Survey methods and aging research in an arab sociocultural context--a case study from beirut, Lebanon.
ABSTRACT Objectives. In Arab countries, the proportion of older adults is rapidly increasing, highlighting the need to conduct research on factors that influence aging. We describe the context-specific challenges faced and the solutions negotiated during the conduct of a survey study on family relations and aging in Greater Beirut, Lebanon. Method. Drawing on the experience of a recently completed survey study, we reflect on the context-specific challenges faced and the solutions negotiated during the phases of questionnaire construction, interviewer training, sampling, and participant recruitment as a means to contribute to the growing area of cross-cultural survey research. RESULTS: The social context of family relations influenced the nature of questions that can be included to obtain valid information. The unavailability of demographic data and the presence of cultural norms that promote deference to older adults also presented methodological challenges to the sampling and recruitment of older adults. Discussion. We provided illustrative examples on the importance of learning about a country's social and cultural contexts, and the necessity of exercising flexibility in decision making to ensure the collection of valid data and the successful completion of the study. Lessons learned inform elements of the research process in an Arab country, as well as bring to light unusual, yet generalizable, circumstances that will inform experiences in other cultural settings.
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ABSTRACT: Purpose of the Study: Social relations are a key aspect of aging and the life course. In this paper, we trace the scientific origins of the study of social relations, focusing in particular on research grounded in the convoy model. We first briefly review and critique influential historical studies to illustrate how the scientific study of social relations developed. Next, we highlight early and current findings grounded in the convoy model that have provided key insights into theory, method, policy, and practice in the study of aging. Early social relations research, while influential, lacked the combined approach of theoretical grounding and methodological rigor. Nevertheless, previous research findings, especially from anthropology, suggested the importance of social relations in the achievement of positive outcomes. Considering both life span and life course perspectives and grounded in a multidisciplinary perspective, the convoy model was developed to unify and consolidate scattered evidence while at the same time directing future empirical and applied research. Early findings are summarized, current evidence presented, and future directions projected. The convoy model has provided a useful framework in the study of aging, especially for understanding predictors and consequences of social relations across the life course.The Gerontologist 10/2013; DOI:10.1093/geront/gnt118 · 2.48 Impact Factor