Tobacco Smoking Amongst the Aboriginal People of Australia – Social&Family Issues Example

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"Tobacco Smoking Amongst the Aboriginal People of Australia" is a perfect example of a paper on social and family issues. Smoking has been part of human civilization for many centuries and for many years this social practice has never been challenged. As for the Aboriginal and indigenous people in Australia, like many other communities around the world, tobacco smoking has for many centuries been used as a symbol of social status. According to Gilman et al (2004), approximately 33% of the global adult population smoke. Commonwealth of Australia (2012) highlights that so rampant is smoking amongst the youths, Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islanders, and the socially disadvantaged that the government came up with the Australian National Tobacco Strategy 2012– 2018to tackle the same. 0While smoking generally cuts across all social status and demographics such as age and education level as described by Munro et al (2007), amongst the Aboriginals and other indigenous communities it is determined by what Potvin et al (2005) termed as “ environmental factors” (p.

592). The environment in this context comprises the rich culture, traditions, and beliefs of the aboriginal ethnic group.

The key to controlling the use of tobacco is the use of research-based approaches including stringent policies and laws to curb tobacco marketing and sale especially to the youths and the vulnerable groups. This includes hiking tobacco prices to deter them. Moreover, there is a need to create awareness of the dangers of tobacco smoking especially amongst the youths and the indigenous communities where it is a cultural practice. However, the success of such controls is dependent on conducting extensive and intensive quantity researches to deduce tobacco effects, usage, and awareness of its dangers and effects of the current efforts to curb its usage amongst the Aboriginals, as indicated by WHO (2014).

Quantitative researches aim at explaining a phenomenon using empirical data. According to Creswell (2013), it, therefore, requires close interaction between researchers and the participants. This will ensure that the data collected is accurate, reliable, and adequate. Such credible data can then be used by the researchers and other research consumers to make generalizations and inferences on smoking prevalence among the community and Australia at large.

It can also be used to access and implement tobacco smoking control measures at the regional, national, and international levels. However, collecting data during quantitative studies require close proximity and contact between the researchers and participants which can lead to ethical issues such as manipulation, coercion, and lying. Therefore, the challenge for the researcher would be how to carry out credible quantitative research amongst such a vulnerable group ethical issues notwithstanding. Justification of questionnaire items and/or research instrumentsEmpirical data is critical when it comes to accurately map out the prevalence of tobacco smoking amongst the Australian Aboriginals and deducing the effectiveness of the tobacco control measures being implemented or are in the pipeline.

The quantitative research methodology will offer a deep insight into tobacco smoking amongst this community and indeed Australia in figures. It will quantify rather than qualify the pheromone and thus will offer a deeper, clearer, and more direct picture of tobacco smoking. It will ensure that conclusions and recommendations arrived at in the research are backed up by valid figures. Ethical issues abound in every research undertaking. More often than not, the researchers and the participants, by extension, are torn between their emotions, the law, and their professional obligations, as stated by Guillemin & Gillam (2004).

As a largely disadvantaged community, Australian Aboriginals have literacy, health, and income challenges. Such disenfranchisement coupled with their culture put that in great danger of being manipulated by researchers. Researchers may also be tempted to doctor empirical data in cases where the participants are unwilling to respond. Using interviews, field observations, audiovisual recordings, and filling of questionnaires which are key in collecting credible data require close contact and proximity with the participants. To avert inherent ethical issues in such data collection methods, participants will be asked to sign consent forms whose content will be clearly explained.

The nature and aims and methodology of the research will be explained to them while permission will be sought from all relevant authorities before the commencement of the research. Pre-testing proceduresa) Expert reviewThe questionnaire items were expertly reviewed to deduce their clarity and relevancy. Problematic items were marked, reviewed and necessary comments made in comments sections for each item.

The perceived problem was then realigned and corrected based on the research questions and objectives. This questionnaire appraisal and cognitive interview ensured that the empirical data collected from the research study was credible and could thus be used for generalization and making inferences. b) Seeking permissionThis involves seeking the consent of the relevant authorities including relevant officials and community leaders to conduct research in the targeted population. This opens doors for them to support the research study. It is the first step towards getting access to the personal space of the participants and forming a good rapport with them. c) Signing of the Consent Forms and Privacy Declaration ConsentThis is done after adequately informing the participants of the nature, objectives, and methodology of the research.

This will ensure that ethical and professional issues that might arise during the study are addressed while also encouraging the participants to open up. This facilitates data collection and delimits the time limitation when carrying out the research. It also sets the tone and creates a cooperative environment between the participants and researcher. d) Follow-up questionnairesPreparing follow-up questionnaires will help in deducing how relevant the participants found the research questionnaires and survey to be.

This will go a long way in ensuring that the generalization and inference made from the research results by the research consumers and researchers are as accurate as possible. Outcomes These procedures allowed for the testing of the consistency and effectiveness of the pretesting, testing, and post-testing procedures. The analysis determined the suitability of the research techniques in relation to the research problem, especially during research score computation and analysis. Each research study has its own unique challenges depending on the researcher, the population under study, the research question and objective, and other external factors including government and professional policies and environmental factors.

All these can lead to ethical issues which cannot be effectively tackled by the law and professional code of ethics. De Laine (2000) notes that “ … ethical codes cannot adequately” address ethical issues in research. Researchers must therefore balance between virtuosity and reflectiveness (Pring, 2002).


Creswell, J, 2013, Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches (4th ed.), New York: Sage Publications, Inc.

National Drug Strategy, 2012, NATIONAL TOBACCO STRATEGY. Retrieved on 26th August 2014 from

De Laine, M., 2000, Fieldwork, participation and practice: Ethics and dilemmas in qualitative research, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Guillemin, M.& Gillam, L., 2004, “Ethics, Reflexivity and “Ethically Important Moments” in Research.” Qualitative Inquiry, 10(2) pp. 261 – 280.

Gilman, S. et al (eds.), 2004, Smoke: A Global History of Smoking, London: Reaktion Books.

Munro, S et al, 2007, “A review of health behavior theories: how useful are these for developing interventions to promote long-term medication adherence for TB and HIV/AIDS?” BMC Public Health vol. 7, p. 104.

Potvin, L et al, 2005, “Integrating Social Theory into Public Health Practice.” Am J Public Health vol. 95, no. 4, pp. 591–595.

Pring, R., 2002, “The virtues and vices of an educational researcher.” In Mike McNamee & David Bridges (Eds.), The ethics of educational research (pp.111-127). Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers.

WHO, 2014, "MPOWER". World Health Organization.

Yin, R.K., 2013, Case Study Research: Design and Methods (Applied Social Research Methods). (5th ed.), SAGE Publications, Inc.

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