Review Of Research Literature Research Paper Samples
ARTICLE: Belot, M., James, J., & Nolen, P. (2013). Changing eating habits- A field experiment in primary schools, funded by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation; UK. Retrieved from: http://www.ed.ac.uk/polopoly_fs/1.117864!/fileManager/MicheleBelot_June2013.pdf
What issue were the researchers investigating?
While looking at the deteriorating health conditions and increasing disease rate (such as cholesterol, blood pressure and heart attacks), researchers are indulged in exploring various realms related to health. In this regard, the aim of the study was to investigate the impact of adding temporary incentives to develop healthy eating habits among children. In other words, Nolen focused on experimenting with 31 primary schools by giving incentives and rewards to children for eating vegetables and fruits. The incentives were in the form of stickers and small gifts that were given to children who ate portions of fruit and veggies. A comparison based on incentives and choice and consumption was analyzed over a period of time. Variations after removing the incentives were also analyzed and the sustainability of the effect was also a major concern of this study. The results were however, examined on the basis of demographics and other factors. As an Educator, dietary practices and awareness of eating healthy is vital especially amongst children as their health is directly related to their cognitive abilities, performance, school attendance, learning and overall well- being. Such studies can help them become healthy having good lifestyle choices and minimal exposure to diseases and other problems (Belot, James, & Nolen, 2013).
What were the independent and dependent variables (if applicable)?
Dependent: focus, attention, choice of fruit/vegetable, consumption
Independent: Incentives: competitive and piece rate
Who were the participants? Age? Ethnicity? What part of the country were the participants from?
31 schools of UK (England) were randomly selected for the study where children between ages 6 and 7, and 9 and 10 were the target of the research. Therefore, there were 626 children for the study where parent consent was also taken. Although both boys and girls were chosen for the study, the specifics of ethnicity were not explicitly highlighted (Belot, James, & Nolen, 2013).
What is a general description of the methods used to study the research question?
Since the aim of the study was to examine the impact of competition and a piece-rate scheme of incentives on the choice and consumption of fruit and vegetables, A consequent monitoring process started on 17th October, 2011. Background information was obtained through the parents. The schools were randomly divided on the basis of incentives; control, piece rate and competition. Care was taken to have schools with almost similar number of students and observable characteristics. Furthermore, the schools were classified and grouped according to their local education authority. They were balanced on variables such as pupil proportion, number of pupils along with their corresponding classes/age groups, school type, per pupil expenditure and more. In this way, complete knowledge about economic background of the students, demographics and specifics of the school, school status of religious affiliation, healthy lifestyle and the will of schools to be a part of Food for Life program, was obtained. A random number generator than classified the school in the treatment arm as provided by the LEA rules (Belot, James, & Nolen, 2013).
The lunch supervisor or other staff members observed children where they were asked to monitor if student choose fruit/vegetable or brought it in their lunch, tried the food or ate more than half of the portion. The monitoring process lasted for more than seven weeks where children were observed before their half term break. Children were provided with a sticker for bringing fruit and vegetables in their lunch or for choosing it. If the children had four stickers (in the piece-rate scheme) in a week, they were provided with an additional reward. In contrast, the completion scheme followed the idea that when the children were put into a group of four in the end of a week, the one with the highest stickers had the opportunity to select an additional reward (Belot, James, & Nolen, 2013).
In addition, teachers were also asked to administer two tests of 10 minutes each during the first week. These tests aimed at testing food knowledge and the cognitive abilities of the children. The first test required children to classify a set of dietary items as healthy/unhealthy and spell it correctly. The other test included the idea of spotting the difference in the puzzle (Belot, James, & Nolen, 2013).
What were the major results of the study? Graphs may be included but will not serve as a substitute for a description of major findings.
Results of the study were analyzed on the basis of the relation with three outcomes; the choice of fruit and/or vegetable, trying the fruit/vegetable and eating more than half of the portion. The piece-rate scheme had minimal impact on the three outcomes as compared to the competitive scheme that was positively related to all the outcomes. Since heterogeneity in treatment effects was also measured, results reveal that as compared to the piece-rate system, the competitive measure appear to be more effective for boys. On the other hand, girls respond really well to the competition scheme where effects are long lasting. The relation between school year and incentive program yield varying responses; the outcomes in grade 5 children are positively impacted by piece-rate scheme in contrast to grade 2 children. In other words, the ratio of choosing and trying portion were lower for year 2 children as compared to their counterparts. Therefore, the piece-rate system is more effective for older children in comparison to the younger ones. On contrary, the competition system produced similar and consistent results for children of both the years. Also, the study found a very weak relationship between socio-economic factor and the piece-rate scheme (Belot, James, & Nolen, 2013).
The research also looked at the post-intervention system where the researcher aimed at analyzing the effect of introducing incentives on developing healthier eating habits by removing the incentives. The difference was recorded in terms of gender revealing similar results for boys but a fall in choice and consumption for girls. The piece-rate system was seen ineffective in younger children even after removing the incentive while year 5 children had a positive relation with the aforementioned system. In contrast, the impact of the competition system after removing the incentive lasted only for year 2 children. Hence, competitive incentives were better for year 5 or older children whereas piece-rate system is more suitable for the younger individuals. Therefore, the effect of incentives live even after the reward is removed. However, boys were seen to effectively respond to the intervention especially in the free-meal schools.
Furthermore, schools were again contacted after 6 months to evaluate the effect of intervention. A least score regression measure was incorporated. Results show that the habit of eating healthy was shown immediately after the intervention period ended. However, the consumption habit was not actually formed after 6 months of intervention. In addition, children were also examined for their knowledge of healthy and unhealthy food. Using a linear model, it was found that awareness regarding eating healthy and cognitive abilities was not affected/ improved by intervention (Belot, James, & Nolen, 2013).
What did the researcher(s) conclude about their study? Did they confirm their research question?
While examining the importance of eating healthy, this study aimed at analyzing the role of incentives in creating a habit of eating healthy amongst children. To obtain this, the researcher targeted on providing competition and piece-rate incentives to analyze the consumption and choice of fruits and vegetables. It was found that the competitive and piece-rate mechanisms result in heterogeneous effects where the results were affected by age. Older children responded well to piece-rate system as compared to the younger individuals who were mostly affected by the competitive incentives. Overall, competitive incentives play a greater role in creating healthier habits amongst children of lower economic background. In addition, although incentives do produce healthier eating habits related to fruits and vegetables even after they are removed, the intervention did not produce a sustainable change in behavior/ habit (Belot, James, & Nolen, 2013).
Do the researcher(s) make suggestions for future research? If so, what do they suggest?
The researcher has not incorporated the realm of future research in the study.
What implications does the article have for educators? How are the results useful to know for teachers?
It is the duty of an educator to provide knowledge to its students in different facets. Apart from physical exercise, learning and communicating ability, this article has brought forward a substantial issue of eating healthy. Having a healthy lifestyle mainly attributed to physical activity and dietary choices, results in children not only becoming healthier adults, but it also effects their performance, attendance, learning, leisure, resistance to disease, and overall health. For this reason, this article is useful for the teachers as it emphasizes on spreading awareness regarding health; a task that is not only limited to home. In other words, the article highlights the underlying idea that apart from teaching children Nouns and basic calculations, it is the duty of the teacher to educate children about the importance of having a healthy diet. Not only this, the study also focuses on the aspect of observing children in person; a method that will provide a coherent picture of the diet of children. In this way, the article serves its best and most essential purpose of bringing together the parents, teachers and authorities in working for the well-being of children that will in turn ensure a healthier and successful generation.
Belot, M., James, J., & Nolen, P. (2013). Changing eating habits- A field experiment in primary schools, funded by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation; UK. Retrieved from: http://www.ed.ac.uk/polopoly_fs/1.117864!/fileManager/MicheleBelot_June2013.pdf
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