Engaging ethnic minority parents

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1. Summary

The title of this research proposal is ‘Engaging ethnic minority parents at Sure Start Organisation in Leicester based at Saffron Lane area.' The hypothesis and the justification behind it are based on subjective evidence that ethnic minorities often underused such resources. The intent of this proposal is to consider the accuracy of this subjective evidence, to discover the extent of usage of Saffron Lane by ethnic minority parents, and to find ways of engaging and increasing that level of usage.

2.Literature review

Sure Start programmes, are an initiative that began in 1998.They were influenced by a programme called Head Start in the United States, which according to (Zigler & Muenchow 1992) was viewed primarily as a programme for minority children. (Zigler & Muenchow, 1992, p.184) The Sure Start principle is not specifically aimed at ethnic minorities in the UK, but is targeted particularly at local programmes in the most deprived regions of England. (Literacy Trust 2009) There can often be higher proportion of ethnic minorities in many poorer areas, therefore fully engaging ethnic minorities in Sure Start programmes, and overcoming any cultural barriers is a key first issue.

Go to (Defs) website in united kingdom and look at Sure Start researches that have been done so far and rephrase the highlighted section only or you can add a new point in the paragraph using your own words to provide evidence base because the point you have expressed it is unclear)

Secondly, some also note the difficulty that there can be in the need to overcome some of the resistance on the part of minorities to participating in research trial. (Zigler & Muenchow, ibid., p.49) Part of this can be overcome by the way in which the research trial at Saffron Lane is to be undertaken(The words “some also” in this part has made the whole highlighted part to be unclear). (Denscombe 2002.,P.3) notes the importance of being open-minded about the research process and being sensitive to those taking part This is true with regards to any questionnaire that may be formulated and any information that may be requested. (Denscombe, 2002, p.20)

A third issue is with regard to personalisation of services. If ethnic minorities are found to be under-represented at Saffron Lane, is this because of a lack of awareness of the services that are available, or is it because the services that are provided are not suitable for the needs of this particular group? The Sure Start Children's Centre Practice Guidance (Dfes 2006) highlights the fact that Children's Centers can increase participation by previously disengaged families by actively encouraging them to become engaged in the design and delivery of their services. (Dfes, 2006, p.93)

3. Methodology

In terms of acquiring data, the research will look at both quantitative and qualitative methods of acquiring the data needed to complete the research. In quantitative terms, this will take the form of a short questionnaire that can be filled in by all members of the public passing through the center during the course of one week, to be filled in by parents/guardians, and by parents/guardians on behalf of their children. By having the questionnaires filled out over one week rather than just one day, it is hoped that the sample gathered will be as representative as possible. The information to be gathered by this questionnaire is designed to be as simple and as non-intrusive as possible.

The questionnaire will also need a paragraph on it that people are invited to read before completing it, explaining the purpose of the questionnaire and for what purpose it will be used. Ideally a personal request to fill in with a verbal explanation is more desirable. It is important to recognise that having the questionnaire only in English may cause problems for those for whom English is a second language, and so recognising which local languages will need to be included on the questionnaire is an important part of the process.

The quantitative information gained will then give a picture of the percentage representation of ethnic minorities in participation in services at Saffron Lane. According the 2001 National Census put together by the Office for National Statistics (2004), for the local council area in which Saffron Lane is located, 87.05% of the population defined themselves as White, leaving an ethnic minority population of 12.95%, about 1300 persons (about 90 of those being under the age of 4). (Dfes, 2004) This is compared with a total ethnic minority population of about 36.14% in the whole Leicester unitary area. We can reasonably expect the reliability of the data to be highly accurate, as we are asking for three pieces of information that people know well. In terms of the reliability of the sample, it is important to ensure that all visitors to the centre during that week are given the opportunity to participate, and not just some groups.

There will then be a final option on the questionnaire giving those from ethnic minorities the opportunity to participate further by being interviewed more specifically on Saffron Lane and the children's services available. This is the qualitative data that will be collected. It also needs to be considered that there may be reluctance to volunteer directly for such interviews, so during the week itself, as a researcher I need to be available to be proactive about encouraging people from ethnic minorities to be interviewed. The questions to be asked will be based upon gathering information about people's perceptions of the services available

It is hopeful that this sample group will be as large as possible, certainly in terms of gaining a representative sample. The project is designed in such a way that any researcher should achieve the same results, increasing its reliability (Walsh, 2001, p.15)

Ethically, it is important to recognise the value of the information gathered, and the value of those who will be giving their time to provide the information. Information should be volunteered freely, and not under intimidation, and with due respect to people's right to refuse to do so. I will therefore follow the advice of the Social Research Association's Ethical Guidelines, (Denscombe, 2002) in that the acceptability of social research depends increasingly on the willingness of social researchers to accord respect to their subjects and to treat them with consideration. (Denscombe p.175)

4. Results

In terms of results, the quantitative data collected is designed to provide a basis of comparison in terms of ethnic minorities using Saffron Lane facilities with the wider ethnic makeup of the community as a whole. In qualitative terms, it is hoped that the interview process will show specific areas of growth potential with weaknesses and strengths of current services in relating to ethnic minorities, as well as new service options. These results will then be presented to Saffron Lane Sure Start for their use in future planning.

5. Cost

The cost of the proposal, it is investigated, will be very small in financial terms, but obviously in terms of time in producing questionnaires, and being available for a week for interviews, will be much higher in terms of time.

6. Conclusion

It is hoped that this research will provide valuable statistics and insight into the question of how ethnic minority parents can be more deeply engaged in Sure Start projects in Leicester based at the Saffron Lane area, as well as providing information about current levels of ethnic minority involvement. It is vital for this research project that they are engaged with it, and it is not just a matter of gather information from external sources, but engaging ethnic minority parents with the process of this research.