Table of Contents
Section I: the review of article 1
- The dependent variable in this study is smoking behavior and nicotine dependence among adolescents. The authors of the report make it clear through the titles and the nature of the introduction that the study was about smoking behavior and nicotine dependence among adolescents. This is a factor that makes it easy to understand what the study is all about.
- The authors make it clear that smoking behavior and nicotine dependence among adolescents had been experiencing a decline since its peak in 1997. However, there has been a notable decline in the rate at which smoking behavior and nicotine dependence among adolescents has been reducing in the recent past.
- The authors have also effectively substantiated the independent variables in this study by making sure that there is the inclusion of evidence on the association of the increase positive affective experiences and decrease affective experience among smokers generally before asserting that there have not been studies linking these variables spherically to the rate of smoking among adolescents.
- The independent variables that are used in this study are the perception on the association of smoking and the decrease in affective experiences. The independent variables are introduced early in the article so that the readers can understand what the intent of the study is as early as possible. It also helps in understanding the hypothesis of the study.
- The authors do not give sufficient theoretical backing for the choice of independent variables that were used in this study.
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- However, there is sufficient empirical justification for the choice of the independent variables that were used in this study. There are a number of references made to previous studies in order to justify the suitability of these variables. For instance, the report mentions the study that was aimed at analyzing the association between depression and anxiety among adolescents to smoking as a result of the misconception that smoking helps them in overcoming depression and anxiety.
- Despite the fact that there is no sufficient backing, the authors of this report made sure that there is a theoretical framework to help explain the possible relationship between the dependent variable and the independent variables. For instance, the explanation of the effect that the possible outcomes of smoking on the decisions of adolescents on whether to smoke or not works well with the empirical evidence that has been given at the introduction makes it easy for readers to deduce the implored relationship between the variables.
- Looking at the introduction, it is evident that the authors are hypothesizing a rudimentary causal theory. This is seen in the fact that the introduction implores that either one of the independent variables is hypothesized to directly affect smoking among adolescents.
- The implied unit of analysis for this study is the adolescents.
- From the introduction, a reader can get a clear sense of the mental picture guiding this research because of the extent to which the variables have been deliberated upon with focus on their possible relationships. The introduction uses sufficient empirical evidence.
- The research case can be said to be the on the same level as that of the unit of analysis because of the focus on just the research question that is stated in the introduction. The study is based on Data for this study which comes from the baseline of 24-month, 15-month, and 6-month periods. Assessment waves assess data that was collected in longitudinal study of the social and emotional contexts of adolescent smoking patterns funded by the National Cancer Institute (Heinz, Kassel, Berbaum & Mermelstein, 2010).
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- The participants of the study were sampled using a multi-stage process. Eligibility to participate in this study was not taken lightly, as the 9th and 10th graders in the school, that the study was based on, had to complete a brief screening survey so that there was an assurance that they were eligible to participate in this study. Eligibility to participate in this study was determined by meeting any of the four criteria: students who have never smoked, students who have experimented in the past, students who are currently experimenting, and those who smoke regularly.
- The total number of participants in this study was 1263. There is no indication that there was a power analysis that was conducted with the intent of determining the appropriateness of this sample size. However, the sample size seems to be right because it is big enough to collect the intended data at the level of accuracy that is required.
- There is no conceptualization of the dependent variable despite the fact that there is no conceptualization of the dependent variable, the authors make sure that there is an elaborate association of adolescent smoking to the perceived affective experience at the introduction level. The definition of smoking behavior and nicotine dependence among adolescents seem to be the smoking habit among students of between the 8th and 10th
- The operationalization of the dependent variable in this study takes the approach of collecting various measures. There is no justification that is given by the authors for the choice of the operationalization used in this study. Furthermore, there are no details of the strengths and weaknesses of the operationalization used in this study.
- The validity and reliability of their definitions and measurements of the independent variables are current smoking behavior, mood and anxiety symptom questionnaire, modified Fagerstrom tolerance questionnaire, and smoking expectancies.
- The independent variables were not explicitly defined.
- The measurement of the independent variables was done through the determination of the rate of prevalence among the targeted population. However, there is no clear statement on the use of the rate of prevalence in this article.
- There are descriptions of the measures but no clear justification of their use in this study.
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Section II: the review of article 2
- The dependent variable in this study is adolescent smoking initiation. It is clearly stated that the study is about adolescent smoking initiation at the introduction level.
- There is evidence given to substantiate the occurrence adolescent smoking initiation through the assertion that 80% of adult smokers tried smoking before the age 18 with more than 60% having experimented smoking by the time they were 15 (Goldade, Choi, Bernat, Klein, Okuyemi & Forster, 2012). These figures show that if the rate of adolescent smoking initiation can be reduced there will be a significant reduction in the percentage of the total population that smokes.
- The substantiation of the importance of adolescent smoking initiation as a dependent variable in this study is done through the assertion that most initiation to smoking takes place during adolescence. This is an implication that understanding the factors that lead to the initiation of smoking during adolescence increases the probability of significantly reducing the total number of people who smoke in the society.
- The independent variables of this study are parents’ education levels, smoking habits of parents, smoking habits by siblings, home smoking bans, employment, friends who smoke, living in households headed by men, and race.
- Unfortunately, the authors do not give any reason for the choice of these independent variables. The empirical evidence given suggests that the environment that adolescents are subjected to at home and away can hugely influence whether they will try out smoking or not. This is based on the evidence that certain factors such as association with smokers and obstacles to getting the time and opportunity to smoke might be of direct impact on the decision by an adolescent on whether to smoke or not.
- There is sufficient empirical justification for the use of independent variables that were chosen. This can be supported by the extent to which the authors state the use of these variables in previous studies and the nature of the outcome of such studies.
- However, the report lacks the use of a theoretical framework for supporting the relationship between adolescent smoking initiation and the independent variables that have been listed herein. This is probably because of the reliance of the authors on empirical justification to create importance of the study and the choice of both dependent and independent variables.
- The authors of the report hypothesize a rudimentary causal theory, something that is seen in the fact that the focus of the study is proving of disapproving the relationship between and the independent variables that were used in this study.
- The implied unit of analysis for this study is adolescents. This is something that is made clear by the title of the report and the explanation of the objectives of the study.
- By the time one is through with the introduction part, there is a clear sense of the mental picture guiding this research thus enhancing the expectation of the findings from the study.
- The research case for this study can be said to be an appropriate empirical reflection of the study’s unit of analysis. This is because the research case is at the same level as the unit of analysis.
- The sampling technique that was used in this study is cluster random sampling, which is characterized by the division of the targeted population into clusters before randomly selecting participants from each of the clusters. The authors do not give any details on non-response during the data collection process, though the article presents information on the reduction of the number of participants as time went by.
- The sample size that was used for this study was 4221. The sample size of the study was big enough to give the collected data a substantial level of accuracy.
- Unfortunately, there is no explicit definition of the dependent variable for this study: adolescent smoking initiation. This might be as a result of the self-explanatory nature of the dependent variable and the extensive explanation of the implication of the dependent variable and its prevalence in the society. The lack of an explicit definition of the dependent variable in this study might not be of much influence on the effectiveness of this article. However, it is worth noting because of the extent to which it might affect the understanding of the relationship between the dependent variable and the independent variables.
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- The measurement of the dependent variable took the approach of categorization of the respondents in terms of age, race, level of education, and the other independent variables that have been discussed herein.
- The authors do not give details of the strengths and weaknesses of the modes of optimization that was opted for in this study.
- Despite the fact that there are definitions presented in this article, the authors do not present evidence of the validity and reliability of their definition and measurement of the dependent variable.
- Furthermore, there is no conceptualization of the independent variables that were used in this study according to the information presented in the article.
- There is no clear statement given by the authors of this article on how the independent variables were measured during this study even though the information on the process of analysis can be termed as elaborate. Furthermore, the authors do not present evidence of the validity and reliability of their definitions and measurements of the independent variables. This might have an impact on showing the extent to which the independent variables have an influence on the phenomenon under study: adolescent smoking initiation.
There are various strengths that can be seen in these articles. One of the evident strengths is in the fact that there is focus on a specific phenomenon which is smoking behavior among adolescents. This is an implication that anyone reading the articles will have a clear idea of what they are about right from the beginning.
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Additionally, both studies give clear indications of the factors that are expected to influence the phenomenon under study. This is further strengthened by the fact that the authors of both articles choose to use empirical justification is proving the importance of the independent variables that were used in the two studies. The extent to which there is the use of evidence from previous studies that link some of the independent variables to the phenomena under study makes it easy for anyone going through the articles to notice the relationship between the dependent variable and the independent variables that were chosen.
Notably, the authors of the two articles make sure that they gave details of the sampling methods that were used. Such details are important in leading the readers to the decisions on whether the sample size was large enough to guarantee the accuracy of the data that was collected. The sampling methods were also important in the determination of the extent to which the study covered the entire population. Therefore, there is no doubt that the sampling methods that were used are efficient in making sure that the studies covered the unit of analysis.
Both articles hypothesize rudimentary causal theories, a factor that makes it easier for the collected data to be used in the creation of a connection between the dependent variable and the independent variables. This is an implication that there is an effective elaboration of the relationship between the dependent variable and the independent variables in both articles.
However, there are also some weaknesses that are associated with both articles. One of the weaknesses is that there is the lack of well-informed theory to support the assertion made by the hypothesis. The presence of a theoretical framework would have made the difference in associating the study to some of the theories and models that are associated with or used in the explanation of human behavior.
The lack of an explicit definition of the dependent variable is also another shortcoming that is evident in both studies. It is not easy understanding the importance of the phenomenon under study if there is not clear defection of the same. The assumption that the dependent variables are self-explanatory might have been one of the most consequential mistakes on the part of the authors of the two articles.
Further, there is also lack of definition of the independent variables that are used in the two studies. The presence of the definition the independent would have led to a difference in the understanding of the relationship between the independent variables and the dependent variable. It should not be assumed that any person going through the articles will have an easy time relating the independent variables with the dependent variable without there being clearly definition of these variables.
The lack of information on the validity and reliability of their definitions and measurements of the independent variables is also a shortcoming that has been noted in both studies. This is an implication that both studies do not give information on the extent to which the independent variables that were used can be used in understanding the phenomenon under study. Therefore, readers do not understand the limits of the application of the independent variables.
Any future study carried out in relation to smoking among adolescents should be an improvement of the studies whose reports have been evaluated herein. One of the areas that should be improved in by future research is the inclusion a well-informed theory to support the assertion made by the hypothesis. For instance, using the Valliant’s genetic theory might help in discussing the influence that having parents who smoke might have on the smoking habits of adolescents. Theoretical factors such as the self-concept might also help in understanding the factors that might lead to smoking among adolescents. The various theories that might influence the understanding of human behaviors and factors that influence substance abuse might make future studies more engaging and informing from a scholarly and professional point of view.
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Any study that is to be carried out regarding smoking among adolescents should consider including an explicit definition of the dependent variable. There should be clarification on the difference between smoking among the adolescents and the other members of the society. Furthermore, there should be clarification on which category of people falls under the bracket of adolescents in the context of the study. The importance of an explicit definition of the dependent variable lies in the fact that the definition will highly influence the context of the application of the findings of the study. If there is no clarity of the context of the application of the findings from a given study, then the findings from such studies will always lead to suggestions on studies that should be carried out in the future in relation to the phenomenon.
Any study that is undertaken in relation to smoking among adolescents in the future should also consider including the definition of the independent variables. Furthermore, there should be a clear explanation of why each of the independent variables that are used in the study is of an essence to the course. It is important for there to be clarity of the importance of each independent variable through focusing on the various ways in which each of the independent variables relates to the independent variable. Otherwise, such studies risk using variables that might not be of relevance influence on the phenomenon under study. The use of theoretical backing can be effective in leading to an understanding of the relationship between each independent variable and the dependent variable. Ultimately, anyone who goes through a report of a study that uses theoretical frameworks to link the independent variables to the dependent variable is likely to have a better understanding of the cause and course of the study.
Any of the future studies on smoking among adolescents should also include validity and reliability of their definitions and measurements of the independent variables. Measurement of independent variables is important for any study of this nature. Therefore, the measures that are used should be both valid and reliable. In addition to making sure that the measurement of independent variables is valid and reliable, the report of the study should also communicate details of the actions that were taken by the researchers in making sure that the measurements met the required standards of validity and reliability. This is because such information can be vital in the determination of the extent to which the findings from such studies can be relied upon. Such information might also be important in guiding future research on adolescents and their involvement in smoking.
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- Goldade, K., Choi, K., Bernat, D. H., Klein, E. G., Okuyemi, K. S., & Forster, J. (2012). Multilevel predictors of smoking initiation among adolescents: findings from the Minnesota Adolescent Community Cohort (MACC) study. Preventive medicine, 54(3-4), 242-246.
- Heinz, A. J., Kassel, J. D., Berbaum, M., & Mermelstein, R. (2010). Adolescents’ expectancies for smoking to regulate affect predict smoking behavior and nicotine dependence over time. Drug & Alcohol Dependence, 111(1), 128-135.