I was pleasantly surprised by the turn my research took when I started to delve further into it. The article that had originally sparked my interest in young women’s sexual health back in September was about the rising number of women using withdrawal as contraceptive method. I was boggled by this behaviour because the statistics were quite high. I thought this would be more of a health sciences issue, and I wasn’t totally sure how I would approach it, coming from a background in the humanities.
When I started to do the actual research, however, I found that this statistic was from an American study, and that the statistics for Canadian youth were slightly more promising. The first bit of information I found came from a 2006 study that revealed “increases in STI rates during an extended period of declining teen pregnancy rates in Canada (SIECCAN, 2004)” (Boyce et al, 2006, p.67). The stats I looked at showed that Canadian youths weren’t experiencing as high a pregnancy rate as our neighbours to the south, but I still had questions. I wondered why these young men and women didn’t seem to be giving STIs much thought, and this changed my research question from a sexual health practices question, to a question about access to sexual health information. This is when things clicked for me, since information-seeking was something we had discussed in several of my other LIS classes. Then, when Jenna Hartel came in and told us ethnography was a good way to explore how and why questions, I really began to see the shape this potential study would take. Though I have some important questions, I’m still not totally sure what other questions would elicit the most useful answers, so I decided to use a semi-structured interview style to try and facilitate conversation.
This project is quite different than what I had initially thought of, but I think it’s more unique. I even found an article that explained, “youth efforts to obtain sexual health information, particularly in the specialized and often controversial area of sexual and reproductive health, remain little explored by library and information science researchers” (Pierce, 2007, p.63). That made me feel good about the direction I had taken, since it’s an area where someone could really make an impact since no one had really ventured there.
Boyce W., Doherty-Poirier, M., MacKinnon, D., Fortin, C., Saab, H., & Gallupe, O. (2006). Sexual health of Canadian youth: Findings from the Canadian youth, sexual health and HIV/AIDS study. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 915(2), 59-68.
Pierce, J.B. (2007). Research directions for understanding and responding to young adult sexual and reproductive health information needs. In M.K. Chelton & C. Cool (Eds.), Youth Information-Seeking Behavior II: Context, Theories, Models and Issues (63-91). Toronto: The Scarecrow Press.
SIECCAN. (2004). Sexual health education in schools: Questions and answers. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 13(3/4), 129-141.