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NASP Home NASP Publications School Psychology Review (SPR) Volume 19 Issue 2 (1990) Guest Editor's Comments: Research Met...
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Volume 19, Issue 2 (1990)

Guest Editor's Comments: Research Methods in School Psychology II

pp. 223

Can research answer questions of practical importance to school psychological practitioners? As Jeffery Braden and his colleagues illustrate in this issue of the research miniseries, the answer is yes. Group interventions are common in school settings — children are placed in special education classes, a new curriculum is instituted, a drop-out prevention program is begun. Unfortunately (from a research standpoint), these programs are rarely designed to provide a powerful test of whether they are effective or not, even when those instituting the programs are interested in demonstrating their effectiveness. A powerful approach for determining program effectiveness would be to assign children randomly to the intervention and a control condition (the status quo) and test for differences between the groups following the intervention. But this true experimental approach is often impractical, unethical, or too costly. If drug abuse is a problem in a school, how can we justify withholding from some children a prevention program we believe will curb drug abuse (Braden, Gonzalez, & Miller, this issue)? And how many parents would be willing to exclude their gifted children from a program just for the sake of research (Braden & Bryant, this issue)?

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