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Asthmatack



The Research Question we will pursue for this guided research:

Do latex particles effect asthma or, what effect, if any, do latex particles have on asthma?

So how did we come up this this research question?

Science depends on several assumptions about our universe; such as the universe has regular patterns that human beings can comprehend. Theories are the tentative explanations of our understanding of these patterns and how phenomena may operate in the universe. The pursuit of understanding requires that the researcher acquire and foster certain attitudes; such as questioning, disciplined curiosity, open-mindedness, with-holding judgment, respect for evidence balanced with skepticism, intellectual honesty, a sense of responsibility, and an understanding of one's competence and limitations.

Before planning an investigation, the researcher first recognizes a question or a problem to be studied. Although questions need not be derived from a theory, theories often guide researchers in predicting events or outcomes of research which ultimately support or deny the explanation. You have spent time investigating the concentration of particulates in the atmosphere and you are ready to investigate a problem in a more formal manner. Questions about observable health effects that are possibly related to latex particles are the basis of our work.

Many doctors are willing to accept the possibility that latex in the atmosphere can cause allergies because they have already seen allergic reactions in hospitals among people who breathe in the dust from latex gloves and medical equipment. Is it a possibility that latex has a direct link to the increasing number of asthma attacks?

On the roof of Childrenís Mercy Hospital, Dr. Jay Portnoy, the chief of allergy and asthma at the hospital, may be finding an explanation for why asthma cases are multiplying around the world. Mixed among the pollen grains, mold spores and articles of sand he counts under a microscope are ragged black specks. He just assumed they were bits of soot. (Ash that results from burning). Now there is evidence that these specks are something more Ė tiny fragments of rubber from tires, created by the wear and tear of ordinary driving.


Latex particles in the air have become so much of a concern that along with pollen and mold counts; latex particle levels are now being reported on local weathercasts.

Years ago, the EPA had wondered whether tires might cause some air hazard. The agency tested tires, but didnít find that they released particles small enough to be inhaled. But this may be because the tires tested were bias-ply, not radial tires.

There arenít a lot of easy answers to the problem if latex particles are adding to the suffering caused by asthma. We hope that the particles arenít the problem, letís try to find out if people who live where there are higher levels of latex particles in the air are more likely to have asthma and then, more likely to have asthma attacks more often.




As you have reviewed the information and worked on measuring particulates you may have come up with some of your own ideas for research. Your ideas should be added to this growing list of ideas. These ideas can grow into additional research questions. Click on links to read additional research areas submitted by others, or respond to a previous research question posted here.

You may type a new research idea and your comments in the boxes below.

RESEARCH IDEAS (READ, SUBMIT, AND COMMENT)


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    Formalizing your Research Question

    Your research question should evolve as you go through the research process. It is in the center of the V-diagram so that as you take each step of the process, you will revisit your question. This will focus your work, but it will also help you evaluate whether your question goes to the heart of what you want to know. The ideal question is one that will yield the most relevant and reliable information with the least expense and effort. To avoid designing experiments around uncertain or vague research questions, continue to gather as much information as possible, Background Information as a part of this guided research. This is usually is accomplished through library research by consulting the card catalog and any available journals or abstracts in the field of interest. Internet searches are also valuable but as always, evaluate the source of the information. Anyone who does not bother to review previous literature runs the risk of needlessly duplicating effort or mistakes. After you have done your information search you should revisit your research question and determine if changes need to be made.

    The Research we will pursue for this guided research:

    Do latex particles effect asthma or, what effect, if any, do latex particles have on asthma?

    Notice that this is in the form of a statement. It makes the prediction of what we expect to observe, if our model is right!

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