What are the lived experiences reported by young children who have been bullied.Explain

The purpose of this phenomenological qualitative study is to investigate the phenomenon associated with early childhood bullying. The research questions aimed answer the following question using to qualitative data that will materialize from semi-structured interviews, documents and audiovisual materials. This study includes using semi-structured interview protocol and a structured debriefing protocol process to identify perceptions and explore the insights and beliefs of the participants. The study further aims to answer the research questions:
What are the lived experiences reported by young children who have been bullied.
As the care giver what types of bullying is most common amongst young children.
Who bully the most boys or girls?
What programs, services and supports are perceived by the interviewed care givers of young children as having been helpful in improving relationships between bullies and the bullied?
This chapter will include the discussion of the chosen research methodology and design, the selection process of participants, and the materials and instruments to be used in the experiment. Further data collection procedures, limitations and assumptions, and ethical assurances will be presented. A summary of the research methodology will conclude this chapter.
Research Methods and Appropriate Design
This study attempts to identify an understanding of the experiences of very young children who has been exposed to bullying behaviors from other same aged peers. It will also attempt to understand why most caretakers ignore bullying and deem as just child play. The construct of the research study is of a phenomenological qualitative design. As defined by Creswell (2009), “phenomenology is a research strategy of inquiry in which the researcher identifies the essence of human experiences about a phenomenon as described by participants” (p. 13). As described by Moustakas (1994), “Phenomenology seeks meanings from appearances and arrives at essences through intuition and reflection on conscious acts of experience, leading to ideas, concepts, judgments and understandings” (p. 58). As such, the focus of this phenomenological research study will be to understand the extent to which children as young as 2 years old can demonstrate bullying behaviors.
A phenomenological research design provides an understanding of the themes and patterns portrayed by the study’s participants. The participants in the study will be asked open-ended interview questions, such that their specific experiences can be identified. Moustakas (1994) stated, “The empirical phenomenological approach involves a return to experience in order to obtain comprehensive descriptions that provide the basis for a reflective structural analysis that portrays the essences of the experience” (p. 13). According to Groenewald (2004), “The operative word in phenomenological research is ‘describe’. The aim of the researcher is to describe as accurately as possible the phenomenon, refraining from any pre-given framework, but remaining true to the facts. The phenomenologist is concerned with understanding social and psychological phenomena from the perspectives of people involved (p. 5). A variety of methods can be used in phenomenological research including interviews and focus group meetings. This research will use the interview method to address the research questions.
For this research study, the researcher plans to conduct interviews with parents of children that shared that they are being bullied and care givers that have observed bullying behaviors of children. The interview questions will be directed to the participants’ experiences and feelings. At the root of phenomenology, “the intent is to understand the phenomena in their own terms to provide a description of human experience as it is experienced by the person allowing the essence to emerge” (Cameron, Schaffer, & Hyeon-Ae, 2001, p. 34). This research method correlates well with the intent of the study to understand the experiences of children who have suffered from bullying by the hands of their peers, parents, as well as other care givers striving towards early preventions and intervention.
Though small qualitative studies are not generalized in the traditional sense, some have redeeming qualities that set them above the requirement (Myers, 2000). The research value of qualitative studies is based on the participants’ responses in context to the research questions; as such the issue of generalization of the research finding needs to be explored. According to Yin (2003), “Qualitative research can be generalized. Analytic data can be generalized to some defined population that has been sampled, but to a theory of the phenomenon being studied, a theory that may have much wider applicability that the particular case studied. In this it resembles experiments in the physical sciences, which make no claim to statistical representativeness, but instead assumes that their results contribute to a general theory of the phenomenon” (p. 32). As the construct of the research study would be that of a qualitative phenomenology design, the focus of this research will be to understand how children at such a tender age learn such aggression. The rationale behind the choice of phenomenological research is it will help identify the pain that even very young feel from being bullied. This information will be identified through inductive, qualitative methods such as interviews.
It is the intended goal of qualitative research to offer a perspective of an issue and provide reports that reflect the researcher’s ability to document the resulting phenomenon. To analyze the data collected, open-ended interview questions will be conducted with parents and care giver who have had a child(ren) come to then crying due to being called names, not being able to participate in child play or having items taking from them by other children of the same age. Detailed notes will be taken to collect the participants’ responses. To compile and analyze the data, all the responses will need to be appropriately coded. Though the responses will be qualitative, a classification coding system will be developed that represents a theme for the responses, thus offering the ability to create a coding table allowing for data aggregation and analysis.
Phenomenological research methods will facilitate the study of early childhood bullying, experiences, and perceptions regarding childhood interaction. It will measure the participants’ experiences and contexts or situations in which they experience it (Creswell, 2007). This research will illustrate both the understanding and experiences that bullying have on very young children as well as the interpretations and how these experiences affect their ability to deal with being treated aggressively by their peers and the equality of outcomes. The research data will be identified from various data collection methods. Open-ended questions and written comments will be solicited from the above-mentioned participants as well as journals and any other artifact collected. Comprehensive data journals will be kept such that all raw data can be identified and used for coding data aggregation.
Alternative research methods such as quantitative research would not completely address the size and scope of the proposed research questions. Other methods would not offer a comprehensive review of the issues or offer the level of understanding of fostering children’s experiences regarding the current practice as it affects the former’s school achievement. According to Trochim and Donnelly (2008), “Quantitative research is confirmatory and deductive in nature, while qualitative research is exploratory and inductive in nature” (p. 146). The value of the selected qualitative method is that the issues and phenomenon are viewed in its context, while a quantitative study is viewed through a narrow hypothesis employing close ended questions while verifying theories; it is evident that a qualitative study is best suited for this research.
Selections of Participants
Parents, teachers, and aids in various communities domestically will be selected upon their willingness to share their lived experiences regarding observed and/or reported bullying interpretations and their effect on the children education, interactions, and sharing with others during class activities and on the playgrounds. The participants for this phenomenological study will come from a heterogeneous gender with diverse socioeconomic levels. Participation in the study will be voluntary and the participants may end their participation in the study at any time without risk or harm. There will not be any compensation for participating in the study. Demographics will not be identified or recorded to protect the anonymity of the participants.
Sampling Method

In qualitative research, the type of sampling employed is determined by the methodology selected and the topic under investigation, not by the need to create generalizable findings. According to Hycner (1999), “the phenomenon dictates the method including even the type of participants” (p. 156). The researcher has chosen purposive sampling, considered by Welman and Kruger (1999) as the most important kind of non-probability sampling, to identify the primary participants. The sample will be based on the researcher’s judgment and the purpose of the research (Babbie, 1995; Schwandt, 1997; Greig & Taylor, 1999), looking for those who “have had experiences relating to the phenomenon to be researched” (Kruger, 1988 p. 150). The researcher will use surveys sent home to parents as well as utilizing surveys conducted with teachers, aids, bus drivers and other school administers. These interviewees will be part of the primary unit of analysis (Bless & Higsoln-Smith, 2000), along with their informed consent (Bailey, 1996; Street, 1998; Arksey & Knight, 1999).
For this researcher, understanding that phenomenology is concerned with the lived experiences of the people (Greene, 1997; Holloway, 1997; Kvale, 1996; Kruger, 1988; Robinson & Reed, 1998; Maypole & Davies, 2001;) involved or who were involved with the issue that is being researched will be important. In order to trace additional participants or informants, the researcher will use snowball sampling to find targeted populations, that is, groups not easily accessible to researchers through other sampling strategies. Snowballing is a method of expanding the sample by asking one informant or participant to recommend others for interviewing (Crabtree & Miller, 1992; Babbie, 1995). Bailey (1996), Holloway (1997), and Greig and Taylor (1999) call those through whom entry is gained gatekeepers and those persons who volunteer assistance key actors or key insiders. Neuman (2000) qualifies a gatekeeper as “someone with the formal or informal authority to control access to a site” (p. 352), a person from whom permission is required. The researcher will request the purposive sample interviewees to give, at their discretion; the names and contact details of other caregivers are willing to discuss their experiences and observation of bullying behaviors of preschoolers
As phenomenology is essentially concerned with the meaning of phenomena within the lived experience of an individual (van Manen, 2001), this researcher’s overall objective of this phenomenology research study will be 1) to describe and explain the of learned behavior of bullying behavior of preschoolers 2) to describe both boys and girls individual lived experiences.
This study is based on 13 multiple choice and 1 open-ended interview questions. Each participant’s informed consent (see Appendix ) will be obtained as well as a detailed explanation of the study will be distributed. The participants will also be informed that the study is voluntary, and withdrawal from the study can be done at any time without risk to the participant. Ample opportunity will be given to the participants to ask questions related to the construct and procedures of the research study. All of the participants will receive the identical set of open-ended questions, allowing them to expand their responses as appropriate. All of the participants’ responses will be coded to ensure confidentiality, appropriate reporting and data analysis.
The semi-structured interview will be conducted based upon an interview guide that will be developed. The interview questions will be developed such that they will address phenomenological lived experiences. According to van Manen (1990), “At the most general level of the life world we may find that this grounding level of human existence may also be studied in its fundamental thematic structure” (p. 101). Further, van Manen goes on to reflect that “there are four existential concepts that may prove especially helpful as guides for reflection in the research process. They are; lived space, lived body, lived time and lived human relations” (p. 101). These concepts will be considered when developing the phenomenological life experience questions.
Data Collection, Processing and Analysis
Informed consent
In order to make this voluntary phenomenological study as comprehensive and authentic as possible, it will be vital to gain permission and approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) before starting the research process. The respondents will receive a complete overview of the research endeavor so that they can be as objective as possible, though no certain method exists to control objectivity. The informed consent document communicated to the prospective research subjects will identify the purpose, procedures including time commitment of the subjects, risks and benefits of the study, and the confidentiality of their information. The participants have the right to participate in the research, and the freedom to decline at any time. The participants will be informed via email about the interview date. Data collection will be conducted during the interview through tape recorder and/or audio visual. Data will be reviewed after each interview, analyzed, and interpreted into themes and meanings to lay the foundation of codification with the aid of software.
The respondents will need to sign an informed consent form before the interview, which will give full assurance of the confidentiality of their responses. In this scenario, the respondents will be encouraged to provide their views and insights about the topic of the study. The signed informed consent forms will be retained for a maximum of 3 years. The collected information will be stored in an Excel file maintained on a password protected flash memory data storage device. The hardcopies of the transcripts including the signed consent form and instrument paper, which will include the participants’ feedback will be kept in sealed envelope and stored in a locked cabinet, to which only the researcher will have access. After 3 years have elapsed, these hard copies will be shredded using a shredding machine and thrown away to protect the participants’ identity information.
The participants will receive instructions on the nature and purpose of the research study through the consent agreement form (see Appendix). The participants will also receive an assurance of confidentially to make them more comfortable in sharing and explaining their personal views (Cobb & Forbes, 2002). The study will use 15- open-ended interview questions with the objective of investigating and understanding the lived experiences of preschooler being bullied. Interview questions can be seen in Appendix (). The participants will be given the opportunity to obtain further information and answers to questions related to the study before, during, or even after the study. The researcher will provide her phone number and email address to the participants. The participants may contact the researcher for any concerns about the study.
Field Issues
Creswell (2007) identifies several challenges this researcher may face when engaged in studies: access to organization, observations, documents and audiovisual materials (pg. 139-141):
Access to the Organization
The building of trust and credibility in participants involved in the research will be first and foremost for this researcher. An agreed upon site and/or location and time to conduct observations, interviews, and collect documents will be made between this researcher and the participants in order to remove personal biases and prejudices. Another challenge that may inhibit or restrict access to the organization is working with the institutional review board and its “unfamiliarity of working with unstructured interviews in qualitative research (Corbin & Morse, 2003; Creswell, 2007, pg. 139).
This researcher will have the ability to interchange role: a participant, nonparticipant, or middle-ground person when conducting observations. Though there may be times when writing field notes or recording pertinent information becomes a struggle, this researcher will “learn how to funnel the observations from the broad picture to a narrower on in time” (Creswell, 2007, pg. 139).
There are many challenges this researcher will face when interviewing participants; however, as an experienced interviewer this researcher will have the knowledge to “create good instructions, phrase and negotiate questions, deal with sensitive issues and do transcription” (Creswell, 2007, pg. 140), proficiently. Throughout the interview process, this researcher will also have the ability to handle issues and concerns that may arise and need to be discussed.
Documents and Audiovisual Materials
In locating documents relevant to the study, this researcher will seek permission for use of materials before its actual use. To the fullest extent possible, participants engaged in the study will be given equitable access to journals, logs and recording devices. Considerations will be given to the location, the acoustics and background noise when recording participants in an effort to collect authentic and real data.
The researcher will inform the participants that recordings of the subjects will be kept in a secure location for at least 3 years after the completion of the research and then shredded. Each participant should be aware that participation in this study is voluntary and confidential. The identity of the participants will remain confidential and will not be directly associated with any data.
In ensuring that ethical standards will be maintained during the course of this study, the twelve participants will be informed about the purpose of the study so that their informed consent can be obtained before pursuing the study. Secondly, the privacy and confidentiality of the twelve three participants will be ensured by (a) not requiring them to reveal their names and any other identifying characteristics to ensure anonymity of their responses and protect them from any retributive action, and (b) ensuring that the data collected are not disclosed to unauthorized persons. Care will be taken to minimize any harm caused to the respondents, by ascertaining at the outset whether they have any objections to participating in the study or whether they foresee any negative impact being caused to them by participating in it.
The raw data will be stored in an Excel file maintained on a password protected memory data storage device. Data will be coded to protect confidentiality. Following acceptance of the completed dissertation and after the three years is over; the Excel file will be erased from the memory data storage device. The transcripts including consent form and the instrument paper will be kept in a sealed envelope and stored in a locked cabinet, and after three years have elapsed, these hard copies will be shredded as to protect the participants’ identity information.
2. Methodology:
2.1. Participants. Participants were two preschool class teachers and 60 children (30 girls and 30 boys) ages 3-5, recruited from 2 preschool classes in South Florida. School was personally selected by researcher and was located at middle income urban areas. Children’s age ranged some participants had a mixed nationality background. All participants had already attended school for at least one to two years. Some classes of the same school units, and not whole schools, took part in the present research. Children officially diagnosed with learning difficulties and/or disabilities did not participate in the present research. Teachers and children’s parents thoroughly informed of the content of the present investigation. Parents’ written consent was obtained before children were observed in participation of the research.
2.2. Procedure. The study was conducted during the first and second semester of the school year. The researchers observed classroom activities for a week, before the empirical research had taken place, in order to get acquainted with the participants and the context. Children were not informed that they would be observed by researcher so they could be observed in a natural setting. The researchers reassured the caretakers of the children that their participation was voluntary and anonymous. They were also told that they could quit anytime they desired and that the whole procedure was about discussing topics concerning friendship relations. The researcher informed the care givers that all information found on the surveys as children that all responses were confidential. Also, observation sessions were carried out in a separate, quiet room adjacent to children’s classrooms and the whole procedure was held in a friendly and pedagogical climate.
2.2.1. Researcher, parents, teachers and aids reports. The procedure followed in order to collect data through parents’ nominations, teacher and aids as well as personal observation, reports was identical to the one used by (Adapted from Samford University, Institutional Review Board for
Human Subjects (2010), Birmingham, AL).
For the interview, the researchers LOOK FOR DIFFERENT BEHAVIORS BETWEEN THE DIFFERENT GENDERS AND AGE GROUP to illustrate the roles of aggressor and victim in different situations (physical and verbal building, social exclusion, and rumor spreading).
For children who report bullying behaviors at to their parents as well as physical and verbal aggression at school or daycare, teachers and parents were asked, “Do any of the children in your class hit/kick or push others? If so, who?” For physical victimization they were asked, “Are any children in your class hit/kicked or pushed by others? If so, who?” Teachers wrote down the first names of all pupils fulfilling each role.
2.2.2. Assignment and Distribution of Roles. For peer nominations the scores for aggressor, victim, and bully-victim were summed across classmates and standardized across each class. If the bullying score was greater than the victimization score for at least 0.1 SD, then the role of the bully was attributed. In the reverse case, the role of the victim was attributed. If the difference between their first and second highest scores was less than 0.1 SD, they were assigned to a dual role. If the child did not score above the mean on any role, then he or she was not assigned a role. Scores collected through self-nominations and teacher reports were not elaborated using z-scores and the cut-off point of 0.1 SD. Rather, for self-nominations, children were assigned to the role for which they self-nominated. If they self-nominated for more than one role they were assigned to a dual role. For teacher nominations, children were assigned to the role for which their teacher nominated them. If they were nominated by their teacher for more than one role, they were assigned to a dual role.
2.2.3. Naturalistic Observations. A series of naturalistic observations were also carried out in order to record bullying episodes using the method proposed by Ostrov and Keating [23]. Participants were observed during regularly scheduled free play periods into the classroom and outdoors on the playground. In order to carry out naturalistic observations, two observers took notes independently one from the other. In the beginning, the observers were introduced to the children and teachers, spending a few days in the classroom to let others adjust to their presence 4 Journal of Criminology of study participants. The observers did not generally interact with the children or with teachers. Their presence in the classroom and on the playground became a routine and was largely ignored, which is a fundamental goal of observational procedures. Observations were collected during the middle of the school year, so that the children were well acquainted with each other. Also, during the second semester, children would have got to know each other well and have shared many experiences. In all cases, participants’ anonymity was ensured [23].
Each participant (focal child) was observed for a total period of forty minutes, divided into four 10-minute intervals: (1) into the classroom during free play, (2) into the classroom during free time group play activities (interactions of 2 or more peers), (3) on the playground during free play, (4) on the playground during free time group play activities. Observations did not take place during meals and whole-group organized activities. Therefore, each child was observed at 4 different times interacting with his/her peers over the course of a week. Each of the 4 time intervals of the 10-minute observations took place on different days of the week at a random order for each participant; that is, child X was observed on Monday into the classroom during free play and on Tuesday on the playground during group play activities. The observers remained within earshot of the focal child and did their best to remain unobtrusive. Interactions with children were avoided by appearing to study information on the clipboards the observers carried [23]. 2.2.4. Scoring (1) As far as participant roles are concerned, children were scored as perpetrators if they initiated an unprovoked aggressive act towards their peers. The bully was clearly the leader in the episode. The victim was the recipient of the act initiated by a more dominant individual. Also, children were scored as bully-victims when they were observed to display dual role behaviors. (2) The forms of bullying recorded were: physical bullying (i.e., hitting, pushing, pulling, punching, or forcibly taking objects), verbal bullying (i.e., antagonistic teasing, mean names, verbal threats of harm, or insult not expressed at friendship status, that is, “Shut up!”, “Chicken!”, etc.), and relational bullying (excluding from playgroup, spreading rumors, withdrawing friendship, maliciously telling lies, ignoring a peer; for example, “You cannot play with us but she can,” “You cannot come to my party,” or deliberately turning away and ignoring a peer’s request to join in play). Social exclusion involved the rejection of an individual from a group. It was only considered to be bullying when the exclusion was related to the child, not to the nature of the activity from which they were excluded. Therefore, it would not be considered social exclusion if a child asked to sit with some other children and was told he could not because there are not enough seats [23]. 2.2.5. Criteria for Identifying Bullying Episodes. The criteria involved for defining bullying were (a) intended and unprovoked aggressive acts, (b) carried out repeatedly, and (c) characterized by an imbalance of power [24]. During observations and in order to distinguish aggressive from bullying acts, we followed the aforementioned criteria. Negative intent is difficult to quantify because we cannot see what one is thinking of. However, negative intent may be exhibited through facial expressions or verbalizations of intent. Therefore, in the present study participants’ roles were attributed when negative, unprovoked acts (the perpetrator displayed proactive aggression) were directed towards a weaker peer. For our data analyses, only those cases where participants were observed to assume more than once the role of the bully and/or the victim for the same form of bullying were included. Therefore, the criterion of repetition “more than once a week” was fulfilled. Also, we have selected only those negative interactions where an imbalance of social power or physical strength was observed among participants. Counts were made each time a behavior occurred; that is, one insult added one episode, two insults added two episodes, and so on. One episode was marked even when the behaviors were part of the same encounter. If a child maintained a continuous aggressive act, that is, a pinch for an extended period of time, only one episode of physical bullying was made. Similarly, the continuous statement, “We do not like you, so you cannot play with us” would be coded as one act of relational bullying rather than two, given the immediate temporal association and interdependency between the two phrases. If separated in time, two episodes were counted. When an act was not intended, that is, a ball that sailed out of control and hit another child, it was not an event that scored as an aggressive act [23].

Data Collection Method
A pilot study will involve personal interview surveys are used to probe the answers of the respondents and at the same time, to observe the behavior of the respondents, either individually or as a group. The personal interview method is preferred by researchers for a couple of advantages. But before choosing this method for your own survey, you also have to read about the disadvantages of conducting personal interview surveys. In addition, you must be able to understand the types of personal or face-to-face surveys. The data gathered through the pilot study will provide related information about the challenges and factors that may influence experiences of parents and caregivers. Furthermore, such data will be utilized to develop the actual open-ended questions for the interviews and the questionnaires. For our qualitative research purposes, focus group discussion from the selected sample group will be conducted to gather the perceptions, expectations, and beliefs of the target samples (Wilkinson & Birmingham, 2003).
Open-ended questionnaires will offer flexibility and opportunities for respondents to bring to light the other factors that were not mentioned in the surveys (Axinn & Pearce, 2006).
The researcher will take down notes, listen, and ask questions in order to achieve a better understanding of the situation, and the participants’ thoughts about their experiences. Narrative interview text will be analyzed to identify the participants’ points of view on the effectiveness of current practices as it relates to the children’s academic achievement.
Once the face to face discussion is complete and the 15 interview questions have been answered, a structured debriefing protocol will be put in place. As illustrated by Cozby (2009), “Debriefing occurs after the completion of the study. This protocol will give the researcher an opportunity to deal with issues of withholding information, deception, and potential harmful effects of participation” (p. 47). The intent of the debriefing is to ensure that “if the research altered the participants physicals or psychological state in any way, as in a study that produces stress, the researcher makes sure that the participants are comfortable about having participated” (Cozby, 2009, p. 47). It is at this time that the research can inform the participants of the purpose of the study and avail them of the practical implications of the research study. Once the data is collected, the next step will be to categorize the information. The objective will be to identify any patterns representing concepts the participants presented during the data collection phase. Data will then be organized into logical categories that summarize and bring meaning to the manuscript of notes.
Specific codes will be developed allowing the author to categorize the responses into the above-mentioned construct, while identifying emergent themes. During this data aggregation phase, subcategories may be identified, which were not identified during the initial development of the research project. These subcategories will need to be identified and coded, such that this new information can be assimilated into the research’s findings. Though preset categories will be defined in the initial phase of the research, setting the initial direction of the study, emergent categories may be identified. The projected process will be to begin the study with preset categories adding emergent categories as they become defined. The inclusion of these additional categories will offer greater identification of the issues being investigated.
Data Analysis
Immersion in data analysis process is a way to discover “patterns, coherent themes, meaningful categories, and new ideas and in general uncovers better understanding of a phenomenon or process” (Suter, 2006, p. 327). “The purpose of interviewing is to find out what is in on someone else’s mind… We interview people to find out from them those things we cannot directly observe” (Patton, 1990, p. 278). Data will be reviewed after the focus group discussion is analyzed and interpreted into themes and meanings to lay the foundation of codification. Creswell (2005) suggested that content analysis categorizes, synthesizes and interprets qualitative text data by describing.
Neuman (2003) described the process of data analysis as a means for looking for patterns to explain the goal of the studied phenomena. The analysis of data will be devised from responses from the focus group discussion. From these sources, the emerging themes will be categorized and coded. Once the categorization is completed, the data will be coded according to the indicators from the literature. This study used an open-coding system to analyze participants’ narrative responses line-by-line, phrase-by-phrase and word-by-word (Creswell, 2003; Suter, 2006).
The study will use qualitative data analysis software to evaluate the focus group transcripts. The software will provide a systematic analysis of the collected qualitative data. As Patton (2002) stated in his book Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods:
Qualitative research is an effort to understand situations in their uniqueness as part of a particular context and the interactions there. This understanding is an end in itself, so it is not attempting to predict what may happen in the future necessarily, but to understand the nature of that setting-what it means for participants to be in the setting. The analysis strives for depth of understanding (p. 49).
Software will be used to analyze the content of the collected data. The analysis will identify patterns or similar ideas relevant to the participants’ experiences. The final analysis will lead to the development of a report presenting the interpretation of results, limitations, individual and independent insights, and generalizations of the study.
Validity and Reliability
The final product, as Marshall and Rossman (2011) argue, must also give due consideration to “soundness, usefulness, and ethical conduct of the qualitative research study” (p.222). Validity and reliability capture the essence of those concepts. Research, qualitative and quantitative alike, are expected to produce studies that are credible, of high quality, valid, and reliable. Creswell (2013) defines validity as an attempt in qualitative research to determine the accuracy of the findings, and reliability as the stability of responses. Researchers are utilizing triangulation as a means of demonstrating that their data is credible and valid. Willis (2007) contends that triangulation is used “as a qualitative equivalent of validity and reliability” (p.218). Triangulation helps researchers to corroborate findings and demonstrate “that she got the participant’ real views and authentic behavior” (Marshall & Rossman, 2011, p.221). To demonstrate the validity and reliability of this study, the research will employ triangulation by “locat[ing] evidence to document a code or them in different sources of data” (Creswell, 2013, p.215). Although triangulation will address the validity and reliability of this study, other considerations must be given to address ethics and reflexivity.
Ethical Assurances
Each participating parent and/or care giver will be contacted by the researcher to discuss the proposed study; the requirements of the participants during the study, the knowledge that participation in the study is voluntary, and participants can withdraw from the study at any time. This researcher will be obligated to ensure each participant is protected from harm, privacy through confidentiality and anonymity, given a required Informed Consent Agreement (Appendix) that instructs the participants of the nature and purpose of the research (Mauthner, 2003). Confidentiality of all information and the knowledge that results from the study will be stored for a period of time and will be shared with Nova Southeastern University. The data will be anonymous to protect the respondents participating in the project. Data will be kept in a password-protected file and eventually deleted after a period of three years. Any physical copy of the data will be suitably secured in a locked filing cabinet in the researcher’s possession.
Expected Outcomes Contributions
In an effort to present information and experiences learned while conducting this phenomenological research study, the researcher will reflect upon the ways in which the experiences, beliefs and personal perspectives of the participants have contributed to promoting an understanding of bullying which can be performed by children at very young ages. The researcher will also take great care not to silence the voices of the participants, as well as not, to give them too much voice in the written document. As a way of self-monitoring and self-reflecting throughout the research, the researcher will keep a log, a journal and a diary to avoid any and all possible biases and prejudices incurred during the research. The use of these self-monitoring and self-reflecting techniques and devices will allow the researcher to open her mind to new and exciting ideas, epiphanies and experiences and not concentrate on pre-given frameworks.
The expected contributions of this phenomenological research study will allow a pathway to open dialogue that leads to better understand how to help young children how to respond to bullies and bullying. Other contributions of this phenomenological research study involve giving parents and other caregiver a forum on which to gain a level of respect and equality within their respective societies. In the end, the expected contributions will foster a platform and model for future healthy relations within child play that children can model in their future.
Chapter three discusses the research methodology that will be employed in the qualitative study, which is that of a phenomenological research design. Also included in chapter three is information on the data collection process as well as data analyses, which include identifying themes from the answers of the participating respondents in the online fcus group discussion. Finally, this chapter discussed the appropriateness of the research design, the population, assumptions and limitations, and ethical assurances. The following chapter presents the results for this study, where they will be examined and assessed.

Interview Questions
How often has someone said something cruel to others at school in the past month?
I have experienced it: ___ never ___ 1-2 times ___ 3-4 times ___ more than 4 times
I have witnessed it: ___ never ___ 1-2 times ___ 3-4 times ___ more than 4 times
How often has someone said something cruel to others at school in the past month?
I have experienced it: ___ never ___ 1-2 times ___ 3-4 times ___ more than 4 times
I have witnessed it: ___ never ___ 1-2 times ___ 3-4 times ___ more than 4 times
How often has someone been threatened or verbally intimidated at school in the past month?
I have experienced it: ___ never ___ 1-2 times ___ 3-4 times ___ more than 4 times
I have witnessed it: ___ never ___ 1-2 times ___ 3-4 times ___ more than 4 times
If name-calling or verbal bullying has taken place, check each item below that reflects the type of comment you heard.
___ Names based on race or ethnicity
___ Names based on clothing worn
___ Names based on level of physical attractiveness
___ Names based on intelligence
___ Curses and other generally hostile or mean comments
How often has name-calling been accompanied or followed by physical bullying (being hit, kicked, punched, tripped, etc.) at school in the past month?
I have experienced it: ___ never ___ 1-2 times ___ 3-4 times ___ more than 4 times
I have witnessed it: ___ never ___ 1-2 times ___ 3-4 times ___ more than 4 times
Who has carried out the bullying that you have described above? (Check all that apply).
The bullying I
experienced was
carried out by: The bullying
I witnessed was
carried out by:
Younger Students
Older Students
Students the same age
Larger/stronger students
Students the same size
Students of the same race/ethnicity
Students of a different race/ethnicity

In the past month, name-calling or verbal bullying has taken place in the following places
(Check all that apply):
I experienced
bullying… I witnessed
In the playground
In the classroom
In the lunchroom
In the hallways


When name-calling or bullying occurred, what was the student’s response
(Check all that apply)

When I experienced
bullying, I…
When I witnessed bullying,
the person who was bullied…
Ignored the bullying
Tried to avoid the situation
Walked away from or left the situation
Verbally told the person who bullied to stop
Used insulting or teasing words back at the person who bullied
Hit or physically reacted to the person who bullied
Cried or expressed fear in another way
Got support from a friend
Told a teacher or adult at school
Told a parent or family member
Told no one or did nothing

If bullying took place, how well did the adults at school handle it?
___ Poorly ___ Okay ___ Well ___ Bullying was ignored or not dealt with at all
___ Adults did not know about the bullying ___ No bullying took place
___ Other:
What did the adults at school do in response to bullying (check all that apply)?
___ Put a stop to the bullying
___ Reprimanded or scolded the person who bullied
___ Punished the person who bullied
___ Contacted the parents or family of the person who bullied
___ Provided support or comfort to the person who was bullied
___ Helped the person who was bullied to avoid or respond to future bullying situations
___ Contacted the parents or family of the person who was bullied
___ Talked to the class or taught lessons about bullying
___ Adults ignored or did nothing about bullying
___ Adults did not know about the bullying
Overall, how would you rate the efforts of adults at your school to prevent students from
picking on one another?
___ very good ___ good ___ poor ___ don’t know

Overall, how would you rate the efforts of adults to make your school a safe place in which to learn?
___ very good ___ good ___ poor ___ don’t know

Overall, I believe there is a problem with bullying at my school.
___ agree very much ___ agree ___ disagree ___ disagree very much

Some things that I would like to see other students do (or stop doing):

Informed Consent
Title of Research: Bullying

Investigator: Students Name, Graduate Student, Department of Conflict Analysis and Resolution

Before consenting to take part in this phenomenological research study, it is important that you carefully read the following explanation of this study. This explanation describes the reason/purpose, procedures, benefits, risks, discomforts and precautions of the program. Also detailed are any alternative procedures available to you, as well as, your right to withdraw from this study at any time. There are no guarantee or assurances can or will be made as to the results of the study.

Explanation of Procedures
This phenomenological research study is designed to explore the lived experiences of preschoolers bullying and how young children and be taught the negative affect of bullying. Students Name, a graduate student at Nova University, Department of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is conducting this study to learn more about lived experiences of the effect of bulling on young children and their school experience. Participation in the study will involve the completion of twenty to twenty-five open-ended interview questions, which will last approximately one and one half hours over a period of one day. The interview will be either audiotape or videotaped by the researcher and later transcribed for the purpose of data analysis. The interview will be conducted at a setting that is mutually agreeable to the participant and the researcher.

Risk and Discomforts
There are foreseen risks or discomforts from your participation in the study. Examples of any potential risks or discomforts may include emotional feelings, such as anger, sadness or grief, when asked questions during the interview.

The overall desired benefit for any participation is the opportunity to discuss any feelings, perceptions, and concerns related to the experience of discussing events in your life that are or have been meaningful to you.

Alternative Treatments
As this is a biographical research study, this study does not involve specific treatments or procedures that will cause bodily harm; therefore, there are no known alternative treatments to participating in this study.

The information collected during this study will remain confidential. Only the researcher and Dr. Neil Katz, Nova Southeastern University, Department of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Fort Lauderdale, FL, will have immediate access to this study’s data and information. As this information is confidential, no identifiable names or characteristics of the participant will be making available to anyone. Upon completion of this study, all tapes, transcripts, and notes will be destroyed. Please be aware that the results of this research will be published in the form of a graduate paper that may be disseminated among the professional community in fortune studies.

Withdrawal without Prejudice
Participation in this study is on a voluntary basis and refusal to participate will involve no penalty. Each participant is free to withdraw consent and discontinue participation in this project at any time without prejudice. Furthermore, a participant’s decision to voluntarily participate or not will, in no way, influence the level of professional and personal courtesy extended in the work environment.

New Findings
As this phenomenological research study progress, any new and significant findings developed during this study that may have an affect the participant’s willingness to continue will be provided by Students Name, Graduate Student, Nova Southeastern University, Department of Conflict Analysis and Resolution.

Cost and/or Payment to Subject for Participation in Research
Nova Southeastern University, Department of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Fort Lauderdale, FL, has made no provision for monetary compensation in the event of injury resulting from the research. If the need arises due to an injury, assistance will be provided to access health care services. The cost of health care services is the responsibility of the participant.

Any questions concerning the research project and/or the case of injury due to the project, participants can call Dr. Neil Katz at 954.262.3040 or by email at kneil@nova.edu; faculty advisor for this project.

This agreement states that you have received a copy of this informed consent. Your signature below indicates that you agree to participate in this study.

___________________________________________ __________________
Signature of Subject Date

___________________________________________ __________________
Subject Name (printed)

_________________________________________ __________________
Signature of Researcher Date

(Adapted from Samford University, Institutional Review Board for Human Subjects (2010), Birmingham, AL)
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