A Qualitative view of Growing up During War

A Qualitative view of Growing up During War

Post your explanation of:


  1. The difference between collecting data using individual interviews and a focus group (e.g., intent, selecting participants, conducting the interview or focus group)
  2. Given the topic you are currently using for your research, would you consider using a focus group for your study? Why or why not?


3.     This week, we begin to explore the actual ‘labor’ of qualitative research – data collection.  While there are many ways to collect qualitative data, such as individual interviews, questionnaires, observational notes, and archival content, we will explore ‘focus groups’.  We will look at the content creation from focus groups and then incorporate the coding process that we practiced in week 5.  Of course, be sure to carefully read and view all of the resources this week, as they will play heavily in the discussion tasks and the next major assignment tasks. A Qualitative view of Growing up During War


4.     Discussion One is due Wednesday.  Here are the required headings:


Interviews vs Focus Groups


My Data Collection


Reflection and Questions



A Qualitative view of Growing up During War

Problem Statement

The question of what it feels like for someone to be born and raised during a decade of war is the focus of the research.  War, as an event, is traumatic in nature and affects all aspects of an individual’s life.  Factors such as education, health, financial and social status, and parental access are all affected by the presence of war (Ghodsee, 2009).  In order to determine the specificity of what it is like to be a child or adolescent either born or raised during a decade of war, a look at various regions and time periods is helpful and will provide a larger pool of qualitative data.  By looking at Goldson’s (1996) conclusions on the effects of war on children throughout the 20th century, it is found that children suffer in extreme ways, but that their futures are often compromised, as they begin life at a disadvantage.  Additionally, the work done by Akbulut-Yuksel (2009) finds multiple layers of effects of war on the generation of German children living during the decade of World War II.  Adverse effects on educational attainment as well as health are the result, with kids in German cities hit the hardest by bombings suffering the most.  Finally, Jensen and Shaw (1993) look at how children may become acclimated to wartime conditions as a self-protective means.  However, this article shows that more research is necessary in order to focus on social awareness, values, and attitudes, as well as how factors such as age, family background, and community strength, may affect children in wartime settings.  Overall, the effects of war are far-reaching and convoluted.  More qualitative work is required to see how war affects children and adolescents and their development.  A Qualitative view of Growing up During War

Key Findings Summary

One of the key findings made clear in the articles is the fact that children are now, more than ever, becoming part of the victims of war in a more direct manner.  War is now waged against civilians, unlike in the past.  The war that has taken place since World War II has become more personal and more focused on disabling entire cities and regions.  Children, therefore, become unwitting victims of war.  Coping strategies are also used by children in wartime, yet more work is needed to see “how similar events with similar psychological and geographic proximity exact dissimilar effects in some persons and some communities, compared to others” (Jensen and Shaw, 1993, pg. 707).  Finally, some of the clearest findings show that factors such as earnings and education are negatively affected by war (Akbulut-Yuksel, 2009).


The gap that may be seen when considering the research is the current lack of methodological research into the effects of war on children in various eras and regions.  It will be necessary going forward for sociologists and other researchers to develop a means of tracking the effects of war in subsequent generations.  The work of Akbulut-Yuksel (2009) was conducted decades after the occurrence of World War II and attempted to explain the specific effects of war as they relate to wages, access to schools and hospitals, etc.  The need for more interviews and other means of measuring the effects of war on children and adolescents is desperately needed.  A next step would perhaps be a focus on creating a uniform means of evaluating the psychological and social state of mind of children in wartime countries.

Purpose Statement

The purpose of the research is to understand better the experience of what it is like for a child and adolescent to be born and raised during a time of war.


War has many effects on those who live in its presence.  Children may be most vulnerable to the consequences of war, as they are the weakest members of society and require many protections that parents may be unable to provide at wartime.  Children may either adapt to wartime situations, or display behavioral issues.  Factors affecting this include age at wartime, exposure to violence, a presence of parents, and more that is TBD. A Qualitative view of Growing up During War


The research will look for phenomena such as significant behavioral issues among children, educational access, and/or achievement, availability of hospitals and/or lack thereof, the presence of parents and/or lack thereof.  Most importantly, the personal thoughts of subjects will be recorded and compared.


This research issue is relevant due to the ongoing presence of war in various regions of the world and its apparent detrimental qualities not only on children but countries and societies as a whole.  By determining how war shapes the lives of young children and adolescents, it may be possible to prevent further damage and attempt to lessen the negative issues.


Biases may be found in the research of this issue by personal assumptions regarding certain wars and conflicts and those groups affect by said wars and conflicts.  For example, the effects of war on children living in Iraq and Afghanistan will vary considerably from the consequences of war on children residing in the U.S. who have parents deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.  Researchers will have to treat all groups studied in an equal manner, especially in ethnographic research.

Author bias may be present due to his military service and deployments in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.  Special care will be made to minimize any bias based on personal opinions and experiences.  If one is made, then balancing opinions may be inserted to level the issues and statements.


The setting of the research should involve various locales that have been affected by the war in different decades.  This includes Europe, during the periods of World War I and World War II, the Middle East, which has been deeply affected by war for centuries, but for the purpose of this research project, we will look at Afghanistan and Iraq as well as Africa.  We will also measure the impact of war on children of American soldiers who are deployed to various conflicts throughout the world to look for patterns. A Qualitative view of Growing up During War

Research Question

How does it feel to be born and raised during a decade of war?


Potential for Social Change

It has been stated many times that to learn about the future; one must study the past.  War has several effects on individuals; the primary effects are felt by those who are fighting on the battlefield and endure the hardships of soldiering through conflict.  Secondary effects are those that change the course of one’s life by direct or indirect outcomes of incursions. Because not all effects are physical and cannot be seen visually, emotional effects may lay dormant for some time before they surface.  If mental health professionals knew more about the feelings that children bear in order to cope with a life exposed to war via the news, social media, web searches, and direct knowledge of family or friends in combat. Then early recognition and early intervention might prove to build emotionally stronger children and in turn stable adults.

Annotated Bibliography

Akbulut-Yuksel, M. (2009). Children of War:  The long-run effects of large-scale physical destruction and warfare on children.  Institute for the Study of Labor, 4407, 1 – 47. 

This is a research article that specifically looks at the effects of World War II on a generation of German children.  It offers a very accurate view of the effects of war on a group of individuals and the long-term consequences of war and physical destruction on particular outcomes, such as educational attainment, health status, and labor market outcomes.  The author uses a dataset to show city-level destruction by bombings, as well as individual survey data collected by the German Socioeconomic Panel.  Severe and long-lasting effects are found on three fronts – human capital formation, health, and labor market outcomes.  All of these detrimental outcomes for children who lived through World War II show exactly how war has the potential to stunt the growth of individuals in many different ways.

Goldson, E.  (1996).  The effects of war on children.  Child Abuse & Neglect, 20, 809 – 819. 

This article serves as a theory article attempting to explain the physical effects of war on children, specifically during the 20th century and during the course of various wars and conflicts.  Goldson specifically looks at the physical effects of war on children, including injury and death caused by weapons, but also the effects of suspended or damaged infrastructure in war-torn countries.  Areas such as health, medicine, education, and social services are affected, leading to disruption in the lives of children, who may be orphaned and forced to live as refugees in their countries.  Goldson also notes that the means by which war waged has changed over the years and now focuses on the battle taking place between soldiers and civilians rather than soldiers against other soldiers.  Therefore, the nature of war has changed and so have the effects of war on individuals, and children especially.

Jensen, P.S. and Shaw, J. (1993).  Children as victims of war: Current knowledge and future research needs.  Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 32, 697 – 708. 

This article is a literature review that offers a look at the “existence, frequency, and social, emotional, and behavioral problems” found in children exposed to war, and also a history of methodological problems in attempts to research such issues in the past.  Jensen and Shaw conclude that a shift from looking at psychopathology and more toward social awareness, values, and attitudes is helpful in order to understand how war-related stressors affect children.  Specifically, this article looks at the effects of war-related parental loss and separation, and how this affects children.  Additionally, the authors indicate that there needs to be more research conducted concerning parental bereavement in the event of a parent killed at wartime.  Behavioral problems may be a result of such loss, but more studies are needed.  A Qualitative view of Growing up During War


Akbulut-Yuksel, M. (2009). Children of War:  The long-run effects of large-scale physical destruction and warfare on children.  Institute for the Study of Labor, 4407, 1 – 47.

Ghodsee, K. (2009). The body of War: Media, ethnicity, and gender in the break-up of Yugoslavia. Canadian Slavonic Papers, 53(2).

Goldson, E.  (1996).  The effects of war on children.  Child Abuse & Neglect, 20, 809 – 819.

Jensen, P.S. and Shaw, J. (1993).  Children as victims of war: Current knowledge and future research needs.  Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 32, 697 – 708.

Simic, O. (2013). Winning the war on war: The decline of armed conflict worldwide/Worlds Apart: Bosnian Lessons for Global Security. International Journal on World Peace, 30 (2).


A Qualitative view of Growing up During War





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