The reason why I am going to use questionnaires in my investigation is because I want to gain the views of people on the issue of Euthanasia. Before I did my questionnaire I did a pilot study; from this I found out that some of my questions were worded slightly bias and I used this to change my questionnaire so I worded the questions so they wasn't bias and therefore this will improve my questionnaire so that the results are more reliable. I am going to use this with future research such as my interviews so I word the questions so they are not bias and my body language doesn't favour either result.
In my pilot study I used both open and closed questions, from this I realised that open questions produce much more reliable results as they allow the respondent to give their own opinion without a bias sounding question, where as a closed question has to have a slight bit of bias because you have to side them one way to ask if the respondent agrees of disagrees. I had more concerns about the closed questions than the open questions as they can seem bias and influence people's answers.
I gave my questionnaires to 40 people of all ages, genders, religions, and from all kinds of cultures. This is important as it makes my results more representative of the whole MK population; I think that my results are quite representative of the whole MK, just not a very large number of people.
I choose to use a quota sample as this will be best representative of the whole MK population. A disadvantage of this is that it takes longer to plan this method and distribute to all the people; however this will make my research more accurate as it is more representative of the whole MK population. My questionnaires give both qualitative and quantitative data. One advantage of quantitative data is that all the data can be shown visually, like in a graph or a table, so it is easier to read and present. Another advantage of this is that it is more accurate and gives exacted values and is therefore more precise. A disadvantage of this is that the results are limited as they provide numerical descriptions rather than detailed narrative and generally provide less elaborate accounts of human perception. One advantage of qualitative data is that it provides depth and detail; this is because it looks deeper than analysing ranks and counts by recording attitudes, feelings and behaviours. Another positive of this is that it creates openness; this is because it encourages people to expand on their responses and can open up new topic areas not initially considered. One negative of this is that there is usually fewer people studied; the collection of qualitative data is generally more time consuming that quantitative data collection and therefore unless time, and budget allows it is generally necessary to include a smaller sample size.
I collected in my data by going to the person I gave it to and collect it. This helped because it meant that I was able o ensure that questionnaires were completed and I got a 100% return rate.
Quick, easy and efficient way of collecting information.
You can gain the views of lots of different people and use this information to answer your key questions and your hypothesis.
By using adults you can gain a representative sample.
In theory asking 40 people could deliver the approximate results to asking 400.
As I gained quantities I can analyse the data and make conclusions based on the information.
You can also look out for different/strange results.
Not a very large sample size, however this sample was very representative. I considered both genders when choosing my sample. I also considered the religion of my sample when choosing this also.
I had no people ask me to explain my questions or that didn't understand my questions. From the questionnaires it seems that everybody understood the questions and answered them correctly. I believe that I didn't word any questions that influence the answers.
I decide to use interviews in my research to collect information as; this allows me to collect people's opinions first hand. This will make my research more accurate and reliable and give me more detailed information to work with, and this will allow for more precise and interesting results.
I will be doing 5 interviews. The first will be with a 16 year old male, with no religion, the second will be with a 55 year old Christian male, the third will be a 38 year old Hindu female, the fourth interview will be with a 24 year old Muslim male, and the final interview will be with a 74 year old female, with no religion. I think that interviewing these 5 people of varied ages, gender, and religion will give me a good representation of the general public.
When I do my interviews I will ask questions relevant to my 5 key questions, so they can be answered and ultimately try to find out whether the people believe my hypothesis is correct or incorrect. I will also ask some questions which are similar to the ones in my questionnaires, however because it is an interview I will be able to get much more detailed answers. This is an advantage of interviewing. I will be trying to ask questions to find out whether people believe age, gender, and religion has an impact on people's thoughts about Euthanasia. I will also ask questions regarding how they think Euthanasia should be carried out if it was legalized. I will do my best to make my interviewee feel as comfortable as possible and will try not to control the interview too much, and will let the person speak as freely as possible.
There were two methods of noting down the information I collected from the interviews, I could have written it using pen and paper, or use a Dictaphone. I have chosen to use a Dictaphone, this is because I feel if I was using pen and paper I would have to keep slowing the person down so I could finish writing, therefore the persons answer would not flow and I may not get all the information. The only disadvantage of this method is that the person may feel slightly conscious that I am recoding everything that they say which could make them nervous and therefore not give their whole opinion. From this information I have decided that a Dictaphone is the most valid method for my interviews, this is because I will not miss anything said and will write up this information later.
I will be using this information in tables and graphs. By doing these interviews I will have a much more detailed and broader idea of what people from different backgrounds think and some of the beliefs behind these beliefs.
It is a good method of gaining additional information in more depth.
You are able to structure the interview around your key questions.
Useful to question a person's beliefs on a moral issue as you might be able to identify what has influenced their opinions.
It is as up-to-date as you can get and therefore is extremely valid.
The person that I interviewed might have a view that does not match the general opinion of the public.
The person I asked might not fully understand the topic that I was asking them about and therefore might be making uniformed judgements.
There might be issues relating to the influence that I had in collecting the information. If I had an opinion about a topic then there is a possibility that I might have influenced the answers that I received.
The newspapers that I used were mainly the Guardian and the Independent. I found these papers were both very useful and I was able to use them to my advantage as they both had up-to-date accurate information concerning Euthanasia. They also gave both sides of the arguments. I felt as though I could trust the information because neither of them are Tabloid, therefore the information would not have been exaggerated to make the subject more entertaining or provide "gossip" for the readers. I could be quite sure that the information I was receiving was authentic.
The main internet site I used was BBC. I used this because it had very reliable and accurate information and gave both sides of the argument, this helps to make my coursework very valid. The BBC site also has a wide range of topics to offer concerning Euthanasia ranging from religious views, articles about patients or people experiencing the choice of Euthanasia, arguments for and against, types of Euthanasia and the laws and regulations surrounding it at the time. As well as this I needed more information concerning different areas of Euthanasia. I used Google to search for these other websites; websites which I found to be most useful and accurate were; www.Euthanasia.com, www.bbc.co.uk, www.dignityindying.org.uk, www.carenotkilling.org.uk. I used these sites when I was looking for a specific piece of information about; pressure groups, religious views, and more. For example, if I was looking for some information on Jack Kevorkian, I could use these websites for information. A problem I encountered whilst using websites was that sometimes the information was not accurate. I had to be very careful when using the internet to make sure that I didn't use information that was incorrect in my coursework. I did this by finding a piece of information that was important to my project and then to find out whether it was authentic I checked on at least two other websites to make sure they were all saying the same thing. This therefore made the information I found suitable for my project as well as reliable.
The books which I used during my secondary research were mainly school text books. I used these because I thought if they were used by teachers and bought by the school the information in them must be very accurate and therefore I would find it useful in my project and make my coursework reliable. Another reason I used text books from school was because they had been used by people previously to help them with this coursework, if they had been helpful to them, they would undoubtedly be helpful to me.
During my secondary research I looked for information that concerned my key questions and hypothesis. I had to look for information which was suitable. I found that having so many different forms of secondary research I was able to find the exact information I needed. It also made it very easy to check whether the information was accurate which therefore made my coursework reliable. I made sure that all the information I used was valid and up-to-date. If I found information that was not either of these things then I didn't use it. I did this because I was to make my project as accurate as I possibly can.
Books and newspapers are professional information and therefore it is more likely to be accurate. It will have most probably been written by someone who has done lots of research. You don't have the time to collect this amount of information and therefore it is useful if someone can do it for you.
There is lots of information to look at and therefore you can investigate many of issues. You can answer all your key questions and it will also give you other areas that you can investigate.
The internet is extremely quick resource and saves a great deal of time.
You can access information from all over the world and therefore you can find different case studies.
Some of the information might have been out of date.
The person that wrote the extract might have strong views and therefore the information might be one sided.
There might be factual errors.
The author might have carefully selected the information and left things out and therefore this makes it less reliable.
The internet is full of extremely one-sided information. People with extreme views are more likely to post information on the internet.
It is very difficult to check the accuracy of the information and therefore you have to be careful with the information that you have collected.
With the internet it is often very difficult to check the author and whether he or she knows what they are talking about.
I believe that all the information I have collected during my research will be imperative in making sure that my coursework is as good, accurate and interesting as it can be. My questionnaires give me a range of direct, harsh results from a range of people and the interviews give me first hand, more detailed answers to work with. The secondary research has given me a large amount of information ranging from case studies to the politics involved in Euthanasia. I have lots of information to analyse and discuss. All my research methods will be extremely helpful to me coming to a conclusion on my hypothesis.
I have followed my methodology carefully and have carried out all the methods of testing society about their views on Euthanasia. During this part of my coursework I will be discussing and presenting all the results I have gathered through my research. Primary research being my questionnaires which I handed out and the interviews I conducted. Also I will be presenting results from my secondary research (books, internet, newspapers etc). I will be answering all of my key questions which will hopefully allow me to finally answer my hypothesis. I will be explaining why my key questions and research methods were so important in answering my hypothesis and what I found from them.
Hypothesis - The public believe Euthanasia should become legal in The UK.
Key Question 1 - What are the arguments for and against Euthanasia?
Why is this question important?
This question is important to my coursework because it is so relevant. The points I listed for and against Euthanasia will be the reasons behind whether society believes Euthanasia should be legal in the UK or not.
* Everyone has the right to die
This point is a major argument for Euthanasia. Anyone has the power to commit suicide; however people who are so ill that they cannot move so they can commit suicide. This is wrong because these people have a much more justified reason for wanting to end their life; especially if they are unable to do the things they want to and control their body. Also if they are in considerable pain; a trained nurse, doctor or even a friend or family member could help them to end their life peacefully and how they want.
A man who believes strongly in the right to die is Jack Kevorkian, a controversial American Pathologist. He had assisted many people in dying and was trialled various times for assisting people in suicide. Jack Kevorkian was charged with second-degree homicide and also for the delivery of a controlled substance (administering a lethal injection) on March 26th, 1999. Trials prior to this were involving a changing law on assisted suicide however the law on homicide is very clear and straight forward. Kevorkian proceeded through the trial with no representation after he discharged his attorneys and was found guilty.
I am undecided on whether Jack Kevorkian was right to be charged. I believe that as individuals we are in control of our own lives and should be able to decide if we die when faced with a terminal illness. Kevorkian thought it was the humane thing to do, and I could agree with him to an extent. However, I do not believe he thought of the risks involved and it seems towards the end of his life it became more about proving a point rather than helping people. I believe if someone wishes to end their life because of illness, it should be done respectfully and in a controlled environment where the person will feel no pain and it can be made sure that it is what they want.
* Unbearable Pain
This is another common reason and the majority of people believe it is the most common reason for people requesting Euthanasia. Even with all the medical advances in pain relief it is unavoidable that people with a terminal illness can still suffer from breathlessness, paralysis, nausea and vomiting, incontinence, difficulty in swallowing and many other symptoms which are untreatable. These can severely damage quality of life, and without the quality of life which a person deems acceptable some would rather die. People who are for Euthanasia do not believe anyone can commit Euthanasia, mainly the terminally ill. In many cases the person is going to die anyway, so surely putting them through insufferable pain is cruel and they should be able to choose when to end their life.
During one of my interviews with Ruth Stockdale a very interesting point was put forward. She suggested that there are very strong links between a vet putting an animal down and Euthanasia. She said: "My cat Willow had cancer in her leg and found it unbearable to walk. She had already had an operation on her foot to correct it and it seemed to work for a couple of months but then she began to struggle again. We took her back to the vet and they said she could have another operation however the cancer was never going to go away. We felt it was cruel to put her through more pain and have another operation for it just to get worse. She was 13 years old and lived a happy life with my family and we finally decided to have her put down. I believe this is nearly, if not the same as Euthanasia but one is legal and the other isn't" I agree with her because we end animal's lives because they are in too much pain, have a terminal illness or the owner believes they wish to die. The only difference between this and Euthanasia is that the animal itself is not asking for their life to end. However the reasons for ending life could be the same.
* No person should be made to stay alive against their own will
No one should be forced to stay in a county where they are made to stay alive. In this instance, Diane Pretty's case can be brought up. Diana Pretty was diagnosed with Motor Neurone disease which is a fatal condition. This disease gradually progresses through the body to cause muscle damage and wastage. While suffering from this disease she made a wish, she wanted to die through Euthanasia so she could be peaceful and say goodbye to her family while she was still able to. However, for her to be able to do this she had to fight her case in court. Her case was denied in high court and then again later in the European court in Strasbourg. Diane Pretty died just a little over a week later.
In my opinion Diane Pretty had the right to die in the way she wanted, surrounded by people that loved her. Her family must feel upset that she was not allowed to do so, and they had to see her suffer which she stressed she did not want. Diane Pretty was eventually going to die and I believe as long as she didn't mind her life being shortened, then it should be her choice.
Another point which I feel is important is that if someone is living on a ventilator then another person is able to "pull the plug". I believe this is no different to Euthanasia because it is one person ending another person's suffering. However, someone not on a ventilator yet undergoing unbearable amounts of pain is not allowed to have someone end their life for them. Surely this is wrong.
* People who are not terminally ill could end up with Euthanasia
Even if a doctor gives a patient a certain amount of time to live, all physicians are of the same opinion that it is impossible to predict a person's life expectancy. Medicine advances every day and a cure may be found for a patients illness, so what can be defined as terminally ill?
Also, no matter how clear a law is people will find grey areas. If Euthanasia was legalized in the UK then surely some people would try to use this for their own benefit. For example, someone could claim that a family member wished to die through Euthanasia when in fact they have said nothing of the sort. If the patient is incapable of making their wishes known then they could be killed, therefore benefiting the person who made the claim (e.g. money, convenience of not having the care for the person anymore, ect).
* Euthanasia rejects life and its importance
There are only two countries in the world to have made Euthanasia legal. There is only one circumstance when taking a life can be justified. This is self defence. Self defence can be justified because an innocent life is being saved, either yours or another person. Euthanasia only takes a life, no one is saved. This is the reason for societies considering Euthanasia a crime. Many people also believe that whatever the circumstance it is better to be alive than dead. It can also be argued that these people have never been in the position of having a terminal illness, so do not understand the pain, suffering a torment of seeing yourself deteriorate. It is a physician's job to preserve a patient's life, not end it. In 1806 Dr Christoph Hufeland said that: "The physician should and may do nothing else but preserve life. "Whether it is valuable or not, that is none of his business. If he once permits such considerations to influence his actions, the doctor will become the most dangerous man in the state." This quotation is used by Pro-Life supporters as a motto, believing that it is a physicians job to keep a person living as long as possible, not letting them die if there is something which can be done to prolong their life.
Also, a lot of religions teach that your life is a gift and by rejecting it you are insulting god. This is why many religious people are against Euthanasia.
* Euthanasia is way for the NHS to limit costs
The NHS may choose to end a patient's life instead of extending it when it comes to the patient suffering great pain. They could persuade the patient to sign papers which approves their death when they are not fully aware that there may be ways to save them. The NHS may do this to save money. A senior at the Discovery Institute called Wesley J Smith said that: "drugs used in assisted suicide cost only about $40, but that it could take $40,000 to treat a patient properly so that they don't want the "choice" of assisted suicide." So surely it needs to be considered that the NHS may choose to end a person's life in order to avoid these costs.
As you can see there are many strong opinions and good reasons for and against Euthanasia. However, I have found that more people in society agree with Euthanasia rather than disagree with it. Here is a graph from my questionnaires which stresses this point further.
As you can see the question asked in my questionnaire was 'Do you agree with Euthanasia?' Out of the 40 questionnaires which I handed out (to people of varying age, gender and religion) 29 people agreed with Euthanasia, 10 people disagreed and 1 person had no opinion on the subject. Of course this is not the whole of society however because of the diverse group of people I handed my questionnaires to it gives us a very good idea of what society's opinion is on the moral issue of Euthanasia. Some of these people agreed more than others.
When I asked if the people would help a loved one commit Euthanasia some people answered no, responding with such things as "It is against my religion. I feel that no matter how awful your life is, you should be grateful to god for it" and "Medicine has advanced so much in the past few years, there may one day be a cure for them." However the majority of people said they would and wrote this "I couldn't bear to see someone I love suffer" and "It is the only humane thing to do. If I loved someone I would respect their wishes." Every persons answer was very similar to these two.
Overall I believe that the reason for Euthanasia out way the reasons against it. I believe that no matter how advanced medicine is there is no way to stop some peoples suffering other than Euthanasia. Even though there are many more ways of treating diseases there are still not cures, so some people are just waiting to die. Also, the statistics from my questionnaire evidently prove that a much larger amount of society agrees with Euthanasia rather than disagrees with it.
Key question no.2 - What are the case studies available on Euthanasia and what can be learned from them?
I am going to be using the case study of Jack Kevorkian as he is one of the most famous and controversial people involved with Euthanasia.
This article came from the BBC website which means I can have complete confidence in the fact the information is reliable; I have also cross referenced it with articles from other news websites.
"Tuesday, 28 November, 2000, 11:19 GMT
'Dr Death': Pushing the law
Dr Jack Kevorkian is now in prison
Dr Jack Kevorkian advocates the legal right of doctors to assist terminally-ill patients commit suicide.
In April 1999 he received a 10 to 25 year prison sentence for murder.
He had pushed the law by televising the death of one of his patients, and the law pushed back.
Sentencing Dr Kevorkian, Judge Jessica Cooper said: "You had the audacity to go on national television, show the world what you did and dare the legal system to stop you.
"Well sir, consider yourself stopped."
Regular court appearances
Dr Kevorkian - known as "Dr Death" - had previously been acquitted by three juries on assisted suicide charges. A mistrial was declared in a fourth trial.
The retired pathologist says he has helped more than 130 people die since 1990.
His last trial came about following his treatment of Thomas Youk.
Mr Youk suffered from a wasting disease. Before he died, he was confined to a wheelchair, and had difficulty breathing and eating.
In past cases, Dr Kevorkian has said his clients used his homemade devices to start the flow of carbon monoxide or intravenous chemicals that caused their death.
In Mr Youk's case, Dr Kevorkian administered the injection.
In court, the judge and the prosecutor made a point that Kevorkian provided a videotape of Mr Youk's death to the television programme "60 Minutes," and challenged the legal system to stop him.
Thomas Youk's death was televised
But Mrs Youk denied this. In her statement to the court, she said: "The tape was produced for no other reason then to show my husband's consent."
In this case, the defence wanted to focus on issues surrounding Euthanasia while the prosecution wanted to focus on Dr Kevorkian's actions in relation to Michigan law.
"This case is about what Jack Kevorkian did, and what he did under the law under the state of Michigan is commit murder," the prosecutor said.
And Judge Cooper said: "This trial was not about the political correctness of Euthanasia. This was about you, sir."
However, Dr Kevorkian, who defended himself in court, clearly sees himself as fighting for a cause.
In his closing statement, he compared himself to civil rights heroes Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks.
He reminded the jury that in the past acts including drinking beer and registering to vote were illegal.
"Words on paper do not necessarily create crimes," he said.
He told jurors that if they convict him, they would face "the harsh judgement of history, and the harsher judgement of your children and grandchildren if they ever come to that precious choice".
His stand found little support among the officialdom of American medicine.
As far back as 1995, the American Medical Association said: "By invoking the physician-patient relationship to cloak his actions, Jack Kevorkian perverts the idea of the caring and committed physician, and weakens the public's trust in the medical profession."
Dr Kevorkian had previously threatened to go on hunger strike if convicted and jailed. However, he is believed to have stepped back from this position."
This shows that Dr Kevorkian took it upon himself to kill his patients. However, this supports the argument against Euthanasia, as it shows a doctor killed off his patients, either for self gain or economic problems (eg. Drug prescriptions). This also presents the idea of the public loosing trust in the medical profession. If Euthanasia was legalized in the UK someone could ask to be euthanized, who was suffering from depression or was mentally unstable at the time. And if under new laws doctors had to abide by the patient's wishes they could be killing a person who deep down does not wish to die. Also, I believe that by the end Jack Kevorkian became not about helping people in need, but about challenging the system and seeing how far he could go before he was stopped. Televising Thomas Youk's death is a prime example of this. He had got away with assisting many people in death so he felt as though he had to do something more shocking to test the system. In my opinion, even if the tape was just made to prove Thomas Youk gave Kevorkian his consent for Euthanasia, giving it to 60 minutes was completely the wrong thing to do. This proves Dr Kevorkian's main concern was not the well being, dignity or happiness of his patient, Thomas Youk.
In conclusion to this question, I believe that there are lots of helpful and accurate case studies online about Euthanasia and that people's views toward the outcomes of these case studies give a very good insight to what society as a whole believe about these events.
Key question no.3 - Do people's religious beliefs, gender or personal experiences affect how they feel about Euthanasia?
Here is a table explaining my questionnaire results
How old are you?
What religion are you?
Would you agree with Euthanasia being legalized in the UK?
Do you agree with Euthanasia?
How far do you agree with term "Euthanasia is murder"?
Have you ever been close to someone experiencing Euthanasia?
Are there certain circumstances when Euthanasia can be considered morally right, or is it always considered murder?
Has the media (articles you have read, television shows you have seen etc) effected how you think about Euthanasia?
Would you ever consider dying through Euthanasia if you had a terminal disease?
Would you ever consider helping someone you knew with a terminal illness to die through Euthanasia?
Key: Number of males. Number of females. Total number.
Does gender effect people's view on Euthanasia?
From this table you can see that I asked people of different ages, gender and religion. The information I gathered tells me that gender certainly does not affect people's opinion on this moral issue. It is clear to see that below the red number (total amount of people) the numbers a split almost evenly between males and females. This proves that being male or female has no effect on how you feel about Euthanasia. I expected this would be case because with Euthanasia being such a controversial issue, your opinion is more likely going to be influenced by the environment surrounding you (media, religion etc) rather than nature.
Does religion affect your view on Euthanasia?
Overall, yes. I have gathered this information mainly from my interviews or secondary research. I was not surprised about this because religion is such a strong part of many people's lives so it is obviously going to influence their views. For example, in one interview with Sree Kallid who is Muslim, when asked if religion affected his view on Euthanasia he said: "Definitely. I believe Euthanasia is very wrong. Since I was a young boy my parents and religion have taught me to respect life, and god who gave it to us. If someone ends their own life before it is time for them to leave, you are rejecting life and therefore insulting Allah." In another interview with Kelly Swain (a strong catholic) she said: "god will decide when it is time for me to die, no one else." My interviews alone are not strong enough evidence to say that religion affects a person's view on Euthanasia, so I did some secondary research on the internet.
Here is what I found.
The views regarding Euthanasia are very strong in Islam. They believe if you commit Euthanasia then you will go straight to hell. This is because suicide is forbidden in all circumstances ever since a prophet told people about a man who was in a battle and had many terrible wounds. The man killed himself and the prophet said he would burn in the hell fire. Muslims believe Euthanasia is weak and sinful.
A Buddhist can choose an honourable suicide if they please according to an ancient Asian ideology. However, Buddhists still believe the ending of any life is wrong. There are now mixed feelings on Euthanasia among Buddhists but a lot believe it is an easy way out, and that your life should be respected because it is sacred and blessed.
Christiana believe that if someone assists another person in suicide, for whatever reason, they are being murdered. Obviously this is breaking the 10th commandment and therefore the person will go to hell. However, even though Euthanasia was not really a talked about subject in early Christianity, if someone was very ill and in pain they could be sacrificed to God. By doing this people thought they were doing well by sacrificing themselves to God, and would consequently go to heaven. Although modern Christians believe that Euthanasia is normally wrong, liberal Christians believe that if someone is committing Euthanasia then they must be in severe pain, and because God is loving, then he will forgive this.
From this evidence I can see that religion would have an impact on people's opinions, particularly a religion like Islam which has such strong views on the subject.
Do people's personal experiences effect how they feel about Euthanasia?
This was a very difficult question to find evidence and research for. When I asked 'Have you ever been close to someone experiencing Euthanasia?' in my questionnaire, only one person said yes, so this made it hard to find out whether personal experience does effect someone's view. I found no newspaper articles helpful for this question so I decided I would ask some questions in my interview, in hope I might find some information useful to this key question.
This is my interview with Joan Leach, aged 74. This interview asks her about her personal experiences with Euthanasia and how she feels about the subject.
Hello Joan, would it be okay if I asked you some questions regarding Euthanasia?
Yes that's fine.
How do you feel about Euthanasia?
I feel really strongly about the subject. I believe if a person is allowed to make every other decision in their life, then why not when they die? This is probably the most important decision they could ever make but it is illegal.
Why do you feel so strongly?
Well, when I was a young girl the war was going on. When I was evacuated my uncle went off to fight in the trenches. He lost both his legs out there, and back in those days there was not much anyone could do!
How did he cope with this?
He managed fine for two years, however he was never happy. He was a sporty person, and realised his quality of life had gone right down. He had no wife, no kids and sadly not a lot to live for. One day he asked a friend to kill him; I suppose he couldn't take it anymore. His friend, Jonathan Kent told us my uncle had told him he could never bring himself to commit suicide alone, so wanted some help. Back then there weren't any lethal injections, so he asked Jonathan to drug his food. He died when he was 42.
Why do you think he asked for help?
I'm not sure really. He was so sad and in pain for those two years. Maybe after being in the war, and seeing innocent people die, he felt as though it was insult to them to end his life.
How was Jonathan Kent after he helped your uncle?
I think he was ashamed. He didn't tell us for 3 years that it was him who had helped Arthur die. I don't know why he felt this way, I see him as a hero, he was there for my uncle when he needed him most.
How did the rest of your family feel about this?
Of course they were extremely upset, but my uncle wasn't the same and he hadn't been since he lost his legs. So they were happy that he was finally at peace.
Do you feel as though Jonathan murdered your uncle?
No not at all, my uncle chose to commit suicide. Jonathan Kent loved my uncle, so he helped him.
If someone you loved wanted to commit Euthanasia, do you think you could help them?
I don't know, it depends on the situation. Things are a lot different now days, there's so much help and medicine out there. But that doesn't change the fact I believe people should be allowed to choose when they die, and the people they ask for help should not be prosecuted.
Ok, do you think if this hadn't happened to your uncle then you would still feel the same about Euthanasia?
I can't really answer that, but probably not. I believe if you haven't been in the situation you can't say whether it's the right or wrong thing. For my uncle it was most certainly the right thing.
Thank you for your time and sharing your story with us.
This is only an interview from one person's point of view as it is impossible to gather societies view as a whole. However, I do think this is a good primary source.
I think that if someone commits Euthanasia it is unavoidable that it will affect the person in questions family and friends. However, it is impossible to tell how it would affect them. For instance, the interview said that she felt no anger to the man who helped kill her uncle, in a way, she was grateful that he was there and I quote, "I see him as a hero, he was there for my uncle when he needed him most."
I found this interesting because you would expect a family to be angry with a man who killed someone close to them. However, I think Joan's family understood her uncle and respected his decision - "my uncle wasn't the same and he hadn't been since he lost his legs. So they were happy that he was finally at peace."
I also find it interesting that the family seem to see it as if Jonathan Kent merely did Arthur a favour by helping him to commit Euthanasia. It shows he obviously had no part in Arthur choosing to die; he was just helping a friend out.
During the interview when I asked Joan "If someone you loved wanted to commit Euthanasia, do you think you could help them?" I expected her to say yes because she seemed so adamant about how Jonathan Kent was right in helping her uncle. However, she seemed very undecided and seemed to feel that as times have changed, (medicine advances etc) then Euthanasia may not be as acceptable. She did say this though "I believe people should be allowed to choose when they die, and the people they ask for help should not be prosecuted" which shows her support for Euthanasia.
Even though this family seemed content with the fact a loved one was aided in his suicide, I feel as though a lot of people would be extremely upset by this. I have no evidence to prove this however; I just think it would be the first reaction of people.
I have come to the conclusion that having a personal experience of Euthanasia does change, or make your opinions stronger on the subject. I expected this because if you experience the issue first hand, it is obvious that it will have an effect on you. However, like I said before, it is unclear whether someone would feel negative or positive feelings.
My opinion on Euthanasia is that everyone has the right to die. If someone is feeling an unbearable amount of pain, or death is certain, then they should be allowed to choose when and how they die. However, I am sceptical weather Euthanasia should be legal in the UK or not. My main reason being that I believe if someone is going to commit Euthanasia, it should be done in a controlled environment where the person can feel safe, respected and be surrounded by their loved ones. If someone does it in any random place, something could go wrong and the person could end up in more pain then they started in. Also, if it is not done in a controlled environment then that is when legal problems can occur. For example, the person could have not given the right permission and therefore it would be considered murder, people could use Euthanasia as an excuse to get rid of someone to benefit them etc. I consider this the destruction of life; however, I also believe that if the person does not actually see it as a life, and more as just suffering, they have the right to die.
From all my results so far, I hope to prove my hypothesis right. A lot of religious people I have spoken to have found Euthanasia acceptable (Buddhism, Christianity). Some have not (Islam, Catholic). However, the Muslim and Catholic people I have spoken to who are not strict with their religion have also found Euthanasia acceptable. The majority of Agnostic/Atheists I have spoken to also agree with Euthanasia.
For the rest of my project I will continue to answer my key questions, using primary and secondary sources to hopefully prove my hypothesis correct. I will also study the social issues concerning Euthanasia.
Key question no.5 - Are there certain circumstances when Euthanasia can be considered morally right, or is it always considered murder?
Euthanasia is defined as ending a life at someone's request to end their pain and suffering. From my primary research (questionnaires) I have received a representative view from society on whether Euthanasia can be considered morally right.
Here is a graph showing my results
This graph shows that out of the 40 people who answered my questionnaires, 33 people thought that Euthanasia can be considered morally right, 5 people thought that regardless of the situation Euthanasia is wrong and 2 people didn't know. This clearly proves that more of society believes Euthanasia is not murder, and can be thought of as the humane thing to do.
However, if I am going to prove my hypothesis correct, I need something to prove that the public believe Euthanasia should be legalized. Believe that it is morally right is completely different to someone believing that it should be legal. Like I have said before, there are a lot of things to be considered when talking about Euthanasia being legalized (e.g. people thinking it is ok to kill people for their own benefit, it not being done in the correct way, the NHS thinking it is ok not to treat people properly to benefit financially, causing major divides between religious groups etc). So I included the question in my questionnaire.
Here is a graph explaining the results
Out of the 40 people who were handed my questionnaire, half of them agreed with Euthanasia being legalized in the UK, 9 of them strongly agreed, 8 disagreed, 2 strongly agreed and 2 people didn't know. There is not such a majority of people agreeing on this question as the one before. Like I said earlier, believing Euthanasia is morally right and believing it should be legal is quite different. However, that said, there is still a large amount of people agreeing with this question when compared to the amount who disagree, and therefore this is proving my hypothesis correct.
In conclusion to this question, I have found that most people feel that Euthanasia is not murder and consider it morally right in certain circumstances. I believe that if clear and strong laws were put into place preventing Euthanasia happening in the wrong way then a lot of society would agree with it being legalized. Although, there will always be sceptics. And, of course, people who follow their religion closely will always be against it. However this does not change the fact that 29 people out of 40 agreed with Euthanasia being legalized and 33 out of 40 considered it morally right. These statistics prove my hypothesis correct.
In this project so far I have carried out a number of research methods to help answer my key questions, these methods include; questionnaires, interviews and independent research such as internet and newspaper articles. I wanted to answer my key questions so I can use my findings answer my hypothesis which is 'Euthanasia should be legalized in the UK'. Next I am going to conclude all my work and come to a conclusion on whether my hypothesis has been proven or disproven based on my overall findings.
My main findings were that the majority of the population agreed with Euthanasia being legalized in the UK and with Euthanasia as a whole, however the majority disagreed that the media has affected their views about Euthanasia. I believe that it was less the media that has affected these people's views on Euthanasia but their religion or what they have been brought up by family to believe. From my questionnaire results I can see that there was only one person who has been close to a person experiencing Euthanasia, this does not surprise me as Euthanasia is not currently accepted in the UK. One result that did surprise me was that although there were many people from different religions of which many of these religions are said to follow that Euthanasia is murder, only 5 people agreed or strongly agreed with the term "Euthanasia is murder", this shows that although more than 5 of these people are part of a religion that says Euthanasia is murder, only a few of these people follow their religion strongly enough to agree with this statement.
My pilot study helped with my questionnaire as it showed me that open questions were the better type of question to put into my questionnaire as they allowed my respondent to give their full opinion without a bias choice of answers. It also showed me that closed questions allow for a speedier questionnaire to fill out, making it more desirable for the respondent to fill out as they won't feel it will waste a lot of their time, this allows for a greater chance of return.
I could have improved my questionnaire by including more open questions and more questions generally, however I feel I had a reasonable amount of questions to get all the information I need without making the questionnaire too long to fill out.
The general opinion I got from my interviewees on my hypothesis was that 4 of the 5 interviewees said they agreed, however one Muslim male called Sree Kallid did not agree as he feels Euthanasia is "murder" and "only Allah has the right to decide the length of a humans life" and "it is insulting Allah if you choose to end your own life", not all the 4 believed that Euthanasia should be allowed under any circumstance and some believed that it should only be acceptable under certain circumstances, some of these being; - the person has a terminal illness, - the person has clearly stated that they want to be euthanized, - there be clinics set up for Euthanasia so the people feel comfortable with what going on and everything confides with the law. Most of these feelings were based on religion, or lack of.
The question that gave me the most useful information was 'Have you ever had any personal experience with Euthanasia and how it affected you if so?', the reason why this gave me some of my most useful information was because this was one of my key questions and so far I had found no information to answer this key question and I was unable to find anything online, however when I interview one of my interviewees called Joan Leach, an elderly lady of 74 with no religion, she had had personal experience with Euthanasia and was able to give me an insight on how it affected her views, I know this data is reliable as I had collected it myself and I feel I had no influence on this data. I could have improved my interview by having a firm set of questions, however I did not and had to make up some of these questions based on the responses to the answers, however this did work as it allowed the interview to flow better. I believe all the data I collected through my interviews is very reliable as I collected the data myself and worded my questions so they didn't influence the answer.
The main problem I found on the internet was that most of the information and websites are bias and unreliable and written by people who don't have the correct information themselves. There were a couple of pieces of my secondary information that had made an impact on my study such as the Dr Kevorkian case and the Diane Pretty case which are two case which involve Euthanasia, however one being of a Doctor who carries out Euthanasia, and another of a woman suffering from a terminal illness who wants her husband to be allowed to help her die and her winning this battle in court. Two very different cases, which show both the possible positives and negatives of Euthanasia if it be legalized in the UK.
Based on my information gathered from secondary research my main conclusion is that Euthanasia could be legalized in the UK as long as laws are set up to look after the vulnerable and people go through the correct channels to get Euthanized.
Parts of my secondary research contradicted my primary research, however parts of my secondary research backs up my primary research.
The main arguments for and against Euthanasia came from pressure groups, religious parties and people who have experienced Euthanasia. Some of these arguments are for Euthanasia, such as:
* Can quickly and humanely end a patients suffering, and allows them to die with dignity.
* Everyone should have the right to decide how they should die.
* Can help to shorten the grief and suffering of the patients loved ones. The patients loved ones will have the chance to say goodbye and not be shocked by a sudden death.
Some of these arguments are against Euthanasia, such as:
* One religious view is that; Euthanasia is against the will and word of god.
* It could be stated that; voluntary Euthanasia could be the start of a slippery slope that leads to involuntary Euthanasia and the killing of innocent people for their wealth or benefit of someone.
* Proper palliative care makes Euthanasia unnecessary.
Overall from all my research I am able to conclude that there is more evidence for Euthanasia, this is because as I have shown above in my questionnaires and interviews, some of my most reliable research, there is far more public support for Euthanasia than against it, however the media sends a mixed message with some articles portraying that Euthanasia is acceptable and other articles portraying that Euthanasia is unacceptable, nether the less on my questionnaires and Interviews it was clear that the majority of the public's views are not affected by the media. The sources I used other than interviews and questionnaires in my primary research were:
* School text books
* Websites such as; www.Euthanasia.com, www.bbc.co.uk, www.dignityindying.org.uk, www.carenotkilling.org.uk
* Newspapers such as; The Guardian, and The Independent
I chose these sources carefully so I had information that was accurate as well as reliable and up-to-date.
Therefore in conclusion, most of my evidence supports my hypothesis therefore I can accept my hypothesis and say that Euthanasia should be legalized in the UK.
The strongest arguments people had for Euthanasia were;
* Can quickly and humanely end a patients suffering, and allows them to die with dignity.
* Can help to shorten the grief and suffering of the patients loved ones. The patients loved ones will have the chance to say goodbye and not be shocked by a sudden death.
* If a person is not allowed to die when they choose, they are effectively being kept alive against their will.
The strongest arguments people had against Euthanasia were;
* One religious view is that; Euthanasia is against the will and word of god.
* It could be stated that; voluntary Euthanasia could be the start of a slippery slope that leads to involuntary Euthanasia and the killing of innocent people for their wealth or benefit of someone.
* Doctors and other people in the medical profession can never know for a certain 100% that a person will die from their illness, even if the illness is deemed terminal. Science and medicine progresses every day and they may find a cure.
The weaker arguments people has for Euthanasia were;
* Most people would have their pets put down if they were suffering; this would in most cases be regarded as kindness. Why can't the same kindness be given to humans?
The weaker arguments people have against Euthanasia were;
* A dying patient may not be able to make a rational decision.
I think these arguments are weaker and stronger than the rest of the arguments because the stronger arguments are based on medics, science and technology or religious morals and this provides a very strong argument both for and against. However the weaker arguments are not based on medical ethics or science or religion and this along with lack of evidence doesn't provide a very good argument.
Throughout my questionnaires and interviews I made sure that my questioning did not influence the responses I was receiving. I did this through correct wording of my questions. I did this to hopefully prevent from bias and give my results a higher chance of reliability and validity for my answers. I don't think I needed to change this.
The best methods of collecting information I believe were through primary research methods such as interviews and questionnaires. I also believe the internet is one of the better methods but only if you find a good reliable website which isn't always easy and can be time consuming.
The weaker methods of collecting information I believe were the majority of newspapers.
I believe primary research methods were the strongest ways of collecting information because you can guarantee that the information you are collecting is reliable and free from say a website or a newspapers bias and is actually the views from the criteria of people you want.
I believe that the majority of newspapers were a weaker way of collecting information because there is only a small minority of newspapers that are free from bias and then there may also be the bias views of the writer in the article and it can be hard to wade through all the different newspapers to find a article that seems to be free from bias and just present the facts, however while looking through the newspapers I found that they can be bias, especially tabloid newspapers, and this helped me to answer a question on how the media persuades the view of the public.
In my project I could have used more books as this have very reliable and non-bias information within. The main reason why I didn't use many books was because the books I was looking at were quite expensive and I didn't want to be spending much money on books I might never read again. Using books may have improved my results as books are so reliable and free from bias however I believe the information I got was reliable and to the fullest extent free from bias.
I believe my best sources of information were my interviews, questionnaires, and few websites. Also I believe in my questionnaires and interviews the older generation gave the best information as they had lived more and has a wider outlook on the case of Euthanasia and may have had more life experience with the subject.
I believe the weaker sources of information were my newspaper articles. I believe this because not only was it very difficult to find a non-bias up-to-date but the articles didn't, and really couldn't or it would be seen as bias, to give any opinion and this is what I needed to help to prove or disprove my hypotenuse.
I believe that my primary sources are better than my secondary sources as with my primary sources I can guarantee that all the data collected is reliable, up-to-date, and valid. This is perfect as I need my project to have data that is all three throughout.
My primary data consistently gives dependable data that I can trust because I collected it myself and can be certain there has been no tampering with the data.
The only way I could have improved my primary data would have been to have collected more data.
With my secondary data I tried to choose websites, article, and books that are as valid, up-to-date and reliable as possible and I did this through careful selection of all this data and trying to leave out articles of bias. There are a couple of factors that make my secondary data less reliable. One factor obviously is that I didn't collect they information myself so I can't be sure it came from a wide range of source and was consistently sticking to the desirable guidelines such as age, gender, and religion. Another factor was that some data I was finding from one source was contradicting itself so I decided not to use this data.
One thing I could have done would have been to have spend more time on my primary research rather than on searching for reliable secondary research.
Reliability, Validity & Bias
I think my project was very reliable because I consistently worked hard to find only the reliable data by using only sources that I know would have precise and correct, up-to-date information on.
I think my project was very valid as I worked very hard to find the whole range of the populations view, with all ages, genders, and religions on the whole topic and answered all the questions to their fullest extent.
I don't think there are any elements of bias in your project because throughout my project I carefully selected only information free from bias that presented fact and I haven't integrated my own opinion other than where stated.
The only way I think I could have improved my project more was to have taken a longer amount of time to research secondary data and to carry out more primary research tasks.
Jenkins, J. Contemporary Moral Issues. Heinemann. 1997.
Williams, B. One World Many Issues. Stanley Thorns. 1997.
www.euthanasia.com Information site. Neutral.
www.news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/health/euthansia/basics.stm Information site. Neutral.
www.bbc.co.uk/religion/ethics/index.shtml information site. Neutral.
www.carenotkilling.org.uk Pressure group. Against euthanasia.
www.dignityindying.org.uk Pressure group. For euthanasia.
Euthanasia - Life and death, BBC1.