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Children who are separated from their parents face many challenges in life. Some of these challenges hinder the achievement of their potential. Previous research has shown that such children face difficulties adapting to society and its expectations (Jee & Davis, 2004). They are likely to indulge in substance abuse, crime and delinquency in general. This research aims at analyzing the effects which separation from parents has on learning. Specifically, it analyzes the relationship between learning disabilities and separation of children from parents. A research in Rochester at a kindergarten was conducted to analyze this relationship. The research findings showed that children who are separated from parents have higher likelihood of suffering from learning disabilities than those who are not separated (Jee et. al., 2008). The paper will also critique the research conduced with specific regard to aspects such as methodology, presentation and accuracy and validity of research findings. This will enable readers to ascertain the authenticity of the overall research findings. The discussed issues will be summarized at the end of the paper.
The article "learning disabilities among children separated from a parent" is written by Jee et. al. (2008) and it explores the relationship between children's' separation from parents and their learning difficulties. They begin their article by explaining the various reasons which lead to child separation from parents and these include parental illness, divorce and adversity. They also give statistics on the number of separated children and these include over 800,000 children considering the fact that a third of marriages end up in divorce. The authors then give their reasons for choosing the research topic. The high number of separated children as well as little research on the subject motivates them to undertake this research.
The research methodology is qualitative in nature and the researchers select 1619 children from a kindergarten in Rochester for research. They assess various characteristics of their target subjects including behavioral profile, medical history and social background. The researchers compare children who were away from parents for one month against those who were never separated from their parents. Regression analysis and bi-variate analysis are used as analysis tools (Jee et. al., 2008).
The research findings show that children who are separated from parents have higher cases of learning disabilities compared to those who are not. The children who are separated form parents also have higher instances of pre-literacy problems compared to those not separated. The overall findings showed that after adjusting for social, medical and demographic factors, children who are separated from parents have adverse effects as far as learning disabilities are involved. The authors conclude that children from urban areas who are separated from parents especially when entering kindergarten have difficulties in learning compared to those not separated. They explain that it is important to develop solutions which may help such children cope better in school.
There are various levels of critique which will be applied to the research. These include critique of the methodology section, the overall presentation and the general validity and accuracy of research findings. These will be briefly discussed below;
Research questions and hypothesis
The researchers have not given a clear research question and hypothesis. Although the research basically investigates the relationship between separation of parents and impact on the learning disability of children, the research questions and hypothesis are not clearly outlined. The research questions should have included "Is there a relationship between separation of parents and impact on the learning disability of children?" Another research question would be "What impact does the separation of parents have on children as far as learning ability is concerned?" The third research question should have been "What is the solution to the learning disability problems faced by children as far as separation of parents is involved?"
The hypothesis statements should also have been generated from the research questions. The first statement of hypothesis may have been "There is a relationship between separation of parents and impact on the learning disability of children". The second hypothesis statement should have been "Increase in learning disabilities is an impact which the separation of parents has on children". The third hypothesis statement may have been "increase in resources for children brought up by separated parents is a solution to the learning disability problems faced by children with separated parents". These hypothesis statements would have been corroborated by the research findings which show findings which are consistent with these statements.
The authors use both primary and secondary research methods when conducting research. These forms of research have various weaknesses and strengths which may affect the validity of the overall research. Secondary research sources such as academic journals and books which have been used by the authors also have various weaknesses. The first weakness is that it is difficult to corroborate information which is contained in academic books and journals. This is because the authors are not physically present to explain diverse aspects of their works. Another weakness of these secondary sources is that any mistakes which may be present in books and journals used in the research may be replicated by the authors. This may affect the research validity and accuracy of findings. The third weakness is that if researchers rely on secondary information sources in the research, then this may lead to mistakes and inaccuracy of research findings. However, it must be acknowledged that academic journal and books used by the authors are credible sources whose possibility of having these weaknesses is minimal. This is because they are written by scholars and experts on the subjects.
In the actual research undertaken by the researchers, a cross sectional survey was used for research. This method of data collection also has various weaknesses which may undermine the validity of the research. One weakness is that ambiguous responses and errors when filling the survey questions may affect the research findings since the people filling survey forms are not physically present to expound on their responses when analyzing the findings. Another weakness is that biased responses may be realized if the questions are not structured appropriately. Finally, this method of data collection may attract fewer responses or socially desirable answers especially since many people are suspicious of written forms.
Sample size and analysis of findings
The sample size of the research was 1619. This sample size may be deemed as relatively small since it is used as a representation of the overall population which consists of over 1,000,000 children who are separated from their parents in the US. A larger sample size would have increased the accuracy of findings. In analyzing the findings, researchers used regression analysis and SPSS software. These are superior analysis tools which increase the research validity (Lindlof & Taylor, 2002). The researchers also factor in including behavioral profile, medical history and social background when undertaking research. This is very important as each of these factors would affect the findings of the research. Factoring in these factors reduces the research bias.
Validity and accuracy of findings
When analyzing the validity and accuracy of research findings, various components of research are analyzed in totality. These include the validity of sources, data collection and methodology as well as data analysis (Denzin & Lincoln, 2005). The researchers have used academic books and journals to support literature discussed. These are valid sources which are used for any scholarly research paper. Their strengths outnumber their weaknesses as has been seen from the analysis. The researchers also used a sample size of approximately 1600 people. This size is generally small especially considering that there are millions of children in the United States. However, the sample may be representative of the actual population if the research methods and analysis is performed effectively. Data collection applied a survey and this form of data collection also has more strengths than weaknesses. The parents who took part in the survey are likely to have given honest responses since they believed that the survey was for the better welfare of their children in the kindergarten.
Finally, data analysis applied regression analysis and the use of the SPSS software. These are two analysis tools which have been universally accepted as effective for data analysis in research. Generally, the research was performed effectively and findings analyzed using acceptable tools. The overall research findings can therefore be deemed as accurate and valid as far as the research on separation of children from parents and their learning disabilities is concerned. However, in future, the researchers should use a larger sample size when undertaking research to improve the accuracy of findings. They should also apply the correct format and include research questions and hypothesis statements in order to ensure that the research is acceptable to scholars and research consumers alike.
The researchers use the acceptable format of a scholarly article. They begin with the introduction, literature review, methodology section, research findings and discussion and finally the conclusion of the paper (Becker, 2006). They also use simple language which is understandable to people of all ages and backgrounds. They avoid using too much technical jargon associated with scholars. The researchers also justify every theory applied using either the research findings or academic journals and books. These are credible sources and it increases the validity of the overall research findings.
However, the researchers did not indicate the hypothesis which was to be tested by the research. This is a major weakness since the readers are unable to understand the purpose of research without hypothesis to be tested. Various research limitation including weaknesses of secondary research, cost and time limitations are also not discussed by the author. They should discuss these weaknesses in order to enable readers make informed decisions which relying on the research for decision making. Generally, the research paper is well presented and may be well understood by students and scholars alike. This will provide accurate information on social problems such as the problem under study and enable policymakers develop effective policies which deal with these social issues.
Importance of research findings
The research findings which have been made by the researchers are very important to society in general. It is generally believed that children who are raised by single parents may be adversely affected and they may have problems in their development. However, very few researchers have been undertaken to support this view with facts. Since over 800,000 children in the US live with parents who have separated, then these research findings are very important to the American society (Haflon et. al., 1995). Sociologists and counselors may use this information to encourage couples who are going through difficulties that divorce or separation has adverse effects on their children. This may encourage more couples to work on problems they have as opposed to separating.
Policy makers including law makers may also find these research findings important when undertaking their duties. People who make social policies and laws require knowledge on how various issues including separation impact child development. With these findings, resources may be provided to children with separated children in order to ensure they achieve their potential. Laws which discourage separation may also be developed in order to reduce the adverse effects of separation on children.
Direction of future research
The research has studied an important social problem affecting society. Since separation of parents has an adverse effect on child development as far as learning is concerned, it is imperative that practical and effective solutions are developed. The researchers have not developed these solutions in their research paper. It is therefore essential that future research focuses on solutions which should be implemented to ensure that children who live with separated parents achieve their potential. Future research should specifically focus on use of resources to encourage these children to achieve their potential as well as development of legislation and policies which discourage separation and enhance the quality of life of such children.
Summary and conclusion
The researchers have discussed the relationship between learning disabilities and separation of children from parents. The researchers have used by secondary information sources such as academic journals and books for the research. They have also carried out a survey on 1619 kindergarten students to analyze this relationship. The research findings show that children who are separated from parents have higher cases of learning disabilities compared to those who are not. These findings may be useful to sociologists and counselors who may use this information to encourage couples who are going through difficulties that divorce or separation has adverse effects on their children
The strengths of the research paper include the proper presentation which makes it clear and concise to both students and scholars. The use of academic journals and books written by scholars also increases the accuracy and validity of research since these are experts on the subject. The researchers also analyze the research findings with software and models such as regression analysis and SPSS which accurately develop research findings. However, there are various weaknesses of the research. The researchers did not indicate the hypothesis which was to be tested by the research which may make readers unable to understand the purpose of research. Various research limitation including weaknesses of secondary research, cost and time limitations are also not discussed by the author. This may lead to the making of erroneous conclusions based on findings by consumers of this research. Future research should focus on solutions which should be implemented to ensure that children who live with separated parents achieve their potential.