Now showing 1 - 10 of 20
  • Publication
    Controlling response shift bias: The use of the retrospective pre-test design in the evaluation of a master's programme
    (Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2008-11-15) ;
    Student self-report measures of change are widely used in evaluation research to measure the impact and outcomes of an educational programme or intervention. Traditionally the measures used to evaluate the impact of an educational programme on student outcomes and the extent to which students change is a comparison of the student’s pre-test scores with their post-test scores. However, this method of evaluating change may be problematic due to the confounding factor of response shift bias. Response shift bias occurs when the student’s internal frame of reference of the construct being measured, for example research ability or critical thinking, changes between the pre-test and the post-test due to the influence of the educational programme. To control for response shift bias the retrospective pre-test method was used to evaluate the outcomes achieved from students completing a research module at master’s level. The retrospective pre-test method differs from the traditional pre-test-post-test design in that both post-test and pre-test perceptions of respondents are collected at the same time. The findings indicated that response shift bias was evident in student self-reports of change, especially in subjects the student had been previously exposed to at undergraduate level. The retrospective pre-test design found that the programme had significantly greater impact on outcomes that that identified using the traditional pre‐test–post‐test design leading to the conclusion that students may overestimate their ability at the commencement of an educational programme. The retrospective pre-test design is not a replacement for the traditional pre‐test–post‐test measures but may be a useful adjunct in the evaluation of the impact of educational programmes on student outcomes.
      503Scopus© Citations 92
  • Publication
    The silent treatment: parents' narratives of sexuality education with young people
    This paper is based on research undertaken in Ireland that sought to understand how parents communicate with their children about sexuality. Forty-three parents were interviewed and data were analysed using analytical induction. Data indicated that while parents tended to pride themselves on the culture of openness to sexuality that prevailed in their home, they often described situations where very little dialogue on the subject actually transpired. However, unlike previous research on the topic that identified parent-related factors (such as ignorance or embarrassment) as the main impediments to parent-young person communication about sex, participants in our study identified the central obstacle to be a reticence on the part of the young person to engage in such dialogue. Participants described various blocking techniques apparently used by the young people, including claims to have full prior knowledge on the issue, physically absenting themselves from the situation, becoming irritated or annoyed, or ridiculing parents' educational efforts. In our analysis, we consider our findings in light of the shifting power of children historically and the new cultural aspiration of maintaining harmonious and democratic relations with one's offspring.
      621Scopus© Citations 22
  • Publication
    Parents' constructions of the sexual self-presentation and sexual conduct of adolescents: discourses of gendering and protecting
    In this paper, we explore the discourses on sexuality that a sample of parents drew upon when they talked about teenage sexual self-presentation and conduct. The sample consisted of 43 parents (32 mothers and 11 fathers) of young people aged 10–19 years. Data were gathered using in-depth interviews and were analysed using a strategy known as modified analytical induction. Findings indicated that while an acceptance the traditional heterosexual script permeated participants' accounts, and protective discourses in relation to young women were brought to bear, so, too, were protective discourses invoked in relation to young men. On the whole, young women tended to be cast as sexual subjects who chose to self-sexualise and this was sometimes seen by participants as a threat to young men. We argue that the discourses that parents connoted were multiple and sometimes contradictory, and our analysis problematises the notion that conventional discourses singularly cast women as objects of male sexuality. However, the overall picture indicated that in parents' narratives, young women tended to be more heavily regulated and either viewed as needing protection from male sexual advances or castigated for encouraging them.
      435Scopus© Citations 8
  • Publication
    Social selection and professional regulation for Master's degrees for nurses
    (Blackwell, 2008-09) ;
    Aim. This paper is a report of a study to understand the perspectives of two sets of stakeholders, namely clinical nursing providers and nursing academics, on how registered nurses should be selected for Master's degree programmes. Background. The proliferation of taught Master's programmes has led to concerns about a lowering of standards. Even with the expansion of professional Master's programmes, they remain one of the least researched areas of higher education. Method. The sampling strategy was a combination of convenience and snowball sampling. In-depth interviews were conducted in 2006-07 with 15 stakeholders and data were subjected to thematic content analysis. Findings. There were differences in service providers' and academics' perceptions of access to Master's level education for nurses. Service providers engaged in regulatory practices, as evidenced in the way in which potential candidates were judged to be suitable or not to undertake a Master's-level education. Academic participants, in contrast, tended to have far fewer concerns about the career plans of applicants and were more likely to invoke discourses of academic educational admission practices. Conclusion. The health services need highly skilled, educated workers whose abilities and knowledge make an impact on the provision of effective patient and client care. This level of education can be achieved through continuing education of the professions by taught Master's degrees. It is imperative that an effective partnerships between clinical service providers and academics are developed to promote understanding of their respective perceptions of admission to the degree.
      436Scopus© Citations 10
  • Publication
    The Academic Profession in Ireland
    This study examined the nature and extent of the changes experienced by the academic profession in Ireland in recent years. The report outlines current characteristics of the academic profession — those who teach and/or research — providing a profile of academics in Ireland. Three themes are investigated: the professional contexts of Irish academics, their teaching and research situations, and their experiences of governance and management within their institutions.
  • Publication
    Safer heterosex: perspectives from young men in Ireland
    Background: Existing research indicates that large numbers of people do not consistently use condoms when embarking on sexual relationships and instead use unreliable social cues to determine whether a potential partner is likely to have a sexually transmissible infection. This article reports on an aspect of the first major piece of qualitative research that explored young people's perspectives on sexuality in Ireland, and focuses Oil how young men made sense of risk when it came to sexual behaviour. Methods: Seventeen focus group interviews (collectively comprising 124 young men) were conducted with male secondary school pupils in Ireland, whose ages ranged from 14 to 19 years. Results: The data are structured around three themes that capture how study participants made sense of sexual safety. These themes are: (i) rumour, local hearsay and 'knowing' a potential partner; (ii) the social construction of the 'slut' category; and (iii) women as 'bearers of disease'. Young women in the young men's social group tended to acquire a specific sexual identity, not necessarily through any definitive evidence of their sexual history, but rather through their normative behaviours - dress, presentation, appearance and so forth. It was on this basis that the sexual status of a young woman was judged. Conclusions: Based on participants' accounts, we conclude that notions of safer sex are not merely established in individual discussions between a couple embarking on a sexual relationship, but rather are produced discursively in the wider social setting beyond the sexual encounter
      353Scopus© Citations 11
  • Publication
    Parents' constructions of communication with their children about safer sex
    Aims and objectives: To analyse how a sample of parents reportedly communicated with their adolescent and preadolescent children about safer sex (contraceptive and condom use). Background: Among the plethora of existing research available on parent–child communication about sexuality (more broadly), very few studies detail the substance and tenor of what parents actually convey specifically about safer sex.Design: The study adopted a qualitative methodology and involved interviewing 43 parents (32 mothers and 11 fathers). Data were analysed using modified analytical induction. Results: Findings indicated that although the majority of parents professed to being open about sexuality with their children, only a minority reportedly conveyed direct messages about contraception and condom use. Moreover, these direct messages appeared to be imparted at a superficial level. Parents were more likely to communicate such messages in a tacit manner through innuendo and intimation. The complacency that parents displayed about the need to undertake safer sex education with their adolescents arose from an understanding that this was covered adequately at school and the belief that their teenager was not in a romantic relationship. In addition, some parents expressed concern that discussing safer sex with teenagers might actually encourage sexual activity. Conclusion: We conclude that some parents may consider themselves to have engaged in sexuality education around safer sex when it appears to be predominantly surface-level education; that what constitutes ‘doing’ sexuality education is far from clear-cut may cast some light on why there is little consistency in the literature on the impact of parental communication on sexual health outcomes for young people. Relevance to clinical practice: For nurses engaged in sexuality health promotion with parents, we caution about presenting unequivocal messages to parents about the impact of parental communication about sexuality on adolescent sexual behaviour without due acknowledgement of the grey areas indicated in the literature.
      703Scopus© Citations 28
  • Publication
    Masculinities and young men's sex education needs: problematising client centred health promotion approaches
    In recent decades, dominant discourses in health promotion have emphasized empowerment, client participation and the notion of people identifying and being facilitated to meet their own health needs. However, there has been little analysis of the concept of ‘need’ and the possibility, at least, that the fulfilment of some such self-defined needs are not in the interest of social justice and equality. In this article, we present an account of the sex education needs of secondary school pupils from their own perspectives, and problematize the concept of self-identified needs in health education. Twenty-nine focus group interviews were conducted with 226 secondary school pupils in Ireland, and data were subjected to a qualitative analysis. Findings suggested that young men tended to prioritize practical guidance that would provide them with the skills and confidence to take the lead in sexual encounters, and display competence in the act of penetrative sex. We argue that these self-defined sex education needs emanate from a culture of traditional masculinity where, for a male, one's place in the pecking order is derived from one's capacity to conquer, lead and display mastery with regard to sex. In the discussion, we attempt to unpack the notion of clients identifying their own needs and the concept of empowerment as it relates to our data, in the context of gender-based structural inequalities
      178Scopus© Citations 14
  • Publication
    Young men's vulnerability in constituting hegemonic masculinity in sexual relations
    This article reports on a qualitative analysis of theThis article reports on a qualitative analysis of the accounts of young men on their experiences of heterosexual encounters. Based on data collected in Ireland using 17 focus groups with 124 young men aged between 14 and 19 years (a subsection of a wider study), the manner in which intricate peer groupmechanisms acted as surveillance strategies in regulating the young men toward presenting themselves in ways consistent with hegemonic manifestations of masculinity is explored. However, there were also elements of resistance to such a culture in the way in which sexual pleasure for some young men was derived relationally through giving pleasure rather than merely through mechanical, emotionally detached sexual acts that characterize hegemonic masculinity. In emphasizing male vulnerabilities such as uncertainty, fear, and rejection in the realm of sexuality, it is proposed that one must not lose sight of the broader context of male sexual dominance for which, as data indicate, men themselves pay a price.
      656Scopus© Citations 39
  • Publication
    Hormone therapy and the medical encounter:  a qualitative analysis of women's experiences
    Objective: The aim of this article was to explore women's experiences in biomedical consultations for menopause symptoms, with a particular focus on how hormone therapy (HT) featured during the encounter. Methods: Semistructured interviews were conducted with 39 women, and data were analyzed using a qualitative strategy referred to as Thematic Networks. Results: Several participants whose menopause started before the period of the HT "scares" described being "put on" HT as a matter of course, even when their symptoms were mild. By contrast, some of those presenting in the more recent time period with what they deemed to be severe symptoms were more likely to describe scenarios whereby they pressured their physicians for an HT prescription. Once on HT, participants were found to be far from passive recipients of a biomedical "treatment" but rather embarked on an active dialogue with themselves about how to manage the distressing aspects of menopause. Conclusions: Using HT did not tend to spell a transition to biomedical advocacy, despite its reported effectiveness in moderating bodily distresses. Rather, HT tended to retain a tentative status as a temporary relief and not a long-term panacea.
      231Scopus© Citations 8