, it is very important to diagnose the issue behind it and do a slight check based on the available information. In this case, the difficulty of diagnoses of the autism issue in children was already discussed. Actually, all children have a tendency to lose focus and stay in their own world. However, they are believed to maintain a very smooth and easy social behavior, which is not the case with an autistic child. Absolutely unsocial behavior is observed when the child shows almost no interest in the surrounding and displays repetition of his or her actions (Reser, 2011).
In a research conducted by Schwarzer & Massaro (2001) it was clearly proved on the basis of an experiment that children have a tendency, due to which they trust configurational information more than featural one and, therefore, in order to study or research this issue, it will be better to closely look at the very regular activities of children and analyze them through clusters to reveal any odd behavior.
Focus and Approach of the Research
Considering the above mentioned discussions, it is important to understand that this study is very subjective and critical. Therefore, before applying any solutions we have to be absolutely sure of way the issue is studied and identified. Hence, we will use a quantitative approach in order show the major points that confirm the presence of the problem. A questionnaire will be given to the participant teachers in order for them to fill it out so that they could comment and define the behavior of a child individually. Analysis of this data will show us any exceptions, if present, among the sample (Trochim, 2007). The questions asked will be:
Does the child participate in games and activities organized within the class?
Is there any instance where the child is repeating an activity of a statement for a long time?
How many times is the child ready to talk to others of socialize proactively?
Is the child able to focus on whatever is being taught in the class?
A study of the interactions between a judge and the defendant in a courtroom hearing is an example of a contextual setting providing elements of a research study. From the provisions of a contextual study, the courtroom setting provides an excellent example to review the contextual elements of a research paper. From the courtroom setting, everything in the courtroom is the context of the study including the nonverbal expressions and exchanges that take place. For instance, the exchanges that take place between the judge and the defendants over a case form an intriguing basis for contextual elements. The judge needs clarification from the defendant over a case he or she is accused. The questions are part of the context in the courtroom because they seek to extract information from the defendant to clear their name on the matter. The judge’s decision on whether to sentence the defendant will depend on the information from the contextual elements of response from the defendant (Bovaird & Todd, 2007, p 144).
On the other hand, the defendant holds the tag that he or she is innocent until the contrary is proved and that is what forms the contextual basis of the argument in the courtroom. The defendant seeks to provide information that defends their argument to prove their innocence over the case and any other attendant in the courtroom. Thought the conversations and exchanges in the courtroom, nonverbal cues and expressions like gesture and facial expressions abound and they too comprise elements of the contextual information. The elements of or the research with regard to the contextual elements in the courtroom resemble those of the research paper that include measurement and design of the contextual study just like the exchanges in the court room form the design and measure of defense and trial (Mitchell, 2000, p 201).
Applied Project Stage Three
While conducting a research on the various causes of autism, the best sampling method to use is systematic sampling technique. It is because the process makes use of the heterogeneity of population, taking into account that the research topic is not a common aspect. For this reason, the use of systematic sampling technique ensures that the population is selected in a strategic format that involves generating a random number, within which samples for the study are selected (Wadsworth, 2005). The unique aspect of this style of study is the fact that nth number is created and during the chosen period, samples are selected on the basis of coinciding with that number.
The topic under consideration is qualitative assessment, which is why there is less attention paid to the quantitative side. The human response is considered to be of utmost importance to the study and for this reason the application of systematic sampling technique is very effective. The research questions under consideration are as follows:
1. Influence of environmental aspects on the autism disorder.
2. Can autism be controlled by environmental intervention?
While genetics has been blamed for the increased rate of autism among children, the consideration of other factors, like parental care and early guidance, may illustrate whether or not autism can be controlled by environmental intervention (Wing & Potter, 2002). The research will, therefore, require that parents and guardians provide information about the childcare quality, the offer and its relationship with development of autism in young children.
The sample size will be around 200 people from one region that will be generated through the systematic sampling technique. The number of children with autism will be drawn from various institutions and using 10 as the nth number, every tenth child from the population will be used in the research. For this reason, it will be necessary to communicate with the parents and teachers, as well as with the relevant stakeholders to make the process effective. The sample size of 200 will be satisfactory, since it will help in developing appropriate framework for understanding the autism disorder.
Applied Project Stage Four
While conducting the research on the environmental aspects that encourage prevalence of autism, the quality of parental care is of great importance. It is measured on the basis of several concepts. One of them is the time spent by parents providing support to the child on a weekly basis. Through the use of a questionnaire, parents are required to outline their parenting programs in terms of availability, commitment and time spent trying to encourage children that have early symptoms of this condition. The analysis of the parenting programs will help in realizing whether improved commitment to the child’s upbringing would reduce the chances of autism development (Wing & Potter, 2002).
The other aspect to be measured is number of special facilities in academic institutions that can help children with autism. The facilities are to be determined in terms of availability within a specific region and comparison of the prevalence of the disorder in the region. The comparison will be helpful in realizing whether increased special facilities help in eliminating the prevalence of the disorder in terms of controlling its development in young kids. In addition, the parents will be required to answer questions regarding their perception of their child’s antisocial behaviors and this question will have a leading answer to help in the analysis. This means that the parents will be required to answer the question based on their level of concern.
The concepts will, therefore, largely involve qualitative data, with the quantitative data only being used when determining the availability of specialized facilities. Upon collecting the information, the best technique to use in the analysis of data is analytic induction. It is a technique that entails generating a hypothetical statement from some data and comparing the information with different data. In this case, the development of autism in children will be analyzed based on the quality of parental care (Wing & Potter, 2002). Depending on the collected results, a comparison tool will be developed that will relate the commitment of parents to children’s upbringing with the development of the disorder.
The parents with increased parental care and those who spend more time with their children will be compared to those who spend less time with their kids and the level of the disorder’s development noted. If the research reveals a relationship, a hypothesis will be developed. The hypotheses will then be compared for similarity in order to help in the development of appropriate understanding of the condition’s development (Kent, 2001). The analytic induction technique will, however, apply to qualitative data. It is conditioned by the simplicity of the analysis and the ease of comparison between qualitative data and research hypotheses.
The information will then be computed based on the location and reported cases of autism in the region. To make sure that the data does not turn out to be biased, there will be an inclusion of 50 control samples, with no history of autism. By analyzing their parenting behaviors, the study will help in developing a strong hypothetical foundation linking parenting to the chances of developing autism. The quantitative information collected concerning number of institutions in a certain area will be computed graphically on the basis of geographical representation and availability of specialized facilities against the prevalence of the disorder in the region (Kent, 2001).
By making the graphical comparisons, it will be easier to find out whether availability of facilities helps in reducing autism cases and being an environmental intervention, the graph will help in generating a relationship between the disorder and environmental interventions in the area. In order to make sure that the data is correct, geographical maps will be obtained from the right institutions so as to come up with the actual ratio in terms of facilities. The analysis will, therefore, be based on both qualitative and quantitative analysis methods to improve its efficiency and to obtain reliable results. Integrating both analytic tools is very important, as it helps in developing varying perspectives about the research topic and gives the researcher an opportunity to strengthen the theoretical foundation.
In the course of research it was discovered that environmental factors influence considerably the autism disorder in children. Parental behavior is one of the main factors that can improve the situation along with introduction of special facilities for such children.
Bovaird, J. & Todd, D. (2007). Modeling Contextual Effects in Longitudinal Studies. New York, NY: Routledge
Kent, R. A. (2001). Data construction and data analysis for survey research. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
Mallette, M. & Nell, K. (2011). Literacy Research Methodologies. London: Guilford Press.
Mitchell, E. (2000). Elements of Research. New York, NY: American Psychiatric Pub.
Reser, J. E. (2011). Conceptualizing the Autism Spectrum in Terms of Natural Selection and Behavioral Ecology: The Solitary Forager Hypothesis. Evolutionary Psychology Journal 9(2), 207-238.
Schwarzer, G., & Massaro, D. (2001). Modeling Face Identification Processing in Children and Adults. Journal of Experimental Child Psycology, 139-161.
Trochim, W. K. (2007). The Concept Mapping Process. Retrieved from http://www.socialresearchmethods.net.
Trochim, W. K., & Donnelly, J. P. (2008). The research methods knowledge base (3rd ed.). Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.
Wadsworth. (2005). Sampling methods: Research methods workshop. Retrieved from http://www.wadsworth.com/psychology_d/templates/student_resources/workshops/res_methd/sampling/sampling_01.html
Wing, L., & Potter, D. (2002). The epidemiology of autistic spectrum disorders: is the prevalence rising? Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews, 8(3), 151-61.
The impact of early schooling on children.
Video games taking children away from social activities.
Working parents do not have time for children, which results in depressions at a very young age.
Environment and Genetics leading to disorders like Autism.
Too much of junk food is making children dumb.
Television viewing is injurious to young children and may lead to neurological disorders.