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Over the first few weeks of this unit, you have been learning the concepts that will enable you to read and understand a research report. You have also begun to learn how to recognise well-designed studies - studies in which the research methods are appropriately matched to the research question. You will now put this learning together, and write a summary and evaluation of a research report (called a 'critical review').
Writing your critical review will help you learn how to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a particular research design. This skill will help you in Assessment 2: Research proposal, in which you will need to plan and propose a research study. The ability will also help you throughout your course, and in everyday life, to evaluate claims made in a range of academic and non-academic contexts.
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Sexting refers to the exchange of sexually explicit messages in the form of texts, images, photographs and videos, through digital devices, primarily mobile phones (Gordon et al, 2013). This exchange is primarily between romantic partners, but it may involve other individuals. Partners involve in sexting, in the light of enhancing sexual relationships with their current or potential partners. The advent of social media and internet has greatly augmented this trend, because of the ease in exchanging media through the internet. Its use popularized in the 21st century, particularly among teenagers and young adults, between the age group of 13-25 years (Hasinoff, 2013). In the following paragraphs, the summary of the article ‘Sexting and Adult Romantic Attachment’ by Robert & Raquel, 2011 will be made, along with its critical review.
The article was aimed to investigate the relationship of adult romantic attachment styles with sexting behaviors and attitudes. For this purpose, an online questionnaire was filled by 128 university students, assessing the relationship of technology with romance. The age of participants ranged from 18-3o years, with 22 male and 106 female participants. The questionnaire assessed the age, gender, ethnicity and the duration and the relationships, if any, of the participants. It also assessed the relationship behaviors on a scale, ranging from 1 to 7. The mode and frequency of the exchange of these texts was also assessed through a scale. The questionnaire assessed the sexting attitudes of these individuals, on the basis of parameters, which stated ‘fun’, ‘perceived risk’ and ‘relational expectations’ as the primary titles. The study concluded that no differences on anxiety and avoidance were observed with respect to age, gender or ethnicity. However, individuals who were in relationships were more likely of sending suggestive messages. Attachment anxiety was also a predicting factor in assessing relational attitudes towards sexting. This implies that anxiety related to sexting expectations, in order to please their partners. These individuals anticipated their partners of wanting sexually explicit images, texts, and videos. They also anticipated that pleasing their partners may enhance their sexual relationships. These findings were assessed on the basis of adult attachment theory. The study concluded that sending suggestive texts might be assessed as a method of eliciting response from their partners. Such behavior is a variant of reassurance-seeking behavior observed in individuals. These individuals are known to alleviate tension due to anxious attachment, through the sending of suggestive texts. On the basis of subscale which assessed individual’s attitudes towards sexting, no differences with respect to gender, ethnicity, age or relationship status were observed. Attachment theory and avoidance by an individual were considered as primary predictors of sexting attitudes. Subscale scores were considered as variables of these outcomes. Attachment anxiety analyzed the expectations of individuals towards sexting, based on individual scores. Major responses according to the score divulged fun attitude towards sexting with their partners. These individuals considered sexting as normal, but feared the perceived risk relating to the same. It also highlighted that these individuals anticipated that their partners might expect sexting as a part of the relationship. Anxiety majorly related to employment of sexting and increased expectations from sexting, in order to please their partners and gain validation and assurance of the relationship. However, the study concluded that there were no significant relationships relating to various attachment styles and individual’s attitudes toward sexting, other than attachment anxiety.
The method employed by the researchers involves primary research, which is a quantitative methodology (Brannen, 2017). The researchers targeted university students, who were in the age group that significantly contributed to the sexting trend. The topic chosen by the researchers is also novel. Various researches have been conducted previously to assess the incidence and prevalence of sexting among youths, but no particular studies have been conducted to assess the behavior traits and attitudes of individuals involved in sexting. The questionnaire was conducted online, which assured anonymity of the participants (Bowling, 2014). This encouraged them to extensively participate in the study and state their honest reviews. The findings of the research are also precise, since it has been confirmed by previous studies of various researchers that teens involved in sexting are often diagnosed with psychological problems, including depression and insecurity (Temple et al, 2014). The research deeply ponders into the psychological issues of individuals in determining their attitudes towards sexting. It accurately addressed to the issues of involved individuals, who stated that they anticipate that their partners might expect suggestive messages, and involve in sexting in order to enhance their relationships with partners. Thus, the study precisely addressed the issue. Since all the data was computerized, the precision and accuracy of the same is reliable (Brannen, 2017). Manual data evaluation and interpretation increases the chances of human errors in the process. It also raises the chances for author bias and prejudice, in the favor of the study.
However, the study employed a very small sample size. It was conducted on university students, who self-reported the data. This may not accurately reflect their attitudes and behaviors due to limited understanding by the participants (Zainal, 2017). The data collected was cross-sectional, and thus may not precisely represent the overall results relating to the specific patterns of attachment over the course of time. The use of both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies will be useful in the light of this study (Bowling, 2014). However, this study employed the use of quantitative methodology exclusively. In addition, the sample size mostly consisted of women, who may have different attitudes and behaviors, as compared to men. The measure of sexting attitudes employed in this study has also not been validated by other studies. These methodologies and limitations highlight the scope of future research and studies to assess the same. Future studies can be conducted on a different population, involving a bigger sample size.
Assessing the study article, it can be ascertained that sexting is a growing concern, particularly among youth population. The study concluded that individuals involved in sexting due to various reasons, particularly for flirting or fun. However, certain psychological traits were observed in these individuals, including attachment anxiety, as described by the adult attachment theory. These individuals established the use of sexting as a means to provocate their partner and enhance their sexual relationships. Such individuals were also linked with reassurance and insecurity disorders, who linked sexting as a means to gain their partner’s validation.
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