Pollard and Mullan on Union Status and Health


Pollardand Mullan on Union Status and Health

Pollardand Mullan on Union Status and Health

Thispaper seeks to make a critical evaluation of research design, methodsand analysis of Pollard &amp Mullan (2013) research report. Thepaper will evaluate the title of the paper by applying the standardrequirements of a good title make an evaluation of the ethicalconsiderations made by the researchers, evaluate the contents of theliterature review as well as the sampling strategy, if any, used bythe researcher. In addition, the paper will consider the givenresearch as an evaluation research thus critically analyzing it onthe basis of the standards of an evaluation research. Finally, thepaper will analyze the qualitative elements present and considered inthe research.


  1. The title of the article “Nonmarital Cohabitation, Marriage, and Health among Adolescents and Young Adults” is so precise that it cannot be confused with other related topics. The precision is realized in the specifications of the variables “adolescents” and “adults”. This makes it easy for the reader to capture the general view of the writer by just reading the title. It would have been vague if the title was “Nonmarital Cohabitation, Marriage, and healt.”

  2. The subtitles add to the substance of the study. For example, the subtitle “marriage and health” (Pollard &amp Mullan, 2013 p.3) establishes the correlation between marriage and health. Using this subtitle, the writer shows that married people experience fewer health complications than their unmarried counterparts. Moreover, we learn that married people have the highest level of self-evaluated health status.

  3. The main variables are indicated in the title. Even without reading the paper, one is able to tell that the researcher focused on measuring the relationship between marriage and cohabitation as the independent variables against health as the dependent variable. According to LaFountain &amp Bartos,( 2002, p.71) dependent variable denotes the status of the outcome or the result while independent variable refers to the status of the alleged cause. When the independent variable changes, the dependent variable changes as well. For example, changes in the marital and cohabitation status lead to change in health.

  4. The terms cohabitation, marriage, health, adults, and adolescents are easy to understand. These are common terms in everyday usage of language. For anyone who understands English, it should be easy to comprehend what the researcher is writing about. According to Gould &amp Hengl (2002, p.4), a good title should avoid the use of complex grammar, it should be catchy and should avoid redundancy. This has been fulfilled by Pollard &amp Mullan in the paper am analyzing.

  5. The title does not mention anything about the findings of the researcher. At best it states the variables to be measured by the researcher. Even though Gould &amp Hengl contend that the title should indicate the main discoveries, this is not so in Pollard’s &amp Mullan’s paper. However, given that the title catches the reader’s attention, it seems adequate to expect the reader to read and find out what the researcher findings were unlike if the researcher hinted on the title about the findings.

  6. The title of the paper being analyzed is a good title. This is because of its precision and simplicity in grammar and contents of the study. The researcher did not use a wordy title which may be unattractive and confusing. Rather, the researcher uses few words to capture the purpose of the study without straining the reader to trying to grasp the purpose for themselves.

2.Ethical Evaluation

  1. The researcher does not apply any ethical considerations to the individuals. This is because the research relied heavily on secondary data. The researcher used compiled data and statistics from studies previously done by the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health in the years 1995, 1996, 2001 and 2002 (Pollard &amp Mullan, 2013 p.10).

  2. There were no findings that contradicted the researcher’s hypothesis. Throughout, the researcher establishes that marital status and cohabitation affect the health of the individual in question.

  3. From the summary of the findings, the researcher noticed that even though married women were best in healthy behavior such as non-drinking and went for annual physical exam, the benefits that the researcher anticipated in terms of their physical and mental health were not perceived. They were at par with single women in relation to health. These findings are addressed by the researcher by noting that married women were poor in physical activity thus the overall results differ from the expected result.

  4. The researcher does not specifically acknowledge the limitations of the research in a separate subsection of the study. However, the researcher mentions that there is little research done on cohabitation and health. Moreover, the few studies available lack adequate health measure (Pollard &amp Mullan, 2013 p.5). This seems to be the major limitation of the study although the researcher does not address it as such.

  5. The researcher has fulfilled the necessary ethical considerations. Since the research relied on secondary data, ethical considerations to research subjects were not necessary. However, the study acknowledges all the sources of the data collected thus avoiding plagiarism.

3.Literature Review

  1. Literature review is has been conducted to inform the research and to expound on the problem being dealt with. All the variables identified by the researcher have been covered in the literature review. They include union state and health, marriage and health, and cohabitation and health (Pollard &amp Mullan, 2013 p.4-5). This has helped the researcher and the reader to get more knowledge on the topic of research.

  2. The abstract captures the problem to be investigated as “Using longitudinal data from Add Health (1995-2001/2002) and generalized linear model techniques we investigate the impact of nonmarital cohabitation and marriage on a range of physical and mental health indicators and health behaviors” (Pollard &amp Mullan, 2013 p.2). This helps the reader to know the problem being handled, at once, without perusing through the document. According to Gould &amp Hengl (2002 p.4), the abstract should capture the main problem of the research besides summarizing the findings and indicating the conclusion.

  3. The researcher indicates that the importance of the research problem is to compare the health effects of cohabitation and the health effects of young age marriages. This was meant to assist the researcher in comparing the results with those of previous studies.

  4. The researcher is selective on what to include in the literature review. This is evident in that he does not include any materials that are irrelevant to the study.

  5. The research cited in the study is recent with most of the works relied on ranging between year 200 and 2007. This shows that the study has been informed by contemporary works and therefore credible.

  6. The literature reviewed is critical. It draws on the views of various authors and compares the conclusions against each other in efforts to establishing a better view.

  7. The researcher has spared a section for theoretical frameworks in which he explores the different theories and positions that address and guide the study. Some of the theories used are marriage selection and marriage protection (Pollard &amp Mullan 2013 p.6).

  8. The study gives an adequate literature review which does not only address the various perspectives that have been taken in the past to address marriage, cohabitation and health among the specified groups but also the need to further investigate the correlations by comparison.

4.Operationalization and Measurement

  1. The researcher has used suitable and specific concepts to capture the problem of the study. Throughout, simple, clear and concise concepts are used without leading to unnecessary complexity.

  2. The researcher has not given any definitions in a separate section. However, important terms are clearly defined within the text leading to comprehendible and coherent study.

  3. The researcher measures one dimension at every stage of measurements. The dimensions measured are, general health indicators on union status for men and for women separately, health behaviors on union status for men and for women separately and body maintenance indicators on union for men and for women separately (Pollard &amp Mullan, 2013 p.24-29). These measurements help to compare the data for each specification given.

  4. The dimensions of measurements are adequate in meeting the researcher’s objectives.

  5. There are no questions given because the research relies on secondary data but not on respondents.

  6. In this research does not require a response format for the same reason that it relies on secondary data rather than on respondents’ raw data. Moreover, any requirements for respondents do not apply to this study.

  7. The researcher is using secondary longitudinal data published by Add Health (1995-2001/2002) as it is and thus does not need to refer to further information.

  8. The researcher does not overstate the preciseness of the measurement. Instead, conclusions are drawn from the analyzed data while allowing the necessary level of accurateness and error.

  9. There is a measure of reliability in the calculations. Parallel form reliability (Rust &amp Cooil, 1994 p.2) is established in this study where the researcher uses different versions of a tool to assess the same data. The researcher has used both two-tail and one-tail tests to analyze the data (Pollard &amp Mullan, 2013 p.28-29).

  10. The researcher provides a measure of validity. Face validity can be established where the researcher asserts that the measures appear to be assessing the intended assumption of the study (Nevo, 1985 p. 288) namely, measuring the correlation between union status and health.

  11. Given the purpose of the study, that is comparing the effects of the calculated correlation between health and union status with the conclusions of past studies, the measurement applied is appropriate for it enables this comparison.

5.Sample Strategy

  1. The goal of the research leads to generalization. The researcher sought to make general inferences to all class of the independent variables specified, that is, married and unmarried adults, and cohabiting and non-cohabiting adolescents. The sampling used covered all high schools in the United States (Pollard &amp Mullan, 2013 p.10) and all the Adults in the 50 States from which a stratified sample was taken. This broad sampling was appropriate in leading to the generalization.

  2. The researcher provides information about the population regarding the age, grade of study for high school students, union status, race and ethnicity (Pollard &amp Mullan, 2013 p.10).

  3. The researcher used the data as it was provided by National longitudinal Study. However, National longitudinal Study sampling method was stratified and random. The researcher used the statistics given by National longitudinal Study which was based on a random stratified sample of 80 clusters of schools in the U.S. This sample comprised of adolescents between the age of 12 and 19. The adults in the sample were taken from 50 states in the U.S.( Pollard &amp Mullan, 2013 p.10).

  4. Given the goal of the study, the sample size was sufficient to draw the generalization. The age of the adolescents studied covered between 12 and 19 which is the typical age of adolescence. Moreover, given that the sample drew from all the schools in the U.S., it was appropriate for the study.

  5. The researcher used the data as it was provided by National longitudinal Study and therefore did not take to more sampling. He however generalizes the results to the specific groups.

  6. The sampling by National longitudinal Study was appropriate thus validating the results of Pollard &amp Mullan research.

10.Evaluation Research

67.The purpose of the research was to evaluate the relation betweenunion statuses, in terms of marriage and cohabitation, and the healthstatuses of the classes of people, in terms of age group and sex andto compare the results with conclusions from previous researches.

68.The nature of the program is described in details through appealingto previous research done on the correlations. The researcher’sassumptions were that there is a connection between union status andhealth. The research was done to evaluate the authenticity of thishypothesis.

69.The researcher presents the goals of the study which include, toassess whether cohabitation affects health, to establish howcohabitation affects health and to assess the health benefits ofcohabitation on men and women separately.

70,71, 72. The researcher does not rely on any observation method forthis was done during data collection by National Longitudinal study.In this regard, there is no control group used by the researcherapart from the interpretation and analysis of the findings based oncontrol group study done by the National Longitudinal Study. Thisimplies that the researcher does not present any information aboutthe experimentation done in arriving at the data applied in thisstudy.

73.The results derived from data analysis are clearly explained in thesections of “results” “summary results” and “summary anddiscussion” (Pollard &amp Mullan, 2013 p.12-17).

74.The research makes a connection between earlier evaluations in theliterature review section with the evaluations of the study in the“summary and discussion section”. For instance, the researchershows that the expected mental health benefit of cohabitationdiscussed in the literature review section of “cohabitation andhealth” agrees with the findings of the study (Pollard &ampMullan, 2013 p.17).

11.Qualitative Analysis

75.The result section is a cohesive essay summarizing the findingswithin cohering subsections which include general health indicatorsin which the tables presenting the findings of that category areexplained, health risk behaviors explains the results presented inthe respective table, and body maintenance subsection which followsthe same procedure. At the end of this section, a brief summary ofthe results is given to explain the relationship and the variancebetween these indicators showing the agreement or disagreementbetween the expected results and the results of the study.

76.In the way outlined in 75 above, the researcher seeks to connect thegoals of the study to the research findings.

77.Result presentation is appropriate. Data is presented in tabulationform from which relevant calculations are made. The tables are easyto understand and interpret. Moreover, the tables are appropriatelytitled and numbered giving a key guide at the bottom of each table(Pollard &amp Mullan, 2013 p.24-30). This meets the requirements ofthe technique.

78.The researcher does not give any illustrations in the study. Rather,the study is based on facts that are easy to understand even withoutthe need of illustrations.

79.There is no reason to think that the findings of the study wereinfluenced by the presence of the researcher. This is because thedata used was already collected and therefore the role of theresearcher was to use objective tools to present and analyze it.

80.The researcher did not take part in field research. Therefore, it wasnot a requirement that he explains how he interacted with therespondents who he did not encounter in the first place.


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