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Case Study 6.5

In: Social Issues

Submitted By yoliemendez
Words 974
Pages 4
Step 1: Determine if the research was a sample survey, a randomized experiment an observational study, a combination, or based on anecdotes.
It was an observational study, although the author mentions that they randomly picked study subjects, they still manipulated the distance in which they were doing their study on. It qualifies as an observational study because it was a case-control study in which people with the ownership of weapons were closely observed and a proxy for their victim was interviewed.

Step 2: Consider the Seven Critical Components in Chapter 2 (pp. 18-19) to familiarize yourself with the details of the research.
As in Case Study 6.5 based on the original report, the seven questions can all be answered. The research was supported by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The source information was from the Departments of Internal Medicine (A.L.K., J.G.B., B.B.H.), Preventive Medicine (A.L.K.), Biostatistics and Epidemiology (A.L.K., G.S.), and Pathology (J.T.F), University of Tennessee, Memphis; the Departments of Pediatrics (F.P.R.), Epidemiology (F.P.R.), and Pathology (D.T.R), University of Washington, Seattle; Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, Seattle (F.P.R., J.P.); and the Departments of Biology (N.B.R., A.B.L.) and Epidemiology and Biostatistics (N.B.R.) and the Center for Adolescent Health (N.B.R.), Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland. The participants were proxies for their victims as well as control subjects who were matched to the victims. They were selected from three metropolitan counties. After each homicide, they obtained data from the police or medical examiner and interviewed a proxy for the victim. “The proxies' answers were compared with those of control subjects who were matched to the victims according to neighborhood, sex, race, and age range. Crude and adjusted odds ratios were calculated with matched-pairs methods.” During the study period, 1860 homicides occurred in the three counties, 444 of them (23.9 percent) in the home of the victim. The controls compared to the victims more often lived alone or rented their residence. Also, case households more frequently contained an illicit-drug user, a person with preceding arrests, or someone who had been hit or hurt in a fight in the home. After controlling these characteristics, they found that keeping a gun in the home was strongly and autonomously linked with an increased risk of homicide. A family member or intimate friend committed nearly all of the homicides. Claimed effects: “Rather than confer protection, guns kept in the home are associated with an increase in the risk of homicide by a family member or intimate acquaintance.”

Step 3: Based on the answer in step 1, review the “difficulties and disasters” inherent in that type of research and determine if any of them apply.
The four possible complications listed for an experiment include confounding variables; interacting variables; placebo, Hawthorne, and experimenter effects; and ecological validity and genralizability. In this study I saw that maybe the experimenter or Hawthorne effect and the confounding variable could be somewhat problematic. The victims’ proxies are being interviewed, many emotions could be running through their minds that may exaggerate or mislead the chronological order of things that lead to the end result; homicide. Although the households with the controlled variables were “randomized” it was still in only three metropolitan counties that are up north in the country and can’t be counted for the rest of the gun owners. They don’t specify the race or whether the guns were legally assigned to that subject or not. This might affect everyone and distort results.

Step 4: Determine if the information is complete. If necessary, see if you can find the original source of the report or contact the authors for missing information. Most of the required information was obtainable, at least in the original report. One link that was absent was whether the proxy knew why he or she was being interviewed.

Step 5: Ask if the results make sense in the larger scope of things. If they counter to previously accepted knowledge, see if you can get a possible explanation for the authors. Nothing seems suspicious about the study. They had official data collected from police or medical examiners and interviewed a proxy for the victim. The results make sense. The households who owned guns and had either illicit-drugs or domestic abuse, someone was killed. If race and age were clarified in step 3, maybe the confounding wouldn’t be problematic or have altered any end result

Step 6: Ask yourself if there is an alternative explanation for the results.
Poor education might be a factor, lack of knowledge on newly bought arms, lack of government enforcing licenses to carry guns. The study does not specify how the victim got killed, if it was ill intentioned or simply accidental. Were the firearms safely kept away—locked away? Maybe it wasn’t even in the household, what if it was out hunting? These are some of the alternative explanations for these homicides.

Step 7: Determine if the results are meaningful enough to encourage you to change your lifestyle, attitudes, or beliefs on the basis of the research.
This study had definitely changed my mindset on firearms. They are not only dangerous in criminals hands, they are dangerous in your own family’s/close friends’ hands. My brother is an owner of a gun since he works for the FBI. He had to have major training to get his gun and on-going training to keep his gun. He locks it away, but this study makes me feel like there is that possibility of homicide because the gun is present. So I can honestly say this has changed the way I think about guns.

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