Psy 221 T/TH
Fall 2000


Class Discussion: Tuesday, September 12.

These questions will help us explore changes in obstetrical practices in the United States. We will summarize them in class, and compare them with the trends discussed in your textbook on p.109.

Rationale: Survey techniques are a standard means of obtaining information from people. A survey is a technique for discovering the self-reported attitudes or behaviors of people (Myers,1998), usually by questioning a number of them, and summarizing your findings. Practitioners in the fields of education, psychology, sociology, etc. often use surveys to find out information from parents or their children. In this classroom project, we are doing a mini-survey--each of you will question 1-2 people, and then we will summarize our findings in class.

Ask a woman (or her husband) who gave birth recently, 18-20 years ago, 40 years ago (grandparents), or greater than 40 years ago (great-grandparent) the following questions for each child born:

--Year in which they gave birth (do you see any trends related to the year?)

--Number of children

--Types of prenatal testing done (i.e. amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling, blood tests, ultrasounds, etc.)

--Labor and delivery practices (Lamaze, natural childbirth, use of anesthesia, etc.)

--Involvement of husbands during pregnancy and childbirth (Who were the birth attendants?)

--Length of hospitalization, and postnatal activity while in hospital (encouraged to rest or be active)

--Hospital practices regarding visitors and contact with the newborn

--Breast vs. bottle feeding

--Possible differences between first and second pregnancies

--Other information (specific family or cultural practices, etc.)

Suggestions for Adminstering the Survey

Interviewing is an interactive process, involving active listening.  Be a sensitive listener, listening carefully to what your subject says. That does not mean you should not say anything; a little self-disclosure will make the interview into a conversation, and encourage your subject to talk more.  The rule of thumb, however, is to "listen more, talk less".  Feel free to ask for follow-up clarification, additional stories, further detail, etc.  Ask questions when you do not understand something, i.e., "Can you tell me again when that happened?" Be sure to explore each topic, but not to probe--if the subject does not want to answer the question, do not push.

Use a consistent format.  Follow your list of questions, being sure that each one is answered before the interview is over.  If your subject skips questions, or spontaneously goes on to another, be sure you ask the question that is skipped.  If your subject begins to talk about an interesting topic that is not on your list, let them, but afterward return to the list.  Keep your subject focused.  Respect the structure of the interview.

Do not worry about whether or not your information is unbiased. Most individuals you interview will be telling you their memory of what happened--what actually happened may be slightly different. However, by comparing the responses of several individuals, we should see some consistent patterns across the age groups.

Summarizing information:
In your groups, in class, I will ask you to summarize this information. To make this easier, you may want to use some form of data sheet (a sample one is shown). Since many of your questions are quantititive, we will use numbers to summarize our data, along with descriptions. Bring a calculator to determine the summary statistics (means, medians, range) where appropriate. You will then choose a group member to share these results with the rest of the class. You will need to give me your data sheets and summary at the end of class.

Sample data sheet:

Date & Time___________________________

Name or Identification for Subject____________________________________

Child 1: Year  __________
 Gender of Child:
 Prenatal Testing:
 Labor & Delivery Practices
 Birth Attendants:
 Length of Hospitalization (days):
 Postnatal Practices (rest/active)
 Hospital Practices (visitors):
 Breast vs. Bottle:

Child 2: Year  __________
 Gender of Child:
 Prenatal Testing:
 Labor & Delivery Practices
 Birth Attendants:
 Length of Hospitalization (days):
 Postnatal Practices (rest/active)
 Hospital Practices (visitors):
 Breast vs. Bottle:

Note that you may ask the information, or your subject may answer the information, in a way that seems appropriate (i.e., for your brother and sister I did this; for you I did ...). It is up to you, however, to summarize it in a systematic fashion.

Summary Information:

 Total # of children:
 Possible differences between pregnancies:
 Other information (cultural, stories, etc.)

Comments of Interviewer:

In class work:

You will summarize the data in groups based on the age of the person you interviewed, and we will discuss this data in class. Use charts or graphs. Bring calculators. Your summary sheet should include:

Quantitative information:

Years(s): Range of years covered.
Number: Mean and range of number of children
Prenatal testing: Types used, and number children whose parents had each type
Labor and Delivery Practices: Types used, and number of children whose parents had each type (proportions as well)
Postnatal Activity: Calculate the mean and range for the length of hospital stay. Tally the number and proportion of children whose parents were encouraged to rest vs. be active
Hospital Practices (visitors): Tally the number of children where visitors were allowed. Who? (e.g. fathers, siblings, other family, friends). Did they wear protective clothing?
Breast vs. bottle feeding: Tally the number of children whose parents did breast vs. bottle feeding.
Other comparative information: Describe differences among first and second pregnancies (a difference between doctors or hospitals? years?), and other interesting stories.