Initial Survey & Larger Research

The initial survey results were shared a couple of days ago. A point of note in the initial survey was the limitations to the survey itself. I wanted to offer an option for expanded answers to each survey question, but that was not an immediate option, since I have a very basic Survey Monkey account. At some point in the future, I would like to upgrade that account to allow for more in-depth surveys and polls; for now, I had to work within the limits of the basic options.
Interestingly, though, the answers received in the initial survey were not all that far outside of the results from my larger research, and that is something I would like to share here. I am still limited as to exactly how much I can share, until such time as my dissertation is actually published…but I can talk about some of the contents. At least the portion that I have complete control over, since it was and is my research.
The question of denial — asked in different ways during the in-person interviews of my research, and two basic ways in the initial survey here — answered other questions in the research. To understand the distinction, it may help to understand that in my independent research, there were three very specific questions for which I was seeking answers.
The central research question was: What do parents of 13- to 19-year-old females in the Atlanta metropolitan area perceive to be the contributing factors to female teenagers contracting sexually transmitted infections? 
The other research questions were: How do parents of 13- to 19-year-old female teenagers feel that their perspectives on sexual relations impact the potential of their child contracting an STI?
and: How do parents perceive female teenagers contract a sexually transmitted infection?
That third question only seems obvious at first glance, and was a question that I toyed with, because the seemingly obvious answer is unprotected sex…but that isn’t really the actual question. The actual question is in the first 4 words…how do parents perceive…which makes a big difference, in terms of direct research.
Not quite as “obvious” once the constraint element is understood…but finding the answers to that specific secondary research question.
In answering the research questions — which are not asked directly, but through the answers to the interview questions (through themes that surface during data analysis) — fuller interview questions (with follow-up questions for each participant, as necessary) answered the research questions. My little non-scientific survey here only underscored those answers. I would eventually like to expand my initial research to a much broader audience of participants, of course…to get richer, more in-depth thoughts…but for this entry, I am simply going to share what themes actually surfaced during my research.
1. Discomfort and embarrassment — both parents and teens
2. Inadequate information and education
3. Gender Disparity
4. Denial — both parents and teens
5. Media Influence
6. Alcohol and other substances
The overarching thread that connected the above themes (and their sub-themes) was communication. Communication was the thread that bound everything together, and manifested in different ways throughout the interviews, regardless of how participants answered the direct questions…a small sampling of which were answered in the initial survey questions here.
The questions about condoms (access and knowledge about use) fell hugely into the first and third themes, and moderately in the second theme. Several (seeming) assumptions exist about what teens (and especially female teens) know and don’t know amid the various gaps that are evident in public school sex education, particularly in states (such as Georgia) that accept Title V funding for abstinence-based education.
In a coming entry (probably in either April or May, depending on when the research is finally published), I will expand with more details about the themes, what common phrases repeated throughout the interviews…again, regardless of how exact questions were asked (and which questions were the foundation for the initial survey here).
I am looking forward to sharing that information, as it will be critical information that will be part of the resource I am seeking to develop as one aim of this website and blog.
For now, Happy Wednesday.
~dw

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