Exploring the lived experiences following post upper arm amputation: coping and the role of social support.
Aims and objectives
The paradigm in which the study will be situated
Preliminary literature review
A theoretical framework is regarded to be an important aspect of both the dissertation and the thesis which according to Osanloo and Grant (2014) their definition of a theoretical framework is regarded as structure that guides research by relying on a formal theory that is constructed by using an established coherent, explanation of a certain phenomenon and relationship. In essence a theoretical framework consists of a theory or theories that guides one thinking with regards to the understanding and thinking of planning the research topic as well as concepts and definitions of that theory and which are regarded to be relevant to the chosen topic.
For the purpose of the study of the explored lived experiences of post upper arm amputation the appropriate theoretical framework chosen is of Albert Bandura self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is construct that was proposed by Albert Bandura as an integrative theoretical framework to explain and predict psychological changes achieved by different mode of treatment. Self-efficacy is understood or defined as peoples beliefs about capabilities to produce desired levels of performance that exercise events over that affects their lives (Bandura, 1994). Self-efficacy is also thought to have influences on how people think, feel, behave and motive themselves.
Self-efficacy is worldwide construct adopted after Banduras publications on 1977 Psychological review article titled Self-Efficacy: toward a unifying theory of behaviour change, and become popular ever since. self-efficacy lies in the assumption that psychological procedures whatever their form serves as a means of creating and strengthens expectation of personal efficacy (Eastman & Marzillier, 1984).
According to Bandura (1994) asserts that peoples believes about their efficacy can be developed in four ways. Firstly, it can be developed through mastery experience, if people only experience easy success, they come to expect easy results and are quickly discouraged by failure, a resilient sense of efficacy requires experience in overcoming obstacles through perseverance effort. Secondly efficacy can be developed through vicarious experiences provide by social models, seeing people similar to ones self-succeed by sustained effort raises observers beliefs that they too have the capabilities to succeed. Thirdly through social/verbal persuasion, people who are verbally persuaded that they have the capabilities or abilities to master given activities and also verbal persuasion boost perceived self-efficacy in that it leads people try hard enough to succeed and promote development of skills and a sense of personal efficacy. Lastly self-efficacy can be developed through stress reduction, reaction and changing negative emotions and misinterpretation of their physical state.
Self-efficacy will be used in the study to explore challenges faced by amputees after amputation over a period of time which can be a year onwards. This construct will be a guide in order to find out how amputees level of self-efficacy enable them to adapt and cope under strenuous situation, they are able to adjust their live or lifestyle after the traumatic event that led to the changes of themselves. How coping can or is used as an efficacy to help them deal with challenges faced or came across. Self-efficacy will serve as not only the guide but also the foundation of the research study.
Research Design and Methods
Qualitative research design
According to Creswell (2007);
defines qualitative study as a situated activity that locates the observer in the world. Qualitative research consists of interpretative, material practice that makes the world visible these practices transforms the world. They turn the world in a series of representations including field notes, interviews, recordings, conversations, photographs and memos to the self. In essence qualitative research involves, interpretative, naturalistic approach to the world, this means that qualitative researchers studies things in their natural settings, attempting to make sense of or interpreting a phenomenon in terms of meaning people bring to them.
Qualitative research is said to have various characteristics. Namely for a study to be considered a qualitative it is characterized by collecting data or information form the natural settings, this simply mean data is collected by directly talking to people and by seeing them in their natural context. According to Creswell (2007) the researcher is seeing as the key instrument of data collection, this simply means researchers do not tend or rely on questionnaires or instruments designed by others, the researchers are the ones gathering information or data through interviews, observations and examining documents.
Within the qualitative research the researcher learns about the meaning that participants hold about a problem or an issue, not the meaning they hold or writes about in literature. Qualitative research is a form of inquiry in which researchers make an interpretation of what they hear, see or understand, so these interpretations of the researcher can be separated of what history or background they have before the understanding. Qualitative research is said to be holistic in which qualitative researchers try to make or develop a larger picture of the problem that is studied, this can take a form of reporting many or several perspectives identifying multiple factors involved in the situation and seeking the bigger picture that emerge. It is also important to take note that the researchers are not bound by the cause and effect relationship, but rather identifying the complex interactions of factors in any situation.
Qualitative also lies upon core assumptions, to begin with qualitative research is both emic and idiographic. According to Emic is used to indicate an approach that understands phenomenon from within a particular cultural setting (Terre Blanche, Durrheim & Painter, 2006). Qualitative research is also idiographic in that it views research participants as being unique and complex entities Ponterroto, 2005 and produces knowledge claims about one or very few individuals (Morrow & Smith, 200). Another common thread running through all qualitative research is that it is iterative and therefore flexible in nature. Qualitative research is said to be iterative and therefore flexible in nature. Qualitative inquiry starts with research questions rather than hypothesis and it is these questions which guide the data gathering process. The researcher seeks to understand the meanings of the participants, inductive analyses of the data carried out.
Also ubiquitous to qualitative research is the rejection of the notion that a researcher can maintain a stance of true objectivity, instead qualitative researcher acknowledges and accommodate their subjectivity, explains recognizing both the promise and limitations of doing so. Subjectivity in a qualitative inquiry, is usually addressed on a number of levels. At the level of the participants, subjectivity experiences usually told in the form of self-report which are considered to be integral part of the information collected by qualitative researcher, whilst the relationship between the researcher and participants which is characterised by intersubjectivity.
As with the issue of subjectivity, a number of other core assumptions and values underpinning qualitative research are similarly affected by or dependent on paradigm within which the research has positioned the inquiry as well as by the method selected. This includes, but is not limited to: the criteria by which by which participants are selected, the social location of the researcher in relation to the participants in the study and in knowing when one has sufficiency of the data, for the example. In light of this specificity and in or order to avoid unnecessary explanation and repetition.
The research or psychological approach (Phenomenology)
For the research purpose phenomenology will be used as the research method in exploring the lived experiences of amputation. exploring the history or background of phenomenology, the research approach started as a philosophical movement that focused on the nature of experience from a point of view of the person experiencing the phenomenon (Conelly, 2010). Developed by Edmund Hursserl, phenomenology was thought to be developed as a science of phenomenon that would clarify how objects are experienced and present themselves to human consciousness. the research approach also is found to be popular among the social and health sciences, especially in sociology and psychology. In the broadest definition phenomenology is thought to be theoretical point of view in that it advocates the study of individual experiences because human behavior is determined by the phenomena of experience rather than objectives, physically described reality that is external to the individual (Bowe, 2013)
From a philosophical point of view phenomenology is thought to be a way of reaching true meaning through penetrating deeper and deeper into reality. Through its core phenomenology lies the attempts to describe and understand the phenomena such as caring, healing and wholeness as experienced through individuals who have lived through them. In essence this research approach is thought to be of a perfect fit as it will be used as an approach to understand the experiences that amputees had to undergo after the life changing event such as amputation. Phenomenology also looks or focusses on the peoples perception of the world or the perception of the things in their appearing. The research approach reduces the human subjects experiences with a phenomenon to a description of its essence written down usually and so a qualitative will identify a phenomenon as an object of human experience and give voice to it (Bowe, 2014).
According to Connelly, 2010 phenomenology as a method focuses mainly on consciousness and the content of conscious experience such as judgement, perceptions and emotions, also as a research method, phenomenology focuses on humans as embodied beings, meanings they experience life through their physical bodies.
There are several procedures in conducting phenomenological research and it will be briefly discussed. The major procedural steps will be as followed: the researcher has to determine if the research problem is best examined using the phenomenological approach. In this regard the type of problem best suited is the one in which it is important to understand several individuals common or shared experiences of a phenomenon. Secondly the phenomenon of study such must be identified, for instance exploring the coping efficacy among amputees will serve as a starting point of the research. thirdly the research recognizes and specifies the broad philosophical assumption of phenomenology, in this instance one could write about the combination of objective reality and individuals experiences, these lived experiences are further more conscious and directed towards an object. To fully describe how participants, view the participants phenomenon the researcher must bracket out as much as possible their own experiences. Lastly data is collected from individuals who have experienced the phenomenon, this will include in-depth interviews with the participants.
Although phenomenology gives an opportunity to fully describe and give an in depth understanding of a phenomenon being studied, it is important to at least have a broader understanding of the phenomenon, it is highly impossible for the researcher to fully apply bracketing in exploring the experiences meaning bracketing personal experiences may be difficult for the research to implement. Thus, the researcher needs to decides how and in what way his or her personal understanding will be introduced in the study.
Measures of trustworthiness
Data analysis of discussion
Significance of the study
Time frame and budget
Bandura, A. (1994). Self-efficacy. Encyclopedia of human behavior.
Eastman, C., Marzillier, J.S. (1984). Theoretical and methodological difficulties in Banduras self-efficacy theory. Cognitive Therapy and Research. 8(3), 213-229.
Grant, C., Osanloo., A. (2014). Theoretical framework in dissertation research: creating the blue print for your house. Doi: 10.59.29.