The Economy Of Argentina Free Essay

Introduction

The Republic of Argentina (República Argentina) is the second largest country in South America, with total area 2,766,890 sq km. The country is located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Andes mountain range, and borders such countries as Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay and Brazil. The republic is divided into 6 major geographical regions, as well as into 23 federal provinces (provincias) and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires (Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires), which is the capital and the largest city of modern Argentina. The official language of the country is Spanish.

Argentina stretches for about 3,900 km from south to north and for about 1,400 km from west to east. The climate of the country varies from maritime subantarctic in the southern islands to subtropical in the north. The terrain is dominated by plateaus and plains in the northern regions, the steppes to the south, and mountainous regions to the west. The country’s coastline is about 5,000 km (CIA, 2009).

In July 2008, it is estimated that the population of Argentina exceeded 40 million people. Those are mostly Latin American nations of Spanish descent (98%), and indigenous minorities (Mestizo, Anerindians and others, 3%). Overwhelming majority of the population are Roman Catholics (92%). Population growth rate is 1.07 and sex ratio (for 15-64 age group) is 0.99 male/female (est. 2008). The literacy rate is 97.2% for all age groups, which is one of the highest literacy indexes among the nations of South America (CIA, 2009).

Argentina’s Economy: General Overview.

Specialists underline that the economy of Argentina has been recently on rise after the recovery from a severe economic crisis of 2001/2002. Over the last 5 years, the country’s GDP growth has been quite high: 9.2% in 2005, 8.6% in 2007 and 6.6% in 2008 (slowed down by the international financial crises). Such progress was achieved at the expense of industrialization, national debt restructuring and flexible fiscal policy of the government. Current GDP (ppp) is 585 billion USD, and GDP per capita is 14,500 USD (CIA, 2009).

Traditionally, the country’s economy was based on the production of agricultural goods, and now Argentina remains among the world’s leading exporters of such products as corn, wool, wheat, sunflower seeds, soybeans, fruit, meat, tobacco, food processing and other related products. Besides, the country has numerous natural reserves of important minerals, including coal, iron ore, copper, zinc and tin, as well as vast resources of natural gas and oil, which make the country self-sufficient in its needs for energy.

Argentinean economy enjoys the benefits of highly qualified and educated labor force, which was estimated in 2008 as 16.27 million people. More than a half of the labor force is employed in services (56.7%), the share of industrial workers is 34%, and the rest are employed in agriculture and other economic sectors. In 2008, the urban unemployment rate in Argentina totaled 7.8%. At that, government spends over 13% of the national budget for various labor and education programs (CIA, 2009).

Banking and Financial Sectors

Despite quite impressive economic development, relatively high level of inflation remains among the main macroeconomic problems in Argentina. In 2008, the inflation rate was estimated as 21%, and this was a result of unsuccessful privatization and other economic reforms of the country’s former president, Carlos Menem. Those policies also brought to high levels of unemployment and huge national debts in the end of the 1990s. Along with high dependence of the country’s system on the economy of Brazil, those reforms resulted in massive economic crisis in 2001/2002 (The Columbia Encyclopedia, 2007).

Flexible financial, fiscal and monetary policies of the post-crisis presidents of Argentina, supported by global economic integration and growth, helped the country to achieve some balance in the financial sector. In particular, since 2003 the government managed to accumulate certain financial reserves and achieve fiscal surplus at the expense of increased tax burden and general tax system modification. Besides, certain improvements were recently achieved in income distribution. However, more than a fifth of the population is estimated to live below the poverty line (GlobalEDGE, 2009).

Monetary unit of Argentina is Argentine peso (ARS), and current nominal exchange rates vary between 3.15 and 3.2 peso per 1 American dollar. The banking sector is represented by a network of public banks. Around 85 banking institutions are private, and about a half of those is owned by foreign investors. Banco de la Nación Argentina is the largest bank which has about a fourth of the country’s banking deposits. Crediting policies of the banks are quite tight, and in 2008 prime rate of the banks was 28% (CIA, 2009).

Exports and Imports

Foreign trade is a very important factor, which has been stimulating economic progress and development of Argentina for the last decade. In 1991, exports/imports of the country equaled to 11% of GDP, and in 2007, overseas trade was estimated as 39% of the country’s GDP. At that, Argentinean economy could benefit from quite high foreign trade surplus, which was estimated as 12 billion dollars in 2006 and 11.2 billion dollars in 2007 (GlobalEDGE, 2009).

In 2008, the exports of Argentina totaled 73 billion dollars, and the main exports- partners of the country were Brazil (receives about 19% of total exports), the countries of the European Union (about 18%), China (9.4%), the United States (7.9%), Chile (7.6%), Mexico and other countries. The main exports of Argentina include mostly agriculture products, such as grains, soybeans, corn, cattle, as well as petroleum, gas and other energy products, motor vehicles and various technology products, etc.

At the same time, the country’s imports in 2008 totaled 59.9 billion dollars, giving more than 13 billion dollars of overseas trade surplus. The main imports of Argentina include various industrial machinery and equipment (up to 40% of total imports), automobiles, plastics and chemicals, refined fuels and so on. Brazil is the main imports-partner of Argentina, which gives about 34% of the total imports. Other imports come from China (12%), the United States (12%), Germany (5%), Mexico (3%), etc (CIA, 2009).

Opportunities for Foreign Investors

Economic environment of Argentina is one of the most attractive markets among the national economies of Latin American countries. A lot of financial and other investments were recently received from such developed countries as Japan, the U.S., Germany, Italy, Spain, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, China, and many others. It is estimated that currently, about 450 companies owned by the U.S. investors operate in Argentinean market, giving a job to more than 150,000 local employees (GlobalEDGE, 2009).

The most attractive and profitable industries for overseas investors include manufacturing, real estate, construction and transportation, telecommunication, mining and energy sectors. However, current considerable governmental debts to international financial institutions and numerous arbitration claims of the creditors affect investment and financial climate of the country.

Conclusion: What Your Company Should Sell or Buy in Argentina?

Therefore, the present Argentinean market and economic environment should be considered favorable for starting a new business or investing funds. At that, when thinking about possible international trade and the opportunities to buy high-quality goods from Argentinean companies or enterprises, many specialists would recommend buying agricultural products, such as wheat, soybeans, sunflower oil, corn, cereals, as well as fruit, meat, a variety of food processing products, along with energy products, refined fuels, vehicles, industrial and high technology goods (GlobalEDGE, 2009).

As to possible investments, such sectors as telecommunication, agriculture, hotel and tourism business, services, energy and petroleum are currently among the most attractive and lucrative economic sectors in Argentina. Finally, knowing the specifics of the local market and the needs of Argentinean business enterprises and companies, it is possible to suggest selling such products as industrial machinery, tools and equipment, scientific equipment and instruments, manufactured goods, chemicals and various organic materials, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment, and so on.

References

Argentina. (2009). GlobalEDGE. Michigan State University. Retrieved March 11, 2009: <http://globaledge.msu.edu/countryInsights/country.asp?countryID=98&regionID=4>.

Argentina. (2007). The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. NY: Columbia University Press.

Argentina. (2009, March 5). The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved March 11, 2009, from <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ar.html>.

Quantitative Research

1. Introduction

In any health care practice, the carefully planned and implemented research is of great value. The research must adhere to the highest standards of scientific practice. There is no such activity as a perfect research study. However, all well designed researches will contribute to existing evidence even though they may not provide most reliable results. In health care research, a combination of the sciences of epidemiology and clinical studies has contributed to better knowledge about the effectiveness of health practices. Many research methods were first established in epidemiology. However, today they are applied widely in health care in order to measure the effectiveness of new treatments, interventions and health care practices with carefulness. This paper provides analyses of the essential features of quantitative research methods (based on counting and measurement) that require careful consideration at all points and are of great value in health care practice.

2. Advantages and Disadvantages of Quantitative Research

Healthcare professions are characterized by a body of specialized knowledge. Commonly this knowledge is the results of quantitative research. As for professional fields such as healthcare, quantitative research is critical for development. There are two major advantages. First, quantitative research yields new knowledge related to the many issues, questions, and problems in healthcare. Second, quantitative research ensures a process for distributing such knowledge when and if it is considered to be of high quality. Quantitative research, thus, has both a product and a process aspect. It addresses substantive findings and the process of obtaining and reporting them. Quantitative research is the essential force of medicine, aiming to advance understanding of professionals and improve practice (Creswell 1994, p.69).

There are important disadvantages related to quantitative research in healthcare. First, quantitative research is built on the assumption that reality exists largely independent of the researcher. Quantitative research is prone to materialisation. It fixes in time processes that might be very situational, dependent on context, and fluid. Events that depend on the social interaction among organizational members are difficult to capture with quantitative research which assume stability. Since many aspects, such as motivation, satisfaction, and commitment, cannot be directly perceived and measured but must be deduced, there is a problem of misinterpretation and understanding what the observer wants or expects to understand rather than what is really there.

A second major disadvantage of quantitative research is connected with the application of knowledge obtained (Creswell 1994, p.72). The main goal of researchers of quantitative research is to interpret reality and, possibly, comprehend how events are related to each other. It is not the fundamental objective of researchers to solve problems or make decision what action to take. The goals and tasks of researchers and professionals, thus, differ. Researchers attempt to make sense of what has already happened, professionals try to influence what is about to happen. Much of research, therefore, does not transform directly into practice. Healthcare requires attention to many more situational events than a quantitative research study can usually account for.

3. Improving health care delivery

Quantitative research is necessary to understand the operations of medicine today. Actually, there is no other way to evaluate and understand the healthcare issues, namely (Anderson 1996):

            • Placing patients’ needs ahead of self-interest; scholarship; reaction to societal needs; working in collaboration with other health professionals.

            • Adherence to moral principles, respect, sympathy, responsibility, politeness, sensitivity to patient needs and to members of a staff.

            • High standards of moral and ethical behavior.

            • Identification and management of physician impairment in peers and self.

            • Psychosocial aspects for care.

            • Understanding of the importance of self-assessment, and desire to teach.

            • Understanding of the requirements for participation of patients in research study.

            • Knowledge about the differences in gender, age, cultural, and social background.

            • Fairness and reliability.

Two necessary components in the process of delivering high quality health care are the presence of scientifically based research and the practice of good critical appraisal skills in order to select the most appropriate evidence. Critical appraisal skills are necessary for helping to decide whether quantitative research is of a sufficiently high quality to show that changes in health practice are necessary. In this process, the disciplines of critical appraisal and research methods both complement and cover one another. Critical appraisal is a process that helps to determine and foster quantitative research.

4. Scientific merit

Critical appraisal is the tool used to evaluate the scientific merit of a research (Brannen 1992, p. 145). Critical appraisal has become an important clinical tool. The fundamental function of clinical appraisal is to inquire about whether a reported connection between an intervention and a health results has causal relation or can be explained by other factors such as occasion, bias or confusion. This approach is necessary in healthcare because professionals can only have certainty in outcomes that could not have arisen by chance.

Critical appraisal skills are essential for professionals. They use it in order to make decisions about whether to change clinical practice on the basis of the published literature. Critical appraisal skills are also used for making decisions about the most important directions for future research. In judging the published literature as valuable evidence, the conclusions reported must be justified regarding the appropriateness of the study methods used and the validity of the outcomes presented. This can be achieved with a sound understanding of the limitations and the benefits of different research methods (Sellitz, Jahoda, Deutsch, and Cook 1976, p.215).

5. Systematic reviews

Narrative reviews and articles, which appear constantly in most journals, often use the information that supports the authors’ points of view. These articles are necessary in order to be aware of new concepts and ideas. However, it is important that health professionals conduct systematic reviews that consider and summarise all of the relevant studies that are available.

Systematic reviews must use highly developed methods for finding and critically assessing all of the relevant literature and for making a summary of the findings. The process of systematic review consists of the following steps (Atkinson and Coffey 1997):

1.      State precisely outcome variables

2.      Determine intervention or exposure of interest

3.      Determine search strategy and literature databases

4.      Determine inclusion and exclusion criteria for studies

5.      Conduct search

6.      Examination of studies by two independent observers

7.      Reach agreement about inclusion of studies

8.      Conduct review

9.      Pool data and accomplish meta-analysis

10.  Propose and produce final review

6. Cochrane collaboration

The Cochrane collaboration has become an international system of great value. It monitors and publishes systematic reviews. Cochrane stated that a systematic review of a series of randomised controlled trials was a ‘real milestone in the history of randomised controlled trials and in the evaluation of care’ (Biltereyst 2001, p. 52). Since then, this has become the essential method of evaluating evidence for health care. Cochrane also stated that to have continuing value, reviews must be all the time updated with any new evidence and must be easily available through various media (Biltereyst 2001, p. 53).

7. Undertaking a Cochrane review

The fundamental task of Cochrane collaboration is to encourage the interest and eagerness of clinicians and researchers to be aware of new information. The aim of the programme is to provide professionals with the motivation, skills and supervision that are needed to conduct research to the standard required. The Cochrane collaboration assists its reviewers by presenting documents, coordinating seminars and providing software for summarising the results. The main principles of the collaboration are the following (Punch 1998, p.69):

•          • consider specific health problems

•          • train professionals in the review process

•          • provide a collaboration of people with common interests

•          • prevent duplication of literature reviews

•          • teach effective search strategies

•          • conduct meta-analyses

Meta-analytic findings are of the great value in healthcare. What is epidemiologically important is necessarily clinically important. The findings usually change clinical decisions. Meta-analysis is practiced as a method of evaluating whether a particular treatment works and more than that. Meta-analysis is developed and used far beyond clinical trials. Observational descriptive and analytic studies and the evaluation of diagnostic methods are also of great value. Meta-analysis in these fields works well. The pooling of results is sometimes appropriate (Neuman 1994, p.25).

8. Evidence-based practice

Evidence-based practice is an approach of quantitative research. It uses the best scientific evidence available with purpose to deliver the best patient care. The approach of evidence-based practice is means that it is better to know for sure, rather than believe. Assessments of probable effectiveness are best achieved by using systematic methods to assess the available literature in order to provide true answers to particular questions about healthcare. This process is connected with the recognition that increasing numbers of research studies are being published that have invalid findings for clinical care practices. The basic steps of evidence-based practice are the following (Bailey 1994):

1.      Determine the problem

2.      Break the problem down into questions

3.      Find relevant clinical articles. Conduct an effective literature search

4.      Define the best studies

5.      Evaluate the evidence considering validity, repeatability, relevance, study strengths and weaknesses, outcomes etc.

6.      Make clinical decisions, examine policy and implement the findings

7.      Assess the outcomes of changes in practice

9. Benefits of evidence-based practice

The evidence-based practice has many benefits:

·         focuses new research on practical issues of great value

·         can be practiced to evaluate existing performance or give approval to the implementation of new practices

·         has the capacity to lead to more effective decision making and more effective health care delivery

·         saves time when regular reviews are available or when evaluations of research are published

The practice of scientific reviews of the evidence in order to assess the effectiveness of clinical practices increases the possibility that the healthcare delivery will be more effective. This process is improved by easy access to systematic reviews, for instance through the Cochrane collaboration, and by the making information public through journals such as Evidence-Based Medicine (Reason and Bradbury 2001, p. 278).

10. Designing a research

In designing a study and assessing the outcomes of studies conducted by other research groups, it is essential to determine the strengths and the limitations of the different types of research design that can be used (Creswell 1994, p.36). The choice of a research design is an important decision in designing a research by healthcare professional. The research design makes clearer with which a hypothesis the research can be tested, or to which causation it can be implied.

Usually, the research design that is chosen must be fitting for answering the research question. It also must be proper for the surroundings in which it is used. The different study types for the research are the following (Barbour and Kitzinger 1999):

1.      Systematic review

2.      Cohort studies

3.      Follow-up studies

4.      Non-randomised clinical trials

5.      Pragmatic trials

6.      Case-control studies

7.      Matched case-control studies

8.      Cross-sectional studies

9.      Population studies

10.  Ecological studies

11.  Case reports

11. Choice of outcome measurements

Professionals must pay mach attention when choosing the result and explanatory variables that will be used to test the main hypotheses in a research study. It is essential to use both outcome and explanatory measurements that are as accurate and as valid as possible. This will increase the likelihood of being able to correctly determine the impact of interventions. The main features of accurate outcome measurements are the following (Black 1999):

1.      good face and content validity

2.      good criterion or construct validity

3.      repeatable

4.      good between-observer agreement

5.      responsive to change

Good face and content validity are both essential characteristics of outcome measurements. They ensure that the measurement determines the symptoms and illnesses that are important in clinical terms. Besides, measurements with good criterion are of considerable importance because they measure what they are expected to measure with as much precision as possible. It is also important that measurements have good between-observer agreement and are accurate, or repeatable (Bernard 1995, p. 69).

12. Calculating the Sample Size

Sample size is one of the most important issues to consider when designing a research study. The size of the sample has effect on all aspects of conducting the research and interpreting the outcomes. A research study must be large enough to guarantee the faithful measurement of the results. Simultaneously, it must be small enough so that the research question can be answered completely.

The following issues must be considered when calculating sample size (Babbie 1990):

·         Clinical importance—effect size

·         Variability—spread of the measurements

·         Resource availability—efficiency

·         Subject availability—feasibility of recruitment

·         Statistical power—correctness

·         Ethics—balancing sample size against burden to subjects

13. Study management

The data collection stages must be correctly planned and conducted. The scientific integrity of the study must be maintained throughout the process. It is unethical to conduct a research that is poor. It is also unethical to present poor quality data that clearly will lead to poor quality results.

14. Data Collection

Quantitative research may give rise to particular difficulties about the ethical responsibilities of researchers in relation to dealing with the data collected. Researchers often use questionnaires from large numbers of patients. One instance is a research that set out to document the frequency of gastrointestinal symptoms in the community (Hammersley 1996, p.159). Because of the large sample required to obtain the necessary accuracy in the study, a small proportion of subjects turned out to have a complex of symptoms suggesting the possibility of serious, but until this time unrecognized, gastrointestinal disease (Jones and Tait 1995, pp 67-70). These symptoms were reported: rectal bleeding, changes in bowel habit, persistent abdominal pain, weight loss and difficulty in swallowing. The symptoms were reported by patients responding to structured questionnaires designed to determine the frequency of such symptoms. The individuals had been selected at random from registers held by health authorities and the practitioners had carefully examined the lists of participating patients before contact by post.

The practitioners that were involved in this research study expressed an interesting range of views. Some expressed a convinced belief that information of this kind should be reported without delay “so that appropriate action, perhaps an invitation for the registered patient to consult their general practitioner, might be taken” (Crosland and Jones 1995, p. 486). This, clearly, could be considered as a breaking of obligation of the confidentiality and anonymity promised by the researchers, even when such reporting is possibly to have been in the medical interests of the patient concerned. Autonomy is in conflict with kindness. Some professionals, however, took a completely opposite ethical position, and claimed that patients have a right to decide themselves about whether or not to consult. Although this position can to some degree be countered by arguing that many patients absolutely do not have enough needed information on which to base an informed decision about seeking medical advice, its proposers claimed that patient autonomy and confidentiality of information should have taken priority over uninvited medical intervention (Hammersley 1995, p.245). It is important that these issues are considered and resolved to the satisfaction of the research team, the participating practitioners and the subjects of the research study before the research begins.

15. Sequence for data analysis

Analysing the data and interpreting the outcomes is one of the most exciting stages in a quantitative research study (Bryman and Cramer 1997, p.93). The analysis provides the answers to the study questions. However, this stage is one of the critical stages in the search for truth. Therefore, it is important that the process is undertaken in a scrupulous and considered way. In general, the data analyses should go through the logical steps. First it should be conducting univariate analyses and then the bivariate and the multivariate analyses (Alvesson and Sköldberg 2000, pp 96-8).

16. Research Results

Researchers must protect the sources of research information. Protection is important part of the undertaking of confidentiality and anonymity. It may, however, be that going to excessive amount to keep secret the sources of data makes it impossible for readers of the research report completely to realise the setting in which the research was conducted and to decide whether the results can be applied to their own setting. It is also important for the subject of the research to be able to see the research results before they are published.

Providing results to subjects is very important in clinical settings. For example, in one study on general practitioner referrals of patients with rectal bleeding, 83 per cent of patients said that they would appreciate a copy of the study (Greenwood and Levin 1998, pp 36-42). In another study on patients’ consulting behaviour, almost two-thirds of participants asked for information about the results (Greenwood and Levin 1998, p. 56). This may indicate willingness for more involvement and wish for more information by subjects in some areas of research at least. However, there are logistic difficulties when professionals provide this information. It is difficult for professional to interpret the information when it forms part of a professional report. It is clear that an abbreviated or summary version of the research can be made separately.

The unpleasant results of dissemination of research information for the subjects also need to be considered. Research information sometimes might simply stigmatize certain social groups and create inappropriate stereotypes. Changing research information because of the interests of the lay media may produce a caricature of not only the research results but also the research subjects (Alasuutari 1999, p. 69). Research that has suggestions for increasing the provision of medical services, with resource allocation implications, may create inappropriate expectations in the minds of the subjects and generate subsequent disappointments (Denzin 1989, p.39). Researchers also need to have in mind that future research collaboration is likely to be of great value. Therefore, professionals should remember that the presentation and discussion of information in which judgments of the subjects of research are either explicit or implicit may jeopardize this.

Conclusively, it is important to think carefully about the possibility of over-researching particular groups or individuals. It will be useful for professionals to keep careful records of patients who have been involved to participate in studies, and for practices to do the same. This presents a further reason why general practitioners should always see lists of patients selected from catalogues before they are used for research studies.

17. Nurses are given resuscitation power. Case Study

According to new guidelines to health professionals, nurses are able to decide that a dying patient should not be resuscitated. Until now, only GPs and consultants had authority to decide whether there was any point in making efforts to save a life. In 2007 guidance by the British Medical Association has changed. Now suitably experienced nurses have power to make this important decision (The Daily Mail 2007, p. 1). These new guidelines generated many controversies.

The research questions were as follows: 1) some experts feel that sustained resuscitation efforts can be undignified and often worthless; 2) the survival rate after a patient has a cardiac arrest and receives cardiopulmonary resuscitation is relatively low; 3) nurses only are able to make such decisions – they know more about the personality of the patient; 4) often it is a long and traumatic procedure and is not always successful. The guidelines met oppositions, such as: 1) these senior nurses should be properly qualified and in a position to make these decisions; 2) a person can die because of unqualified decision.

The relationship between theory and practice should receive some attention within the nursing literature. The qualitative data from debriefing interviews with nurses should be gathered. The nursing power to decide whether patients should or should not be resuscitated is being subjected to increasing research.

18. Conclusion

The future certainly belongs to the quantitative research.  Well-entrenched quantitative research is complementary to health problem solving. Quantitative research reflects the current state of medicine today. Ultimately, physicians should learn more and more about qualitative research. Good quantitative research and its results do not necessarily lead to good clinical decisions. They are, however, the necessary foundation of good decisions. These decisions put research results within a context where the patient, the care professional and the conditions and circumstances of health delivery are brought together for optimal success.

Quantitative research in health care generates a set of ethical questions, and some dilemmas. In particular, health care researchers have to be quite aware about their responsibilities to the patients. Little information is at present available about patients’ views of being involved in research of this kind. This would be an important base point for evaluating methods.

Bibliography

Alasuutari, P. (ed.) 1999. Rethinking the Media Audience: The New Agenda. London: Sage.

Alvesson, M. and Sköldberg, K. 2000. Reflexive Methodology: New Vistas for Qualitative Research. London: Sage.

Anderson, J. 1996. Communication Theory: Epistemological Foundations. New York: The Guilford Press.

Atkinson, P. and Coffey, A. 1997. ‘Analysing Documentary Realities, ’ in D. Silverman (ed.) Qualitative Research: Theory, Method, and Practice. London: Sage.

Babbie, E. 1990. Survey Research Methods (2nd edn), Belmont. CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company.

Bailey, K. D. 1994. Methods of Social Research (4th edn). New York: The Free Press.

Barbour, R. S. and Kitzinger, J. (eds) 1999. Developing Focus Group Research: Politics, Theory, and Practice. London: Sage.

Bernard, H. R. 1995. Research Methods in Anthropology: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. Walnut Creek, CA: Alta Mira Press.

Biltereyst, D. 2001. ‘Global News Research and Complex Citizenship: Towards an Agenda for Research on Foreign/International News and Audiences, ’ in S. Hjarvard (ed.) News in a Globalized Society. Gothenburg: Nordicom.

Black, T. R. 1999. Doing Quantitative Research in the Social Sciences. London: Sage.

Brannen, J. (ed.) 1992. Mixing Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Research. Aldershot: Avebury.

Bryman, A. and Cramer, D. 1997. Quantitative Data Analysis with SPSS for Windows.

Creswell, J. W. 1994. Research Design: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Crosland, A. and Jones, R. 1995. Rectal bleeding in the community: prevalence and consultation behaviour. British Medical Journal, 311.

Denzin, N. 1989. The Research Act: A Theoretical Introduction to Sociological Methods (3rd edn), Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Greenwood, D. J. and Levin, M. 1998. Introduction to Action Research: Social Research for Social Change. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Hammersley, M. 1995. The Politics of Social Research. London: Sage.

Hammersley, M. 1996. ‘The Relationship Between Qualitative and Quantitative Research: Paradigm Loyalty Versus Methodological Eclecticism, ’ in J. T. E. Richardson (ed.) Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods for Psychology and the Social Sciences. Leicester: British Psychological Society. London: Routledge.

Jones, R. and Tait, C. 1995. Gastrointestinal side effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the community, British Journal of Clinical Practice, 49.

Neuman, W. L. 1994. Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches (2nd edn). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Punch, K. F. 1998. Introduction to Social Research: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches. London: Sage.

Reason, P. and Bradbury, H. (eds) 2001. Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice. London: Sage.

Sellitz, C., Jahoda, M., Deutsch, M., and Cook, S. 1976. Research Methods in Social Relations. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

Nurses to Have the Power to End a Life. The Daily Mail. October 27, 2007.

 

Should Marijuana Be Legalized?

I.    Introduction

            Marijuana is the name given in the United States to the drug produced from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. The use of cannabis derivatives under such names as hashish, charas, bhang, and ganja is widespread throughout the world. The most active ingredient of the plant derivative is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The potency of this chemical is indicated by the fact that the average street sample of marijuana contains less than .5% THC. Some samples are considerably higher in THC content; thus, effects from the drug vary according to its quality, meaning its THC content.  The flowering parts of the plant contain the greatest amounts of THC (Goode, Pp. 567-575). These are usually dried and smoked, but they may be made into a drink somewhat like tea or blended into various cooking recipes. Somehow, marijuana has been used for some medications but it is not a valid ground to legalize it because it has negative effects to human bodies.

            Moreover, marijuana is still illegal in most places. Under federal law a person can be sentenced to up to one year in jail or a $5000 fine, or both, for simple possession of marijuana. Every year about 400,000 people are arrested for possession; about 80 percent are under age 26.

            Marijuana is being used as legal medical therapy for several conditions. Careful studies have shown that it is effective in treating severe nausea in cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy. Older patients seem to respond less well than younger patients and complain more about side-effects, including feeling “stoned.” Researchers are continuing studies of marijuana’s possible usefulness in reducing pressure within the eye in glaucoma and in treating muscle spasticity.

            The purpose of this present study is to scrutinize whether marijuana should be legalized or not.

II. Background

            Marijuana has been used for thousands of years, both as a medicine and for its intoxicating effects. In the form of tablets, marijuana is frequently prescribed to relieve the nausea and vomiting that often accompany chemotherapy. Its non-medical use, however, is illegal in the United States and most other countries. The penalties for possessing or using marijuana are, in many states, as severe as those imposed for the possession or use of much more potent drugs. Many argue that marijuana is no more harmful than cigarettes and liquor and should be legalized.

            Most marijuana used in United States is smoked—either as cigarettes or in pipes. Its effects vary with its strength, and to a great extent with the state of mind of the user. Typically, a sense of well-being is experienced. In large countries, marijuana is considered as hallucinogen—a drug that produces hallucinations.

            Although marijuana does not produce a physical dependence in the user, there is evidence that it can produce psychological dependence. Research indicates that marijuana has serious effects on the body. It can impair memory, speech, and learning. It exposes the lungs to high levels of tar and to over 150 other chemicals. Many of these can irritate the lining of the lungs, causing inflammation and bronchitis in some cases. Marijuana decreases the production of male and female sex hormones and may cause infertility n some individuals. Pregnant women should refrain from smoking marijuana since it can cross the placenta and affect the fetus. Some authorities believe that the heavy use of marijuana may harm the body’s immune system by impairing the development of monocytes, cells that stimulate antibody production and kill foreign cells. Although no direct cause-and-effect link between found, a person who consistently uses marijuana may be likely to abuse other, stronger drugs. The use of marijuana can be dangerous to a person taking part in any activity in which quick reflexes and clear thinking are necessary.

III.  Discussion

A.    Effects of Marijuana

            Many perceptual and emotional effects follow marijuana smoking. Sensory experience may become more intense; smells are richer, textures feel more sensuous, objects are seen as more beautiful, sounds are more brilliant, and ideas flow more freely, although they may be disjointed. The person may experience an emotional high in which he or she feels joyful, tranquil, and happy. The effects of marijuana, however, are like those of other drugs; they very much depend on the person and the setting. Taken in a pleasant, relaxed social situation, marijuana can be quite unpleasant (Earleywine, pp. 123-156). Also, people who are naturally paranoid, suspicious, or aggressive may become more so under the influence of marijuana; the calm, better-adjusted users are more apt to experience a euphoric high.

            Moreover, most people use marijuana for the altered states it produces. These states are a little easier to control than those produced by other hallucinogenic drugs, unless the dosage is very high. At low to moderate dosages, hallucinations are not present. Instead, the person typically reports of calmness, increased sensory awareness, changes in space and time, and increased appetite, often with a craving for sweets. At higher dosages, the person may experience thought disturbances, rapid emotional changes, a loss of attention, and a sense of panic.

            Marijuana has been one of the most researched drugs in the history of pharmacology, and there is still considerable disagreement about its short-term and long-term effects (Belenko, pp. 34-67). It was made an illicit drug in the United States, and many states have established harsh penalties for those convicted of possession of even small amounts. In the recent years, there has been a move toward decriminalization of marijuana. Although this policy would not legalize the drug, it would establish more appropriate punishments, for example, fines instead of imprisonment for possession of small amounts for personal use.

            The growing consensus of research on marijuana would suggest that it is not a safe drug. Indeed, it is doubtful whether any drug taken frequently by choice is advisable. Many researchers have concluded that smoking marijuana is no more dangerous, and perhaps even less so, than smoking cigarettes or using alcohol. The issue, though, is frequency of use. The literature on chronic users of marijuana—that is, people who use it a lot and over a long period of time—suggests rather strongly that there are serious deficits in some cognitive abilities such as memory. In addition, heavier users experience some undesirable personality changes, problems with sleep, deficits in psychomotor abilities such as driving, and changes in motivational levels that produce apathy and a lack of striving for achievement.

            Finally, there are a number of factors that influence the effect of a particular drug. There are factors associated with the drug, including its purity and the method of its purity and the method of its administration. Subject variables that are important include body weight, metabolic rate, whether or not the person has eaten, general state of health, and previous experience with the drug. In trying to predict how any one person will react to a drug, these factors, and many others, must be taken into account. But there is another important variable that plays a major role in drug reactions, and too often its effects are overlooked. That variable is the user’s expectation of the drug’s effect. Research has shown that the experience many drug users will have is not just a result of the physiological and biochemical changes produced by the drug, but also depends on how they think they are supposed to respond, or how they see others around them responding. These factors must also be considered when evaluating the reasons for altered states of consciousness through drug use.

            a.) Respiratory effects: Because marijuana smoke is deeply inhaled, retained in the lungs, and contains many of the same harmful ingredients as tobacco smoke, users show signs of impaired lung functioning when compared to nonusers. Like tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke contains carcinogenic agents, but since many pot smokers also tobacco, it has been hard to isolate marijuana’s impact on lung cancer. At this point, the evidence is merely suggestive (Earleywine, 2002).

            b.) Immune system:  Animal studies have suggested that marijuana can dampen the body’s resistance to disease, but no studies have been done to confirm or refute this danger in human beings (Earleywine, 2002).

            c.) Mental effects: While there is no evidence that marijuana causes the brain to shrink, it can lead to amotivational syndrome, which researchers define as a mental dulling, emotional blunting, and loss of drive and goal-directedness (Earleywine, 2002).

IV. Conclusion

            In the last decade marijuana dealing has become a multibillion-dollar business, ranking right behind General Motors and Exxon. Throughout the world, marijuana seems to be the fourth most popular mind-altering drug, following caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. However, marijuana use seems to be on the decline nationally, especially among young people in high school and college.

            Different types of marijuana have different percentages of THC. The strength of today’s marijuana is about 10 times greater than the pot used in the late 1990s because of careful cultivation, so the physical and mental effects are also greater. Immediate physical effects include faster heartbeat and pulse rate, bloodshot eyes, and dry mouth and throat.

            At low moderate doses, marijuana acts somewhat like alcohol and some tranquilizers, and like alcohol, the drug takes effects within minutes. Unlike alcohol, marijuana at low doses does not dull sensation but may cause slight alterations in perception, so that it is unsafe to drive a car for as long as 4 to 6 hours after a single joint.

            After the thorough studies, I therefore conclude that marijuana should not be legalized because it has more negative effects than positive. If our nation legalized the use of marijuana, many people including young and old suffer the above mentioned negative effects. On the other hand, the use of marijuana should be case to case basis and should only be used for medications.

Reference:

1.      Belenko, S. R. (2001). Drugs and Drug Policy in America: A Documentary History. Greenwood Press. Westport, CT. Pp. 34-67.

2.      Goode, E. (2000). Marijuana. Atherton. Chicago. Pp. 567-575.

3.      Earleywine, M. (2002). Understanding Marijuana: A New Look at the Scientific Evidence. Oxford University Press. New York. Pp. 123-156.

OUTLINE

I.                  Introduction

II.               Background

III.           Discussion

A.  Effects of marijuana

a.)  Respiratory effects

b.) Immune system

c.)  Mental Effects

IV.           Conclusion

V.                Reference

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