Table of Contents
The methodology chapter of the current dissertation provides data that is necessary for establishment and conduct of proper, constructive and relevant investigation concerning cosmetic tendencies, which assist women in becoming ideal, namely, the role of bleaching or lightning of the skin in terms of beauty standards. This chapter presents a detailed and consistent outline of the research methodology and description of its implementation into practice.
This research relies on the theoretical backgrounds provided by Fisher (2007), Kumar (2008) and Panneerselvam (2004). According to Fisher (2007), the investigation based on the empirical study of the selected phenomenon targets at the explanation and interpretation of the issue in question by means of predetermined measurement variables. Such approach has been used in the present study. Actually, it is important to underline the significance of potential correlation of the final research findings and the currently used theoretical paradigm. It will help to identify the level of dependence of the ideal beauty standards on the skin tone.
This research study is built on the principles of the comparative design. Moreover, the research methodology incorporates qualitative research method. Specifically, the course of investigation involves the semi-structured interviews and focus groups. The analysed phenomenon is explored through the responses of the participants of the aforementioned focus groups and interviews. The Snow-Ball sampling strategy predetermines the selection of the respondents. The outcomes of the acquired research data provide a sufficient and perspective material for further analysis, interpretation, and assessment process.
The research design divides into two types: qualitative and quantitative. The premise for distinguishing between the research design types is connected with the contextual conditions of the current study as well as with the structure and purpose of the questions used in the course of investigation (Panneerselvam 2004). The peculiarities of the issue in question predetermine the choice of research design.
The research design incorporated in the given study course uses a comparative qualitative approach. The respondents of the interviews as well as the participants of the focus groups reside in London. It means that the research design includes representatives from one country. Therefore, the comparative essence of the study is a controversial. Some scientists argue that only studies between the representatives of different countries may be regarded as comparative. Nevertheless, Kumar (2008) underlines that the residents of each country demonstrate significant diversity and even opposite tendencies in every sphere of life. Hence, the current study is positioned as comparative. The major difference between the qualitative and quantitative research approaches is that the former one implicates data collection and its subsequent analysis exclusively using statistical measures and quantifiable data in order to provide a consistent and relevant conclusion (Kumar 2008). According to Finch (2008), the phenomenon of qualitative research design “crosscuts the humanities and the social and physical sciences” (p. 55). An interdisciplinary interpretive approach aims at the identification of qualitative data through the discussion and analysis of the acquired empirical experience. The current study targets to identify the tendencies of bleaching/lightning of the skin among the coloured female representatives and their perception of such technique as an approach to ideal beauty standard. Hence, the scope of the research is a part of the contemporary socio-cultural field of concern. As far as the given exploration deals with the assessment of attitudes and stereotypes, it requires qualitative analysis and interpretation of the data.
3.3.Primary Data Collection
The study incorporates primary data for analysis and interpretation. The process of primary data collection presupposes a direct contact of the explorers with respondents through the means of surveys, questionnaires, interviews, and other relevant methods. The primary data in the given investigation is obtained with the help of semi-structured interviews and focus groups discussions. The questions for both types of research activity are included in the paper and aligned with the ramifications of the preliminary theoretical research and correspondent literature review.
Semi-structured interviews aim at narrowing the focus of the study and modifying the situation in order to reveal the crucial aspects and the most meaningful factors of the issue in question. The semi-structured interview offered within the given investigation consists of open-ended questions. There are ten questions in the interview, which guarantee maximal flexibility and efficiency. Moreover, the interview welcomes additional data and comments from the respondents.
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The use of focus groups is also crucial for the currently discussed study. This research method does not only present the possibility to obtain necessary information, but also acquires the exchange of opinions, experiential patterns and suggestions in the course of discussion. Focus groups of the outlined study comprise of six respondents from different social and financial strata within the given criteria of selection. There are four focus groups. Therefore, the overall number of participants is 24. The discussion is expected to last approximately 40 minutes.
According to Biernacki and Waldorf (1981),
Snowball or chain referral sampling is a method that has been widely used in qualitative sociological research. The method yields a study sample through referrals made among people who share or know of others who possess some characteristics that are of research interest (p. 141).
The given sampling strategy is appropriate in the context of the current study since it aims at provision of perspective and efficient results of the study, but at the same time, it may be subject to particular biases. Biernacki and Waldorf (1981) emphasize that the given sampling strategy is very effective for the purpose of sociological research, since it guarantees “sampling of natural interactional units” (p. 141). It will provide consistency and maximal objectivity to the investigation process.
Nowadays, the issue of bleaching or lightning of the skin has more profound and serious implications than tendencies in cosmetic procedures or a fashion trends. Blay (2011) aligns the issue of skin tone with the concept of identity and feminism, whereas Hunter (2011) connects it with the “racial capital” and impact of the bleaching or lightning procedures with health condition. Hence, multidimensional essence of the analysed phenomenon requires not only the participants who have experience in the given field, but also the diversity of age and occupations of the respondents, in order to ensure maximal objectivity of the study. Therefore, 150 women will participate in the study. The crucial criterion predetermines that only female respondents are invited to participate in the study. The age group covers 18-45 years-old women of Afro-American and Asian races. The choice of such an age limitation of the study is justified by the fact that the issue of bleaching of the skin becomes relevant at early age and continues throughout the life of women. Approximately at the age of 18 girls start to follow standardized beauty concepts, later the trend is blindly followed by young generation, and consequently it either disappears or continues to impact the appearance, self-identification and health condition of the female respondents. The location of the study is London, since sample group resides there.
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3.6.Validity of the Study
The validity of the currently outlined study is a significant factor in terms of direction and topicality of the investigation. The study is characterized by external validity since it generalizes the conclusions and outcomes in order to demonstrate particular tendencies and attitudes.
3.7.Limitations and Ethical Considerations
The limitations of the outlined investigation should be taken into consideration, since marginal errors may occur in the study ramifications and results. Therefore, the key constraints that affect the study are time, relative paucity of respondents and potential false data percentage constraints.
The time constraint is a regular error that influences the conclusion of the study. The factor of paucity is connected with the small number of respondents. Nonetheless, it motivates further exploration of the subject. The constraint of potential false data percentage is quite low since the participants have expressed vivid interest in the issue and have been willing to contribute to the course of the research. Thus, the aforementioned constraints should not be ignored, but at the same time, they do not pose a threat for the overall validity and credibility of the study, unless marginal errors will be significant.
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The present study involves such ethical considerations as voluntary participation, the anonymous respondents’ activity and the guarantee that the research will be completely devoid of potential harm and biased actions. Every ethical consideration is proclaimed beforehand and strictly followed in the process study.