Paracetamol use in early life and asthma: positivist study approach
Importanceof theories in healthcare
In modern medical practice, the major objective of those fundingscientific projects is practical and factual research. In light ofthis, the scientists, whilst conducting their researches, have to beguided by clearly defined theories, which form the principlephilosophies that provide direction for the research. As such,Scotland (2012) Munhall (2012) Gregg et al (2001) assert thattheories are the center of practice and research. The theories arenot only useful, but have a powerful influence on how the evidencethat will be used to support the scientific methods that will beused. Geanellos (2000) also says that unlike using theories inresearch, using hypothesis is quite explicit. This is explained bythe fact that theories give the researcher the power to clarifycertain issues in research, such as contrasting methodologies andfindings (Trochim, 2001 Scotland, 2012). Furthermore, the theoriesgive the researchers a chance to reveal or obscure new insights.
Definitionand importance of scientific paradigm
A scientist cum historian known as Kuhn introduced the term paradigmin 1960 (Paton, 2014). In science, paradigm is a common belief andunderstanding, which brings the practitioners together in the field.Paradigms form the framework of discipline, which is used to explainthe nature of problems which are to be investigated, the structuresof carrying out scientific experiments, the assumptions that can bemade and be accepted to guide a study, and other many determiningfactors that affect the field of research in science (Ponterotto,2005 Krauss, 2005 Mckenzie, 2006). A paradigm is a widely followedway of approaching a certain area in research.
Crossan (2003) explains the essence of the positivist philosophy byusing the example of a scientist using a microscope to perform anexamination. According to the explanation, looking through themicroscope is a symbol of a positivist objective examination. Theprocess is a technique of finding answers by observing the tiniestcomponent in context, and using visible and reliable data to getanswers to questions (Bechtel, 2013 Crossan, 2003). In healthcarepractice, various treatments are discovered by observing thecharacteristics of the illnesses and focusing on the functioning ofthe body part that needs fixing, assuming that the medicine that willresult from the study is universal and its use replicable. Giventhis, Halfpenny (2014) asserts that the aim of positivism is toinvestigate and ascertain laws that govern a certain phenomenon. Thisis particularly by putting focus on the cause and effect. Inhealthcare, especially medicine, the scientists design experiments tomeasure phenomena and explain the observations that they make. Usingthe findings, the researchers make the final decision in form ofrecommendations, as to whether the laws can be approved ordisapproved.
Thepositivist inquiry paradigm
Tolman (2012) says that scientists who use the positivist approachhave a general presumption that there is an objective world, whichholds a certain truth, discoverable only through observation. Thistherefore implies that the positivist stance is the archetype of thescientific observation process. In this objective world, there arecertain fixed laws, which define the relationship of the facts thatare observable. Moreover, Tolman (2012) Mckenzie (2006) says thatthese are the laws that exist with the sole purpose of governing thephysical sciences. These laws also govern the social world and howoperations are carried in it.
Under the positivist philosophy, structural features of the societyare the ones that model the way the society behaves, and the eventsthat take place in it. The positivist and the interpretive approachdiffer significantly in essence of the subject matter of the socialsciences, and that of the natural sciences. Additionally, Krauss(2005) explains that under the interpretive philosophy, people behaveactively as they engage in the social situation. When comparedwith other philosophies and paradigms of research, positivists aremost likely to use laboratory experiments where they have the abilityto control the variables. In some cases, Krauss, (2005) argues thatthe positivist, when using the same laboratory experiments, have thepower to control the quantitative methods that are used inresearching studying the phenomena.
Paracetamoluse in early life and asthma: Positivist philosophy in perspective
Paracetamol has for a while been use in treating asthma in childrenas young as 12 weeks (Lowe wt al, 2010). This use has been extendedeven as the children grown. According to Lowe et al (2010), 6 or 7years cure about 30% of the children who were treated for asthmausing paracetamol. From the findings of his study, it was establishedthat the increasing frequency of the use of paracetamol to treatasthma was not strongly associated with the risk of increasedseverity of the illness when the children were still young. Whilstconducting the research, it was also established that adjusting thefrequency of the respiratory infections led to the elimination of theassociation, with the odd ratios of 1.08. 0.91 to 1.29. Given this,Lowe et al (2010) concluded that the use of paracetamol fornon-respiratory causes was not associated with asthma. Additionally,in children that have a family history of allergic diseases, therewas no association between use of paracetamol and risk of laterdevelopment of allergic disease. This is one of the examples ofpositivist approach in scientific study.
Usingthe above example, it can be established that positivist theories insocial medicine take some account of context, and tends to see thesociety in physical terms. While conducting research about use ofparacetamol in early life and asthma, separate entities, such as sexand race, are emphasized as separate variables. This means that theyare not to be treated as ones having meaning to the entire subject ofstudy. According to the positivist philosophy, cause and effect areperceived as predictable reactions, and not personal choices. Thismeans that using demographics to study the subject will only help tostudy the behavior of the test subjects, and not explain the same.According to Trochim (2001), it is impossible for positivistdichotomy to effectively bring into perspective ambiguities.Therefore, treatment of various illnesses tends to deal with theindividual, and not the context. The medical characteristics of anindividual are to be explained by studying that particularindividual, rather than making assumptions in the wider contexts,such as family relationship and health policies. Therefore, thequestion posed is, by using the positivist philosophy, whatexplanation can be made for the reaction of paracetamols for treatingasthma in early age?
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