Volume 43, Issue 2 (2014)
Theory-Driven Evaluation in School Psychology Intervention Research: 2007-2012
Sterett H. Mercer, Alyssa M. Idler, Jamie M. Bartfai
Abstract. This study is an investigation of the extent to which school psychology intervention research is guided by theory and addresses theoretical implications of findings. Intervention studies published during 2007–2012 in four journals, Journal of School Psychology, Psychology in the Schools, School Psychology Quarterly, and School Psychology Review, were classified based on inclusion of critical components of theory-driven evaluation (Chen & Rossi, 1983): specification of causal program theory indicating mechanisms of intervention effects, assessment of constructs relevant to causal program theory, testing of mediation and moderation, and discussion of theoretical implications of findings. In addition, explicit and implicit theoretical frameworks used in the studies were identified. The results indicated that although nearly half of the reviewed studies discussed causal program theory, other elements of theory-driven evaluation were incorporated in the studies less frequently. Challenges in applying the theory-driven evaluation paradigm within the theoretical frameworks and research methods commonly used in school psychology are discussed, and possible solutions to these challenges are presented.
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