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Research Study Analysis - Essay Example

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This was published back in 2002 and surveyed respondents about burnout, stress and coping issues. Fundamentally, this is a phenomenological study or…
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Research Study Analysis
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Empirical Phenomenology: A Case Study For this paper, I will be evaluating a phenomenological study undertaken by Mearns and Cain on occupational stress among teachers. This was published back in 2002 and surveyed respondents about burnout, stress and coping issues. Fundamentally, this is a phenomenological study or more specifically, an empirical phenomenological research because it seeks to depict the teachers own experiences and personality characteristics as opposed to the popular literature that focuses on environmental and contextual dimensions of the issue. For this purpose, 86 teachers were surveyed and investigated using several sets of questionnaires.
The sampling procedure was systematic. Participants were identified based on previous research and reflections. The sources were invited to participate after being informed about the nature of the study.
The theme of the research was recognized as multidimensional. This is the reason why different sets of questionnaires were designed - all focusing on relevant and diverse aspects of the teaching experience in order to comprehensively describe and address the research problem. While there were no face-to-face interviews, observations or focus group discussion, a total of five questionnaire models were used to gather and evaluate experiences. These are the Teacher Stress Inventory (TSI), Negative Mood Regulation (NMR), COPE, Maslach Burnout Inventory Educators Survey, and Brief Symptoms Inventory. They were designed to measure variables in areas of stress, burnout, coping, negative mood and distress. While the study involved no open-ended question either, the survey questions provided were all designed to reveal highly detailed personal experiences and quantify them. For instance, respondents were asked to rate their responses to items such as Did you feel lonely?" or "Did you feel keyed up". These questions were asked after situations were provided, which is consistent with the phenomenological technique of describing experiences, as a crucial element in data gathering and interpretation.
The researchers established their research paradigm by introducing epistemological and axiological assumptions. This was achieved when assumptions about stress, burnout and coping strategies were provided. For example, teachers were specifically identified as the subject of the research because they were assumed to have more difficult work tasks and, hence, would be more prone to stress and burnout. This was also highlighted with the fact that the data was gathered from self-report questionnaires. What this means is that personal values were expected to play significant roles in the research. This is highlighted, for instance, in the data collected about coping wherein several personal characteristics and perspectives were revealed. These were identified through correlations between variables, which were interpreted according to the researchers own assumptions.
All in all, Mearns and Cains work is a phenomenological research because it is a study about the person. As they investigated the problem of occupational stress and burnout, they did not focus on the environment. Instead, they relied on the teachers, their perspectives and their reflections based on their experiences. The researchers employed several tools to achieve this, including several assumptions according to the phenomenological philosophy. There was a highly structured format in the investigation of occupational stress among teachers and that it captured the essence of their experiences.
Mearns, J. and Cain, J. (2002). "Relationship Between Teachers Occupational Stress and Their Burnout and Distress: Roles of Coping and Negative Mood Regulation Expectancies." Anxiety, Stress and Coping, vol. 16, no, 1, pp. 71-82. Read More
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