Chris is a researcher in school counseling who is concerned about the stresses experienced by young adolescent students at his school. Chris wants to convince his principal and school manager to provide funding to support a new after-school program. He decides to gather data on the problems that youth at the school are experiencing to find out what types of program are most needed. Knowing that the school board will want to know how frequently the problems occur, he initially decides to gather information through a quantitative problemnaire that measures the number of stressful events youth have experienced. The problemnaire that Chris selects lists many stressful events, such as getting a bad grade, parents fighting, getting into fights with friends, moving or losing someone you loved through death. Youth completing the problemnaire are asked to check off all the events that they have experienced in the past year and to indicate which event was most stressful. Chris will then find out the percentage of youth selecting each response and report which types of events are most frequent and how many youth are experiencing them. However, Chris also wants to provide greater depth and meaning to his report. To accomplish this, he adds a problem asking the students why the event they identified as most stressful was so difficult. Chris plans to select several youth based on their answers to this open ended problem and interview them in depth to find out how they coped with the event. He obtains permission from the school and most of the students’ parents to conduct his research study. As he analyses the problemnaire results, he notices that one boy has checked that both his dog and his father died in the past year. Chris decided to interview the boy who describeed that the dog had been a gift from his father on his 7th birthday. He and his father often took walks with his dog. “When my father died, my dog comforted me. I always talked with him about my father. So when my dog died, it was like losing my dad all over again and also my best friend.”
In his school board presentation, Chris presents data from his problemnaire showing the numerous youth reported stressful events involving the loss of a loved one. He illustrates the difficulties experienced by the youth using several stories from his interviews. (Note: He obtained permission to use the stories and also carefully protected the confidentiality of the youth by omitting any identifying details). He then makes a request for funding to support programs on grief and loss for the students.
a) What is the research approach used by Chris? Usually, what are the advantages of using that approach?
b) What are some of the ethical practices which Chris made use in his research? What is the main purpose of respecting the ethical issues?
c) What has been the main purpose of undertaking interviews and providing short stories in his presentation? Recognize the different kinds of interviews and what are the weaknesses of each.