The Peculiarities Of Gay Adoption And Fostering

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An appropriate research methodology is vital in finding answers to the research question being investigated (Kumar, 2014). Direct research with LGBT prospective adoptive and foster parents and those who have already been through the process was first considered. However, as engaging this population in research is often challenging (Cossar and Neil 2010) a systematic literature review was undertaken. The literature reviewed systematically seeks to summarise and make sense of a body of research and present an analysis; this collects all the information from different sources into one place (Aveyard, 2014; Kiteley and Stogdon, 2014) making it easy for practitioners to access. According to Ganeshkumar and Gopalakrishnan (2013), systematic reviews uses clear methods which reduce predisposition, improve the reliability and precision of the conclusions and increase the accuracy of the research findings. However, Hopayian (2001) maintained that findings are hardly explicit, involves cautious evaluation and interpretation, so professional proficiency and the results need to be incorporated with the client’s preferences.

This provided me with the opportunity to analyse all the data available on the different interventions and examine the evidence base for this topic. As Creswell explains, qualitative research allows a complex issue to be explored when there are ‘silenced voices’ (2007:39) to be heard. Discussion papers were included but their findings were not given as much weight as qualitative research, given that they did not fulfil the aims of the question as well as qualitative research. The research critically synthesis findings from the data and rank them according to the evidence which best answers the research question. Wright et al (2007) orate that systematic review is useful in synthesising results from different peer-reviewed studies instead of depending on findings from one research. Discussion papers and opinion pieces were also taken into consideration for background understanding of the issue but were not included in the findings.

According to Ganeshkumar and Gopalakrishnan (2013), systematic reviews use clear methods which limit bias, improves dependability and accuracy of the conclusions and increases the accuracy of the research findings. However, Hopayian (2001) maintained that findings are hardly unequivocal, involves cautious evaluation and interpretation, so professional expertise and the results need to be integrated with the client’s preferences.


Firstly, the literature was selected transparently and systematically (Kumar 2011). Next, the literature was scrutinised for relevance and quality using separate analytical tools depending on whether quantitative or qualitative data is being examined. This is because Spencer et al (2003) posit that qualitative research should be examined under its terms. According to DeFranzo (2018), a qualitative study is mainly exploratory study, used to understand the principal motives, motivation and thoughts. Also, it offers a perceptive of the problem. Denscombe (2008) argued that qualitative study is based on a small number of cases. Noticeably, it raises the question of how to specify it can be to other cases. Also, qualitative research is criticised for being overly simplified in the explanation.

The hierarchy of evidence recommended by Evans (2003:79) to analyse the appropriateness of intervention will be used as this accepts that different forms of research have valid contributions to make to systematic research. This will determine the weight given to different types of research in the discussion of findings. A thematic analysis will be utilised in identifying themes and patterns of connotation across collected information about the research question (Clarke and Braun, 2013). One of the strengths of qualitative research is that qualitative study is appropriate for circumstances where detailed understanding is needed, and there are richness and detail to data since it supports detailed understanding of the situation under investigation (Merriam and Tisdell, 2015).


Kiteley and Stogdon (2014) note that identifying good search criteria, search resources such as databases, and access to and evaluation of the relevant material is important to a good literature review. Therefore, journals that are highly relevant to adoption and fostering or social work practice such as Adoption and Fostering, Adoption Quarterly and

British Journal of Social Work was hand searched for relevant articles to ensure that articles are not missed (Aveyard, 2010). The initial stage was to search EBSCOhost platform which has a combination of databases and provides access to several databases such as MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Academic Search Premier, CINAHL Plus with full text, Education Research Complete, Psychology and Behavioural Sciences Collection, Open Dissertation, Business Source Premier, Regional Business News, PsycARTICLES, and Humanities International Complete. Other databases searched include Taylor and Francis Online, Sage Journals, and Willey Online Library. Noyes et al (2008) highlight that qualitative data can be hard to retrieve through electronic searches because it is often hidden in bigger pieces of research, therefore, the reference list of articles already obtained will also be searched for other relevant articles.

The inventory also took into consideration mainstream social work journals that are not limited to specific fields of social work practice but are broad in their orientation and address a wide range of topics. The study considered all full articles and book reviews on LGBT-related adoption and fostering content. Editorials and other short text were not included in the analysis.

Relevant contributions were identified employing a keyword search including the following keywords: gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, LGBT, adoption, fostering, homosexual. Research Guides (2019) recommended that a literature search should be extensively conducted without any language barrier. Boolean operant and truncations were applied which permits the combination of keywords in a way to expand or narrow the search results (Fink, 2010). These search terms were applied simply to the Title and Abstract to limit the number of hits to a reviewable target (Aveyard 2010). However, as this yield very limited research alternative search terms were applied such as queer, sexual orientation, homosexuality, gender identity, heterosexism, heteronormativity, homophobia, cisgender, gender normativity and coming out. This search demonstrates the shortage of publications on these matters available to social workers. It was apparent how with this scarcity, a practice can become oversimplified.

Additionally, a countercheck hand search through all journal issues was carried out. All the contributions identified utilizing the hand search had been previously identified also through the keyword search. Access to the Bodleian Library has been obtained for this research as this provides premium access to journals and books published within the United Kingdom. The search was carried out after gaining access to The British Library and other local libraries database due to none access to the university library resources. Interlibrary loans were requested for journals that I did not have direct access to.

The Adoption and Children Act of 2002 served as a symbolic indicator of statutory recognition within the adoption and fostering contexts within the UK, however, the geographical parameters of the study include researches from the United States of America and Europe.

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The decision to study both adopters and foster parents was made because both required assessment by professionals; similar issues could be examined. Journals were coded and analysed thematically. Data were gathered and analysed concurrently, aided using memos which highlighted emerging themes, relevant theoretical ideas or anomalies (Glaser and Strauss, 1967). Focused coding was used to identify the most analytical significant codes. To discover themes and subthemes, I then examined the codes concerning one another. The constant comparative method was applied throughout to ensure that all the relevant meaning units and themes were identified, including opposing or disconfirming themes.

An evidence report tool known as the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis (PRISMA, 2009) was utilised to provide a succinct and clear understanding of the systematic search as suggested by Stovold et al (2014).

Data analysis

Ngulube (2015) posits that the main purpose of qualitative data analysis is to create meaning and make sense of the collected data. For this dissertation, a thematic analysis which is widely used in qualitative studies to identify themes and patterns of connotation across collected information about the research question will be utilised (Clarke and Braun, 2013). According to Braun and Clarke (2006) thematic analysis is a technique used to identify, analyse, organise, describe and report themes found in the collected information. Nowell et al. (2017) stated that thematic analysis has not received the same appreciation as phenomenology and grounded theory. However, Braun and Clarke (2006) maintained that thematic analysis must be the foundational technique of data analysis in a qualitative study because it offers fundamental skills for various methods of qualitative analysis. Also, Holloway and Todres upheld that thematic analysis is a method used by researchers in data analysis and not a separate method. Other authors, however, argued that thematic analysis ought to be measured as a method (Braun and Clarke, 2006; King, 2004). Nowell et al. (2017) argued that thematic analysis is a method of a qualitative study which can be broadly utilised in different study query and epistemologies. Thematic analysis is used to organise and summarise findings from a huge, various form of study (Pope, Mays and Popay, 2007).

While thematic analysis offers a more flexible and valuable research device, which provides detailed and robust, yet the complex account of data (Nowell et al., 2017). However, it can be argued that the flexibility that thematic analysis offers can result in discrepancy and lack of consistency when developing themes derived from the study data (Holloway and Todres, 2003). However, King (2004) argued that consistency can be achieved by taking a well-organised method in handling the information to produce a clear and controlled data.

Also, for the credibility and reliability of this dissertation, the author used all applicable assessment tools such as PRISMA flow chart and matrices to improve data analysis and make the analysis more controllable (Verdinelli and Scagnoli, 2013). Also, Matrice form helped to appraise the articles separately by identifying their strengths, weaknesses, findings and implication for practice. there is much debate about how qualitative research is analysed and authors disagree about key criteria for assessment because the findings of qualitative research are often subjective (Popay et al 1998; Thomas et al 2008; Dixon-Woods et al 2004).

Spencer et al (2003:22-28) have created a framework for analysing qualitative research from examining the current research on the topic. Qualitative research derives from a wide range of paradigms and ontological and epistemological assumptions and this is evident in the types of literature discussed above. However, these authors argue that this approach is broad enough to encompass all these research approaches and therefore it will be adopted in this literature review.

Evans' (2003) hierarchy of evidence will be used to determine the weight given to each research article in the discussion of these findings. A simplified method for synthesising the literature will be adopted because such varied research methods are being examined (Aveyard 2010). An approach such as meta-ethnography (Noblit and Hare 1988; cited in CRD 2008) would not be appropriate as both quantitative and qualitative research need to be examined. Parallel synthesis would also be biased because most of the literature is qualitative. Using the findings from this research to then interpret the quantitative data as described in Noyes et al (2008) would be inaccurate.

The first stage of Aveyard (2010)'s synthesis will be a meta-summary of the content of the research examined. The next step is to compare the results of the study by assigning codes to the results or findings section of each paper. After this theme will be constructed from these codes. They will be re-examined to check the appropriateness of the codes. When synthesising these themes in the findings the weight of the evidence contributed by different papers will also be considered (Rutter and Francis 2010).

Ethical Consideration

Researching social work involves a robust acknowledgement of ethics and values. Therefore, it is expected of all empirical research in social work to obtain ethical clearance. So, to produce an unbiased review of literature, the research will ensure that peer-reviewed articles that obtained ethical approval for the study will be used for this dissertation. All communication regarding this project will be done in honesty and transparency to ensure the quality and truthfulness of the dissertation. Also, information's contained in the articles reviewed will be truthfully presented in the dissertation and the author will ensure that any preconceived thoughts will not reflect in the dissertation. A misleading and false representation of primary articles result will be avoided.

Also, the author will thoroughly adhere to the code of ethical practice of the University of Greenwich by acknowledging the works of other authors utilised in this dissertation by using Harvard referencing style according to the dissertation handbook. Wager and Wiffen (2011) supported this by reinforcing that other author's work must be presented justly and truthfully and referenced properly.

The author will ensure that offensive, biased and other unacceptable languages will be avoided in this piece of work. Also, an adequate level of confidentiality of primary research data reviewed will be protected. This is acknowledged as good practice by the Data Protection Act (1988) and the Research Ethics Committee. Also, Kaiser (2009) highlighted that maintaining confidentiality spans beyond upholding participants anonymity, to non-disclosure of personal information which may disclose their identity.

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