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Using Mixed Methods to Explore Communication About Sexual Health With Foster Youth: Accessing the Inaccessible

By: Published: 2017 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases in Education
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During my PhD, I focused my dissertation study on examining whether child welfare workers were communicating with adolescents in foster care regarding their sexual health and decision making. There was little to no research in the literature that focused exclusively on communication with professionals and the sexual health of adolescents in foster care. The available research that focused attention on adolescents in foster care included sexual health in a larger category of risk behaviors that includes sexual health, substance abuse, delinquent behaviors, and mental health issues. My dissertation research took sexual health out of the overarching category of adolescent risk behaviors and focused specifically on communication between child welfare workers and adolescents currently residing in foster care. This case study presents the struggles encountered during the course of this 1-year exploratory study conducted in a conservative Midwestern state in the United States. Highlighted in this case study are the issues that arose in methodological choices, obtaining access to a sample, the analysis of data collected, and the ability to effectively present limited results. Specifically, this case study presents how mistakes made early on in the planning phase of research can impact the remainder of the study.

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