ccmh525 | Graduate

Research Methods For Mental Health Counselors

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This course provides an overview of the fundamentals of research and evaluation in the counseling profession. Topics include critical analysis of research literature, statistical analysis, qualitative and quantitative research methods, needs assessment, and program evaluation. Emphasis is placed on understanding connections between research design, theories, and the utilization of results in the professional practice of counseling.

This graduate-level course is 8 This course is available as part of a degree or certificate program. To enroll, speak with an Enrollment Representative.

Course details:

Credits: 3
Continuing education units: XX
Professional development units: XX
Duration: 8

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    Experimental Design

    • Define confounding variable and provide an example.
    • Define manipulation check and provide an example showing its importance.
    • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the posttest-only design and the pretest-posttest design.
    • Define and explain the differences between an independent groups design and a repeated measures design.
    • Discuss different types of independent variables used in experimental research.
    • Define sensitivity and discuss its potential effects on the dependent variable.
    • Explain how both participant and experimenter expectations can affect outcomes.
    • Explain the function of a pilot test.
    • Review independent and dependent variables and the defining features of the experiment.
    • Review independent and dependent variables and the defining features of the experiment.

    Program Evaluation, Needs Assessment, Single-Case and Quasi-experimental Designs

    • Describe the value of program evaluation research to the counseling profession.
    • Discuss interrupted time series and control series designs.
    • Discuss the advantages of having a control group.
    • Describe and discuss the following types of evaluation: needs assessment, program assessment, process evaluation, outcome evaluation, and efficacy assessment.
    • Describe single-case designs and when they are most useful.
    • Provide examples of one-group posttest-only designs and one-group pretest-posttest designs.
    • Discuss the limitations of one-group posttest-only designs and one-group pretest-posttest designs.
    • Provide examples of nonequivalent control group designs.
    • Explain the differences between longitudinal, cross-sectional, and sequential research designs.

    Skills for Evaluation of Research Articles

    • Describe the main sections of a typical research article, including the abstract, introduction, method, results, and discussion sections.
    • Define steps to critically evaluate research articles.
    • Identify appropriate sources of research articles, including library databases.

    Statistics, Part I: Description and Correlation

    • Review scales of measurement.
    • Define descriptive statistics.
    • Explain how research results can be simply described by comparing group percentages, correlating individual scores, and comparing means.
    • Describe a frequency distribution and how it can be displayed.
    • Discuss measures of central tendency and variability.
    • Define a correlation coefficient.
    • Define effect size.
    • Explain how multiple regression techniques are used to predict behavior.

    Variables, Measurement, and Instrumentation

    • Describe different relationships between variables—positive, negative, curvilinear, and no relationship.
    • Describe construct, internal, and external validity.
    • Distinguish between correlation and causation.
    • Define reliability as it relates to the measurement of behavior.
    • Define and describe scales of measurement.
    • Describe the problem of reactivity in measurement.
    • Discuss and define variables in research.
    • Examine the process of inferring causality from research data.
    • Identify and examine operational definitions of research variables.

    Complex Experimental Designs

    • Distinguish between main effects and interactions.
    • Define an IV x PV design and provide an example.
    • Discuss how moderator variables can influence results.
    • Discuss the advantages of using a factorial design.
    • Define a factorial design and provide an example.

    Statistics, Part II: Inference

    • Define probability and discuss how it relates to the concept of statistical significance.
    • Describe the t-test.
    • Describe the F-test.
    • Explain the concept of power as it relates to statistical tests.
    • Define inferential statistics.
    • Describe how inferential statistics allow researchers to draw conclusions about populations based on sample data.
    • Review the differences between the null and the research hypothesis.
    • Describe the criteria that counselors can use to select the best statistical test for a given purpose.
    • Differentiate between Type I and Type II errors.

    Observational Methods and Survey Research

    • Compare qualitative and quantitative methods of behavioral research.
    • Define survey research and discuss when it is most appropriate.
    • Describe different survey administration methods, including questionnaires, interviews, and Internet methods.
    • Define interviewer bias.
    • Discuss issues to consider when constructing a survey.
    • Discuss the relationship between sample size and survey results.
    • Distinguish between probability and nonprobability sampling techniques.
    • Describe techniques used to evaluate samples for potential bias.

    Ethics in Research

    • Discuss ethical issues involved when conducting research on multicultural issues.
    • Discuss the function of internal review boards (IRBs).
    • Identify ethical issues in research specifically related to the counseling profession.

    Generalizing Results

    • Discuss the growing need for evidence-based practice and demonstration of results.
    • Review the concept of using inferential statistics to draw conclusions about populations based on sample data.
    • Discuss the concept of “generalizability,” or external validity.
    • Discuss potential problems, such as those related to using college students as participants in research studies.
    • Discuss potential problems related to the generalization of results to different cultures or ethnic groups.
    • Discuss the importance of replication in research.
    • Describe literature reviews and meta-analyses and discuss their usefulness to practitioners.
    • Summarize the main points of the course, emphasizing the importance of research to the counseling profession.

    Introduction to Research and the Scientific Method

    • Define and examine the scientific method and the steps of the research process.
    • Discuss research questions and forms of hypotheses.
    • Define theory and discuss the functions of theory.
    • Discuss the use of research to inform evidence-based practices.
    • Articulate the relationships among theory, practice, and research in the counseling profession.
    • Define research and discuss the relevancy and application of research in the counseling profession.
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