The Impact of Child Labor

What was the purpose of the research?

The purpose of the research was to determine the effect of starting to work as a child laborer on an individual’s adult earnings. The proponent of the study wanted to find out if there was a scientific basis to the assertion that child labor negatively affects the individual’s capacity to earn more money as an adult.

Aside from the need to find out the negative impact of child labor, the proponent of the study also wondered if there was a justification for poor families to compel their children to stop going to school in order to devote time to earning money for the family. This was a legitimate concern because the majority of child laborers are found in developing countries (Emerson & Souza, 2007).

Did the researcher use the qualitative or quantitative method? Why?

The proponents of the study utilized quantitative methods of research. It can be argued that the researchers wanted to utilize a deductive approach. Therefore, they needed to gather relevant and valid data in order to test their theory regarding the impact of child labor.

They decided to use the quantitative approach because the success of the experiment relied on the comparison between earning capabilities. In order to compare and make sense of earning capabilities, the researchers needed to collect data that is measurable and quantifiable using mathematical expressions. Thus, it made sense to use a quantitative approach over a qualitative approach.

How were the data gathered?

Before the researchers were able to gather pertinent data needed for the research, they had to decide to focus on a target group. They chose poor families living in Brazil. They also decided to focus only on males born between 1933 and 1971. These children were living in rural areas. However, the researchers did not gather the data using surveys or questionnaires that they created.

The pertinent data was collected by acquiring it through the utilization of data previously gathered by Brazil’s census bureau. They pinpointed the appropriate timeline for the census based on the research design. As a result, they gathered information based on representative household surveys in the years 1988 and 1996 (Emerson & Souza, 2007).

Is the data collection method appropriate (i. e., is there a better way of gathering the data)?

The researchers utilized the appropriate data collection scheme. The reason for using this type of research design was based in part to the consideration of resources and time available to the researchers (Murray, Linden, & Kendall, 2014).

However, it can be argued that there was an alternative approach in order to enhance the validity of the research outcome. The alternative approach was to conduct the surveys and follow the development of child laborers from age 7 to age 25. However, this approach is not practical based on time and financial constraints.

What were the ethical issues involved with the research?

There are two major ethical issues associated with the research design. First, there was an ethical issue with regard to personal information. It is interesting to note that certain families may not allow the public disclosure of private information.

It seems that poor families have little control with regards to the public disclosure of personal information. The secondary ethical issue was the utilization of data from the Brazilian census bureau. It can be argued that the researchers did not conduct surveys, and they simply utilized the work of others.

What were the findings and/or conclusions of the research?

The proponents of the research discovered that there was a negative impact on the individual’s adult earning if he started working early as a child laborer. This means that the decision to forego education in order to earn money as a child laborer affected the child’s capacity to acquire knowledge and skills needed for higher-income work.

Thus, the researchers were able to say that there was a scientific basis to the claim that child labor is detrimental to the overall economic growth of a nation. However, the researchers also pointed out that the decision of the parents to allow the entry of children into the workforce was due to the economic conditions in Brazil.

Thus, the researchers made the recommendation that the government must lower the cost of education and improve access to credit in order to minimize the need for child laborers in developing countries (Emerson & Souza, 2007).

Why is scholarly research published in academic journals?

Researchers and scientists understand the value of academic journals in terms of the creation of a knowledge system (Cope & Angus, 2009). It is not enough to generate new knowledge, and it is also important to organize the same for easy retrieval and use.

The purpose of easy retrieval is to help validate the research findings (Boismenu, 2004). One of the key functions of academic journals is to develop a mechanism wherein experts in a certain field can make commentaries with regards to the conclusions made on a particular research outcome (Mahon, 2002). In other words, scientific discoveries must be subjected to further scrutiny.

It is important to perpetuate the use of academic journals to publish the findings of scholarly research. Academic journals are seen as effective information dissemination platforms (Sterling, 2009). It is also important to point out that the publication of journals helps preserve important information.

Fellow researchers utilize information gleaned from academic journals and incorporate the same to their review of the literature (Haustein, 2012). As a result, the flow of information is guaranteed. The publication of scholarly research in an academic journal is an indirect acknowledgment that the quest to learn more about a scientific phenomenon does not end with the concluding paragraph in the researcher’s written report.


Boismenu, G. (2002). Scholarly journals in the new digital world. Alberta, Canada: Calgary University Press.

Cope, B., & Angus, P. (2009). The future of the academic journal. Cambridge: Woodhead Publishing.

Emerson, P., & Souza, A. (2007). Is child labor harmful: The impact of working earlier in life on adult earnings. Institute for the Study of Labor, 1(3027), 1-52.

Haustein, S. (2012). Multidimensional journal evaluation. CA: Walter & Kluwer Publishing.

Mahon, B. (2002). Digital preservation. VA: IOS Press.

Murray, J., Linden, R., & Kendall, D. (2014). Sociology in our times. New York: Wadsworth Thomson.

Sterling, C. (2009). Encyclopedia of journalism. CA: Sage Press.

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