Discussion on Sexuality: Scholarly Paper vs Popular Media
The study of Campbell, Tross, Hu, Pavlicova, Kenney, & Nunes (2011) entitled “Female condom skill and attitude: Results from a NIDA Clinical Trials Network Gender-specific HIV risk reduction study” was published in the Aids Education and Prevention journal. The researchers are from the Columbia University, New York and they are affiliated with different organizations such as the New York State Psychiatric Institute, HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, and Columbia University Medical Center. The aim of the study was to determine the effects of a five session HIV-prevention intervention training in improving the skill in using the female condom as well as in increasing positive attitude.
The female condom is considered effective in lessening unprotected sex. As early as 1993, the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has already approved the first female condom (FC1). In 2009, a new version came out and was also given approval. Compared to the initial FC1, the design of the new FC2 is more user friendly. It is made of a thinner material, less noisy, and more affordable (Campbell, et al., 2011).
The research participants were 515 women who had unprotected sex with a male partner, within a six-month period before the study. There were two kinds of interventions: the HIV education (HE) session where participants were shown female condoms no in-session practice; and safer sex skill building (SSB) session with participants practicing condom use on a pelvic model. Data was collected using interviews and a computer-assisted self-interview (ACASI). Data analysis was made through measures of central tendencies. The mixed effects modeling (MEM) was also used to compare the effects of the SSB and HE sessions. The results showed that attending the SSB was effective in increasing the skills of the condom use rather than just the HE sessions.
Popular Media Article
The issue of female condoms came out in the San Francisco Chronicle on February 15, 2011. Entitled “SF encourages the use of female condoms,” and written by M. Zaveri, this article reported that San Francisco was the first city in the US that encourages gay and straight to use the new female condoms which is out in the market. The city had actually campaigned for the use of the FC2 as early as the mid-1990s. However, these were not popular because the previous FC2s were not user-friendly. They were considered awkward to use, uncomfortable, and were also expensive (Zaveri, 2011). In 2010, the FC2 was redesigned by its manufacturer Female Health Company based in Chicago, addressing the common complaints. Thus, the new FC2 was made of a thinner material and the two rings that kept the condom in place was softer.
According to San Francisco’s STD-prevention director, they “recognize that one size does not fit all for people” and she thinks that “that’s true for condoms and safer-sex tools as well as anything else” (Zaveri, 2011, n.p.). The city government of San Francisco distributed free female condoms in February 14th in several locations including the City’s civic center, the Bayview, Dolores Park, San Francisco State University, and at Castro. Female condoms will also be accessible with no charge at city clinics. The city’s health department has also called on community health organizations to assist in the free distributions.
The female health condom distribution is part of the city’s public campaign on health, especially since statistics have shown increased infection rates for major sexually-transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and syphilis. MAC AIDS funds provided financial resources for the campaign on female condoms. From its $100,000 grant, 85 percent has been used on condoms.
Comparison Between Scholarly Paper and Popular Media Article
The documents summarized in the preceding pages both discuss female condom use. The information provided to the reader both include description of the female condom and when it started to be used in the US. There are distinct differences between the scholarly paper article and the popular media article. One very obvious is the length; the scholarly paper is 12 pages long while popular media article is barely a page long. Other aspects that distinguish one from the other pertains to (a) language used; (b) methods of presentation; and (c) intended reader. The followings sections provide details.
Language used. The study of Campbell, et al. (2011) uses academic language. The sentence structure is most often in the passive form. The tone throughout the paper is authoritative. It is likewise an evidence-based document as shown by the numerous in-text citations found throughout the paper. The study makes use of specific jargons which assumes the reader has reached at least a university-level education. There are technical terms especially in the description of the methods used and data analysis. A person who is not familiar with terms in quantitative analysis would have a difficulty understanding what modeling means, for examples. Thus, to be able to understand the language, the reader has to have a prior understanding about the concepts talked about.
In comparison, the popular media article used a conversational tone. There was no jargon. The only technical terms used were HIV and STD but these are commonly understood. Persons were named and quotes from these persons were included. Overall, the popular media article sounded warmer, closer to people, and easily understandable.
Method of presentation. A scholarly paper has a clear, logical flow that has to be followed. The abstract gives an overview of the study and the literature review provides a background, context, and relevance of the research. The methodology section as well as the description of the participants give the reader a detailed picture of how new data from the study was generated. The results of the study from specific analysis tools also present the hard facts. At the end of the scholarly paper, conclusions were evidence-based with hard solid facts. The reader is given a clear path on how the conclusions were drawn. This is the reason why professors assign scholarly articles to students. These kind of materials provide different aspects about the issue and enables the student/reader to fully comprehend the topic. At the same time, the logical flow educates the student on what to do before making conclusions.
In contrast, the popular media article made use of statistics to highlight just one fact – the rate of STDs is increasing thus, the need for female condoms. The article also emphasizes the role of people, especially that of the local government. This is very clear in the title. Using quotes, especially one that is loaded with a cultural undertone was effective in making reader and writer connect.
Intended reader. The scholarly paper is intended for persons from the academe, psychologists, government officials, and other persons who have attained university education at the very least. The popular media article is intended for public consumption. As it is published by the San Francisco Chronicle, a newspaper of general circulation, then the language used must be easily understandable by the majority if not all of the city population. The use of jargons is limited and clearly avoided. The statistic chosen was used to make the article sound authoritative but this too was only limited to a couple of figures.
The female condom has already been used in Europe for more than 20 years (Washington Post, 2010). In the US however, it is still not fully utilized. Discussion about the use of the female condom can either be through a scholarly paper or a popular media. Campbell et al.’s (2011) study present a detailed explanation about how practice improve skill and actual use while Zaveri’s (2011) write-up shows what government is doing to promote its use. For the student, it is best to be formally educated about sexuality in order to gain an objective view and to be able to make informed choices once the situation presents itself.
Campbell, A.N.C., Tross, S., Hu, M., Pavliocova, M., Kenney, J., & Nunes, E.V. (2011). Female condom skill and attitude: Results from a NIDA Clinical Trials Network Gender-specific HIV risk reduction study. AIDS Education and Prevention, 23 (4), pp.329-340.
Fears, D. (March 6, 2010). Free female condoms are city’s new tool against HIV/AIDS. The Washington Post. p. AO1.
Zaveri, M. (2011, February 15). S.F. encourages use of female condoms. San Francisco Chronicle (10/1/2007 to present). p. C2.