Growing up in the field of fashion in Ghana, and realising all the challenges encountered by apparel manufacturers, customers and fashion students due to the absence of a national sizing system based on anthropometric data of Ghanaians, I decided to research into the development of a standardised sizing system and basic block patterns for Ghanaian children between the ages of 6 and 11. I noticed that some Ghanaian children were in ill-fitted apparel that were either too tight or oversize, hampering growth and confidence. Ghanaian parents, including myself, encounter difficulties finding ready-to-wear garments that fit children well. My research is designed to help apparel manufacturers and parents in Ghana solve the problem of sizing clothing for children.
The project’s methodology is three-fold. The first is the survey design, second is the field work and the last is the data analysis. The data was collected in Ghana, based on the population of primary school pupils. A pilot study was conducted to test the methodology. The main study worked with a sample size of 800, selected using the Taro Yamane method for sample size determination.
There was a twist to the normal procedure for collecting anthropometric data where professionals or technicians take the body measurements of participants. With this research, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, parents/legal guardians were directed via a manual anthropometric guidebook and instructional videos in English and Twi (popular Ghanaian language) to take the body measurements of participants at home. In the field, before data collection, permissions were obtained from regulatory bodies. Upon receipt of those approvals, consent and assent were obtained from the parents and the participants respectively.
The pilot data collection was completed with 109 participants from three primary schools in the western region of Ghana. Inconsistencies in the process of data collection were resolved before collecting data for the main study. Data is being analysed using SPSS. Basic pattern blocks will be produced out of the data and fit testing carried out manually and virtually. Funding from the Graduate School’s Research Support Award helped me pay for travel expenses to Ghana to collect data for the study.
The procedure for my data collection changed significantly from the situation where a team of research assistants and I were to personally take the body measurements of participants (pupils) at their schools to a procedure where parents and guardians are to take the body measurements of their wards on my behalf at home, taking into account Covid-19 safety protocols including social distancing. To train parents and guardians on the body measurements procedures, I compiled a guidebook entitled Manual Body Measurement Guidebook to guide and direct parents and guardians how to take and record accurate body measurements of their wards (participants) at home. Furthermore, two instructional videos entitled “Guide to Manual Body Measurement Process” in English and Twi (most popular Ghanaian language) that explains the process of body measurement taking were made by me and posted on social media for parents and guardians to learn in simple terms how to measure their wards. These videos can be found on MMUTube. Finally, tools for taking and recording the measurements were given to parents and guardians for the exercise.
My motivation to go through this challenge is based on my commitment to complete the degree on time. If you are committed to a set goal, no matter the obstructions, you will find a way around it. My advice to fellow researchers is that in undertaking research, one must be prepared for any changes in terms of methodology, scope, geographical location, or circumstances and be resolute in your conviction to work hard to complete your research.
Adwoa was funded through the Manchester Metropolitan Graduate School’s Research Support Award to undertake her fieldwork. You can find out more about the award and upcoming deadlines by visiting the PGR Development Moodle area.