Sunday, September 16, 2007

Introduction to The Strathclyde Diploma Course Study

Entry for 17 September 2007:

This text introduces Research Input 1 for the Parttime Diploma Course, which involves completing the pretest for the Diploma Course Study.

The Strathclyde Diploma Course Study was approved by the Departmental Ethics Committee in August and is being initiated with this year’s entering classes on the Fulltime and Monday Parttime Counselling Diploma Courses. This week, the Monday Parttime Course begins, so the pre-test is being given to this group of students during their initial intensive week.

The study has been initiated by Julie Folkes-Skinner, from the University of Leicester, as part of her dissertation research, in collaboration with a local coordination team consisting of Tracey Sanders, Beth Freire and Robert Elliott.

The main research questions being addressed by the study are as follows:
-How do counselling trainees change over the course of their training?
-What kinds of changes do they experience, personal and professional?
-What training processes do they find most helpful?
-What training processes do they find unhelpful or even hindering?
-How do these changes unfold over time?
-What effects, if any, are apparent in their work with clients?
This research is important questions for several reasons:
1. They can be used to improve counselling training.
2. They can be used to support the continued training of students in person-centred counselling.
3. Taking part in the research will familiarize students with research methods, including common quantitative and qualitative data collection tools and research designs.
4. All of this will help prepare us for emerging government regulation, which is likely to involve increased training in research and evaluation methods and the use of evidence based training methods.
Because this is research, we cannot require you to take part; however, we believe that you will find the research tools to be useful and educational. You may find some of them useful when you begin your counselling practice. If you choose not to take part, we nevertheless ask you to either read over the various forms carefully or even to fill them out without turning them in.

This study is just one level of larger study:
1. Quantitative pre-post study: This is the first part of this level; there are three more parts, one right before you begin seeing clients, one at the end of Year 1, and a final posttest at the end of Year 2
2. Qualitative post-test study: We’ll ask for 8 – 10 volunteers to be interviewed at the end of Year 1 and at the end of Year 2. Let us know if you’re interested in doing this.
3. Intensive case study: We’ll ask for 2 volunteers (probably one from each course) to see clients in the Counselling Unit’s new research clinic as part of their of their counselling opportunity and to be interviewed every month or two during each year of the course. We will track the clients you see while you are working there.

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