Through the use of a template, this paper will work to create a critique of the article entitled “School Counseling Outcome: A Meta-Analytic Examination of Interventions.” The critique will include information on the introduction and rationale for this research, the major strengths and weaknesses in the article, a summary of the research outcome, two methods of applying this research to practice, and its conclusion.
Keywords: article critique, “School Counseling Outcome: A Meta-Analytic Examination of Interventions”
Introduction and rationale for the research
In the early 2000s, the field of school counseling changed as a combined result of the fact that parents were concerned regarding the effectiveness and use of school counselors, the fact that the money used on counselor’s salaries could be better spent on other components for the education of students, and the desire of the ASCA (American School Counselor’s Association) for counselors to take a more proactive role in assisting students (Whiston, et al., p. 37). Changes were made to the function and role of the school counselor, but limited data on the effectiveness of the changes is available, and very few studies regarding the effectiveness of these changes have been completed; in order to address this matter to determine whether or not these changes have truly been more effective, Whiston, et al. opted to undertake this study as a means to address this gap in research (p. 38).
Major strengths/weaknesses in the article
Quantitative research, as is the case in Whiston, et al.’s study, comes complete with its own set of assumptions, especially when one considers the fact that it strives to understand the facts of the situation, but fails to address the subjective states presented by the situations and individuals that it is attempting to study (Velez, 2008). Such is the case with the study here, for the effectiveness of a school counselor, as with any educator or individual in an associated education profession, depends more on the time, effort, and caring put in by the individual and less on the actual method used. The study allows for the testing and validating of a preexisting theory, and it allows for the generalization of research samples along with the gathering of data that allows for other predictions to be made (Johnson, p. 1). In spite of these strengths, the study cannot test the other factors associated with the effectiveness of a counselor, nor can the study conclusively state whether the performance of the students is a result of a counselor who puts more into their job than another or the methodology that they use. While this study is a good place to start, far more additional data would need to be gathered and testing would need to be done in order to determine how much of the effect on the students is a result of the specific counselor and how much of the results are based on the change in method detailed by the ASCA. In addition, because they used the information from thirty one other studies, already published, in order to make their determination, they cannot control research bias, and do not have first-hand knowledge of whether or not the new methodologies were all implemented in the same way (Whiston, et al., p. 45).
Summary of research outcome
Whiston, et al. (p. 45) determined that students who received the new school counseling interventions scored approximately a third of a standard deviation higher than those that did not receive any counseling interventions at all; it is assumed that those who received interventions for those studies were all going off of the new model of counseling put in place by the ASCA.
Two methods of applying this research to practice
Two methods of applying this research to practice would include the utilization of counseling interventions in all schools, and working to combine the use of group guidance with one on one sessions in order to maximize their time (Whiston, et al., p 46).
While the research completed by Whiston et al. (2011) serves to provide a good foundation for counseling research and working to close the knowledge gap, it must be stated that far more research must be completed in order to make truly effective claims regarding the nature of the effectiveness of the new approach.
- Johnson. (n.d.). Table 14.1 strengths and weaknesses of quantitative research. Retrieved from http://www.southalabama.edu/coe/bset/johnson/oh_master/Ch14/Tab14-01.pdf
- Velez, A. (2008). Evaluating research methods: Assumptions, strengths, and weaknesses of three educational research paradigms. Retrieved from http://www.unco.edu/ae-extra/2008/9/velez.html
- Whiston, S., Tai, W., Rahardja, D., & Eder, K. (2011). School counseling outcome: A meta-analytic examination of interventions. Journal of Counseling and Development, 89, 37-55.