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Methodology

The methodology used included primary data collection as well as a secondary method. The primary method was observation of 21 students at the table we set up in the school compound. It also comprised reference to past studies, which were fulfilled. All individuals selected for the study were college students. The study involved taste testing of cookie wafers and Andes Chocolate Mints, both sugar and sugar-free. These sweets were put on a table set up within the school compound. The experiment was conducted within a period of one hour and fifteen minutes. The students were supposed to taste both the snacks that contained sugar and the sugar-free ones, and tell the difference between them.

Discussion

It was noted that a few participants were able to tell a great difference between the sugar and the sugar-free products. Seven out of twenty one participants who tasted the cookie wafers reported a difference while eight out of twenty one participants reported a difference in the chocolate.

The preference of the sugared products by most of the group can be attributed to the fact that sugared products provided the most desired taste that they intended to get. This result is clearly the same for the sugar-free products. The participants viewed  the sugar-free products as sweeter compared to the sugarless foodstuffs because they wanted to have the same desired effect obtained from the sugared products, that is, the sugary taste (Miller and Mendosa, 2003).

The college students were divided into their preferences with the majority noting little or no difference at all between the sugared and sugar-free products. This outcome can be attributed to the fact that college students are inclined to think of the best way owing to which they can acquire the desired taste without the unnecessary calories. Participants of the experiment showed there was no significant difference between the sugar and sugar-free products.

The findings unravel that the size of a group is also important when it comes to performance and accurate data collection. The group in this particular study comprised a number that could give statistically significant data. The group contained students from diverse demographics to reflect a typical society. Though the demographic groups represent the typical society, the sample size used in the field study is too small to be an accurate depiction of the entire country. Given the small sample size, it is not possible to ascertain whether the records are indicative of the national trend. Even so, they provide an important point of view about the understanding of the research question (Thompson and Carpender, 2009).

The main advantage of this methodology was that it provided a direct access to the sought phenomena. It revealed the people’s need to identify the relationship between sugar-free products and taste. It also provided a less rigid and structured method of data collection as one was able to self-report on what actually happened. One more positive achievement was a permanent record of all the observations during the field experiment. This has provided a means of reference to identify other issues that affect the research.

Despite its obvious benefits, the methodology had various shortcomings

Firstly, a lot more information could be got from questionnaires seeking to establish options of different people if the choices were the same as above. Secondly, demographic factors, such as race and family background, should have been considered as well. It has been argued that individuals from the Black and Hispanic communities consume much more sugar due to high activity rates. Sportsmen and women have also been defined to be high consumers of sugar because of their activity levels. However, these considerations should depend on backgrounds and underlying factors. It is arguable that failure to consume breakfast or lunch may have contributed to consumption patterns. In addition, anticipation of a lighter meal or heavier meal during the experiment may have been a determinant of whether one would consume more or less sugared products (Gittleman, 1996).

A fundamental potential weakness in this methodology is that it is inclined to subjective bias on the part of the observer, consequently, undermining the validity and reliability of the collected data. This can make the researcher record false observational results based on what one wanted to see, what one thought they saw, what one expected to see, and not what actually happened. Another potential weakness is the so-called observer effect; this refers to the way the subjects of the observation may be influenced to act differently from their natural reactions due to the presence of an observer. In order to avoid or minimize this, I tried to be as unobtrusive as possible not to interfere with the survey groups without a necessary reason. 

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