Thursday, November 29, 2012

Senior Thesis

Senior Thesis.  The project feared and dreaded by the underclassmen, anticipated by the juniors, and worked on and completed by the seniors. My class started thinking of ideas last spring and we are now right in the thick of it.

We were told to pick something that really interested us, a research question that we truly wanted to know the answer to. I debated several topics, photography-related, Harry Potter/literature-related, faith-related. And finally I settled on one.

But before I tell you exactly what I picked I want to give you a brief background story to explain why I picked what I did.

Two years ago I was having some...well let's just call them women's health issues. My pediatrician, who I've been going to since I was a little kid, wanted to prescribe me to the birth control pill. She told me it was the best way to fix my problem and help my body get back to "normal". She also assured me that a lot of teen girls take this pill to help with the same or similar problems. My mom was skeptical and didn't want to throw me on a medicine she didn't know much about without at least a second professional medical opinion. So a few weeks later I found myself siting in a different doctor's office, this time being seen by my mom's GYN.

This doctor listened to us, examined me, and then told me, to my face, that going on oral contraceptives would literally be the worst possible thing I could do for my body. She said that all the artificial hormones would do would be to cover up the problem, but not really fix anything, and in the mean time wreak havoc in my body.

Here I was faced with two completely opposite answers, both from good doctors who care about their patients. Which one was right? Were both a little extreme, could there be a middle ground? As it is I didn't go on the oral contraceptives, and everything is fine now. In fact until this past spring I hadn't really even thought about this experience too much.

But one day, when I was thinking of a thesis topic, I remembered this experience. Two doctors, saying drastically polar opposite things, about a medicine that is very commonly prescribed to many, many teen girls and women. I wanted to find out which doctor was more right. And so, my research began. At first my topic was simply Oral Contraceptives, and my question was something about "Are Oral Contraceptives more Harmful or Beneficial to a Woman's Health?" But as I doing my research for the literature review (the first part of a thesis), and I was thinking ahead to the second part of the thesis (the original research that you have to conduct yourself), I realized I had to modify my topic and question.

My research showed me that my original question was already answered by hundreds of studies, and sources that were reliable, and true. I compared the information I found, with the information given to women in books at my local library and Planned Parenthood's website. Through my research I discovered that there is a lot of information that is not commonly known about a medicine that is commonly used. At least, through my research it seems that a lot of information isn't common knowledge. That's where my original research (my survey) comes into play. My topic now is Oral Contraceptives and the Informed Consent of Women. What do I want to know ? I want to know how many woman are truly informed about the three ways birth control pills work in their body to prevent full-term pregnancy (most people are unaware of the third mechanism of action), and how the pill will effect their body, short term and long term.

I'm conducting my research via survey and it's geared specifically toward women who used to use oral contraceptives and have since stopped for any reason. My entire thesis is strictly medical (I know there is a lot of controversy on whether or not birth control is morally right).

So why am I posting this on my blog? Well one I wanted to share with you, and two I wanted to get word out about my survey. I'm asking all of you, do you know anybody that used to use oral contraceptives and have since stopped? Could you possible send them the link to my survey? If you used to use the birth control pill, would you consider taking my survey? Please, please, please do not take my survey unless you used to use the pill. This research is vital to my thesis and I greatly appreciate your help and time. I know birth control can be a delicate topic so I want to assure you that the survey is completely anonymous and no private information is required.

The survey can be found here:

If any of you are interested in reading my thesis when it's all done (mid-Feb.) send me your e-mail address and I'll send the survey to you when it's done. You can shoot me an e-mail at:

Thank you so much for help and time.  My thesis is really important and special to me, and I've invested hours and hours in it over the past few months and will continue to do so until my final presentation in March. Since my originial reserach (the survey) is a huge part of my thesis, you have no idea how appreciative I am to everyone is able and willing to take it and pass it on.

And if you are just one of my normal readers, thank you for bearing with me on this abnormal post :)

~Mary Kate Anthony

1 comment:

  1. Hey Mary Kate,

    I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate what you're doing for this matter. It'll be interesting to see what the outcome will be. :)

    Anyway, I think I may know someone who might be interested to help fill out your survey. I don't know for sure if you'll get an e-mail from her right away, but be prepared, just in case. ;)

    Take care!