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Counseling research aid in the shaping of our society, from the manner in which we bring up our children to the manner in which we treat our criminals and military foes. Counselors in schools often offer programs of counseling in three essential areas; academic, personal or social, as well as career. The counseling services and programs offered enable students to seek solution to their emotional, social or behavioral problems, develop a clear focus and sense of direction. Effective counseling programs are not only significant to the school environment but also act as an essential element in improvement of academic performance of students (American Counseling Association, n.d). Just like all other educational professionals, counselors of schools are indispensably needed in the demonstration of effective evidence practice.
Some of the achievements that have been received by both school counselor and the students from the counseling programs include; positive influence on academic performance of learners, reduced anxiety test in learners, reduced school drop-out rate, reduced classroom disturbance. For instance, a counseling study conducted in Missouri high school shows that schools that have executed model guidance programs have their students scoring higher grades, their teaching program was effective in preparing student for their future, and their environment was conducive for learning (American Counseling Association, n.d). This article reviewed a counseling research and program evaluation conducted in schools to determine the effectiveness of counseling programs in schools.
In a nutshell, quantitative research refers to generation of numerical data or information which can be numerically be transformed into numbers. For example, to determine influence of counseling program on the rate of school drop-out. Qualitative research on the other hand, refers to generation of non-numerical data. For example, to determine the influence of counseling program on the students’ level of discipline. The main goal of qualitative research is to offer a complete, exhaustive explanation of the effects of counseling in schools (Explorable.com, 2009), while the main goal of quantitative research is to concentrate more in counting and classifying features and building models of statistics and illustrations to elucidate the observations made.
Sampling is one of the methods of data collection that can be applied in this counseling research. Sampling refers to a subset of the population, selected using either “probability” or “non-probability” methods (Ladner.S, 2008). Both qualitative and quantitative research methods can apply sampling in their studies; nonetheless, the method of application is different in both. Researches that are qualitative in nature often use nonprobability sampling methods where the researcher aims at detailed, idiographic understanding as opposed to more general, nomothetic understanding (Blackstone.A, n.d). Nonprobability sampling can be defined as methods for which chances of a person getting selected to become member of a sample is still in uncertainty (Blackstone.A, n.d). Some of the types of nonprobability sampling methods include; purposive sampling, snowball sampling, quota sampling, and convenience sampling. On the other hand, quantitative researchers use probability sampling in their studies. In probability sampling the chances of a person getting selected to form memberships of the sample is known (Saylordorg.github, n.d). There are several probability sampling techniques; random sampling, systematic sampling, stratified sampling, and cluster sampling. The aim of the researcher is to make generalizations about groups that are large as compared to their study samples. Generalization is this case refers to the idea that the results of a study will tell us something with regards to a group larger than the sample from which the results were obtained from (Saylordorg.github, n.d). Therefore, quantitative sampling is more concerned with numbers while qualitative sampling is more concerned with deep understanding of the phenomenon of study.
Both deductive and inductive reasoning are distinct approaches that can be applied while conducting a scientific research. In deductive reasoning, quantitative researchers conduct a test on a theory by gathering and evaluating empirical evidences to see if it is true or not. For example, initiating school counseling program leads to improved students’ performance. On the other hand, in inductive reasoning the qualitative researchers commence with collecting and analyzing data then construct a theory to explain results of the research (Crossman. A, 2017). For example, improved performance of student is as a result of initiating school counseling program. According to Dr. Deborah Gabriel, 2013, the deductive approach often commence with a hypothesis while the inductive approach use research findings in narrowing the scope of study.
From the literature review, an example of qualitative effect is the influence of school counseling programs on academic performance, level of student discipline and anxiety test in learners, that is, non-numerical data. On the other hand, an example of quantitative effect of school counseling programs is the reduced drop-out rate of students, that is, numerical data. The researchers can apply qualitative research methods in this counseling research. This is because in qualitative research, the literature review is used in the provision of evidence for the purpose of study with an aim of identifying the underlying problem to be addressed by the research topic. To effectively examine the effectiveness of school counseling program on the performance of students, it require a detailed understanding of the phenomenon and enough learning of the population sample which is associated with qualitative research designs.
Data were collected through observations, note taking, interviews and tabulations. The qualitative data usually involved non-numeric information such as; better academic performance, improvements in anxiety test, improvement is students’ level of discipline and reduced classroom disturbance. On the other hand, the quantitative data involved the numeric information such as; number of students who improved their academic performance, reduce rate of school drop-out, and the percentage scores of student in their examinations. The tables below show examples of data collected from the research.
Content analysis refers to the procedure of categorizing verbal and non-verbal data, with an aim of classifying, summarizing and tabulating data (Surrey, n.d). It involves coding and data classification in order to make sense of the data collected as well highlighting the significant information, features and findings of the research. Content analysis can only be conducted on the event that data has been collected through; interviews, focus groups, observation, and document analysis. Analyzing qualitative research requires detailed understanding of the big picture under study by describing the phenomenon and what it means (Surrey, n.d). On the other hand, analysis of quantitative data can be conducted by analyzing any of the following (Surrey, n.d); frequencies of variables, differences between variables, and statistical tests designed to approximate the importance of the result, all of which can only be achieved through counting and comparison.
Quantitative analysis of school drop-out rate
From the graph above the school drop-out rates for each school are compared and it seen that the rate reduced after initiating school counseling program, which is a positive result.
Generalizability refers to extension of the research results and conclusions from a study carried out on a sample population to the whole population, while transferability refers to relating the elements of study to researcher’s own experience ([email protected] Guide, n.d). Generalizability and transferability are essential components of any research methodology, however they aren’t mutually exclusive: generalizability, to some extent, depend on the research findings of the transferability ([email protected] Guide, n.d). Therefore, before making generalization, the researchers are called upon to be careful when examining the variable involved in the study. For instance, in this research we can generalize that school counseling program led to the improvement of students’ performance. To make transferability, with skills I have acquired from the counseling practice, initiating counseling programs enable students to move up the educational ladder. This is because during counseling students are advised on how to choose the career subjects based on the dream course, manage anxieties, conduct effective revision strategies, become disciplined, manage their time, and importance of school in preparing them for their future. All these entail the prerequisites of better academic performance.
As the saying goes that we learn through mistakes, researchers cannot be unbounded from making mistakes while conducting their study. Biasness by not taking population sample form schools that have been performing recording high mean scores in exams because they admit students with good entry behavior in terms of academic performance. This bias was based on the assumption that academic performance in such schools is because most students admitted there are academically endowed and not as a result of counseling program. Another mistake occurred when using probability sampling method used to select a population sample where it was found that the resultant sample selected was not a representative of the targeted population; for example, selecting sample population of boys school only would not be a representative of the general population which is composed of both male and female. There is little transparency when conducting group interviews to students who are friends and resemble each other in terms of characteristics of the desired population. This is because each student response will be based on the friend’s previous response; hence lack of transparency since all students cannot give the same responses. To correct such mistakes from recurring in the next research, sample population will be selected from mixed schools since that is a representative of the general population, schools to be visited will not be determined by the entry behavior to remove mistake due to biasness in school selection, and lastly group interviews will be substituted with individual interview to ensure each student’s response is not influenced by a friends response whom they are sharing the same interview panel and the same time, hence enhancing transparency in the student responses.
A counseling research on the effectiveness of counseling program in schools has revealed that student’s performance has improved after initiating the program. Both qualitative and quantitative research designs have been used in the study. Other areas that have shown improvement due to counseling program are; anxiety test, school environment, class disturbance, school drop-out rate and level of student’s discipline. Certain mistakes were incurred during the process of conducting research and recommendations given to ensure they don’t recur in future. Therefore, when evaluating the effect of initiating school programs, I would say that it resulted to positive impact not only to the student’s performance but also to creation of favorable environment for learning.
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