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Christman 1 Lindsay Christman Asher John, Instructor The Research Proposal- Revised 10-26-10

The Truth That Remains Within Have you ever thought about all the people that you see on a daily basis? The people that you encounter with on a daily basis, you might personally know and spend time with every day or happen to brush up against some stranger in a crowded elevator. Unless you personally know a person and have seen their living habitats, you normally do not think about how someone lives, or if they happen to have a mental disorder. “Compulsive hoarding, otherwise known as disposophobia, is a condition that is characterized by the acquisition of, and willingness or inability to discard, large quantities of seemingly useless objects that create a significantly cluttered living space, and causes considerable distress or impairment in functioning” (Frost, 2010). I will be discussing a case study on compulsive hoarding and how it affected the lives of the individuals controlled by the mental illness. Compulsive hoarding can cause health deficiencies and can consume your life. For my research project, I want to explore how compulsive hoarding affects an individual’s daily lifestyle and what this mental illness actually consists of. The answer lies in the question that what do people really know about compulsive hoarding? Does it actually lead to depression? By examining past events, such as the case study on two American men by the names of Homer and Langley Collyer, I hope to gain a better understanding of compulsive hoarding and how it can take over someone’s mind and life.


Christman 2 Methods First, I want to approach my topic through its medical context. How does this mental illness, referred to as compulsive hoarding, affect the mind and how does it specifically affect your “abnormal” lifestyle? By examining and comparing these medical conducts of research and the specific case study, I can determine the effects that the mental illness has on a specific individual and if this is curable. I can also determine if this is a common occurrence among human beings or if this is a rare mishap in the mind setting, such as a chemical imbalance in the brain. Next, I will take into consideration what people actually know about compulsive hoarding and what exactly causes the mental illness. From these set of questions, along with others, I can determine my main focus in my research. For example, using my specific case study that I have researched on the Collyer Brothers may lead me to the answer that I have searching for and can give me a better understanding of why people with this illness act the way they do and have the certain “side effects” that they do in everyday life. I can also set up multiple questions to help me better understand my answer to the main focus of my question. Is there any treatment for compulsive hoarding? Can you make the victim see that compulsive hoarding is a problem and that they need to seek help? By asking a set of questions can help me find the answer to my narrowed research question. I believe by researching different aspects of your main focused question can give you better understanding to your overall research on the specific topic. I will also consider my sources that will be added to my research for credibility and also to show evidence about this illness and why the audience should care about this topic. This mental disorder effects lives every day, so I believe that my audience should be concerned about it. I will also take into consideration the professionals that I have received information from


Christman 3 through research studies and through sources. They have expert opinion and have studied the acts of the individuals that have this disorder, so therefore this makes them credible. It also gives my audience a feel for why this topic is relevant and why it is important. Sources To begin my research, I will be conducting it with the use of online and library research methods. So far, I have checked out all of my sources, which have all been online. They all consist of sources by the government or by different organizations. I have chosen to do this because these sites are by far more credible than any other websites that are easily accessed on the Web. By choosing sites that I can rely on and that are credible, it will build a sense of trust with my audience and I will know that the information I will be using to back up my research is reliable and dependable. I have researched online databases, such as All About Life Changes: Hope and Comfort Foundation and Understanding Hoarding Behavior Among Older Adults: A Case Study Approach. These online databases will help me in understanding more about the disorder, along with what I already knew about it. It will also help me with the understanding of how this research is conveyed and how it can help the individual that is in need of care. Then, moving toward the understanding of the case study that I will be focusing on, I will be looking at the online database such as William Byrk’s The Collyer Brothers of Harlem, which was published in the New York Press. This article examines the case study on the Collyer Brothers and how this is relevant to compulsive hoarding. It provides information on their lives and what took place when one of the brothers actually had a compulsive hoarding problem. I will also search other online databases, such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, which Oprah Winfrey had a show that informed the audience about compulsive hoarding and also aired Dr. David Tolin,


Christman 4 who explained the disorder and its causes. Through these databases, I hope to find answers to my questions and also to investigate these issues and why this disorder causes the specific issues. Timeline 10/5-10/7 Find a narrowed topic for paper 10/10-10/12 Find sources that is relevant to the topic compulsive hoarding 10/13 Start reading through the material and conduct thesis 10/14 Proposal paper draft due 10/14 Obtain and reflect on feedback 10/19 Revision of proposal due 10/21 Obtain feedback; rewrite proposal 10/26 Proposal due 10/26-11/5 Write first draft of paper 11/9 Research paper draft due 11/9 Obtain and reflect on feedback Additional research and revision as necessary 11/11 Revision of research paper due Significance Advancements in technology have made it possible to research the mental illness compulsive hoarding and how the side effects can impact an individual’s life. What people need to realize is that this can happen to anyone and that it is very devastating because nobody can fully overcome this illness. A closer look into the development and treatments that we have today can reveal that if you have this that your life is not over and that anyone that has this can be assisted in some way.


Proposal