Community psychology refers to the applied study of the relationship between social systems and individual well being in community settings. On the other hand, clinical psychology focuses on the assessment, treatment, and understanding of psychological and behavioral problems and disorders. As a perspective community, psychology views the person in ecological context as a part of interrelated social systems. Compared to community psychology, clinical psychology attempts to use the principles of psychology to better understand, predict and alleviate intellectual, emotional, biological, social and behavioral aspects of human functioning (Plante 5).
Rappaport and Seidman say that community psychology is concerned with reducing the amount of psychopathology in the population at large (104). Those who tackle the issue of community psychology are guided by a strong etiological hypothesis that psychosocial stress is important in the causation of psychopathology (Rappaport and Seidman 104). Clinical psychology deals with the ways in which the human psyche interacts with physical, emotional and social aspects of health and dysfunction (Plante 5).
What historical factors lead to the development of community psychology as a field?
The development of community psychology traces back in 1960s in the USA in the period of civil unrest. Some psychologist felt that the traditional perspectives offered limited ways of attempting to understand and help people. The traditional mainstream perspectives to mental health did not focus on understanding human behavior (Rappaport and Seidman 107). The methods used traditionally and practices fall short of psychology’s goal of trying to understand and change a range of human behaviors across a range of contexts and cultures. The traditional perspectives ignore important environmental influences on human behavior. Also in traditional perspective, people’s motives, feelings and thoughts are ignored too. The traditional perspective on psychology ignores the influences of daily struggles of living on people’s behavior.
Why is studying environments so important?
Environment is important in both psychological and clinical psychology, because psychologists try to understand the importance of contexts for people’s lives and work to change the environments to be more supportive. Environment is fundamental, because the majority of people tend to notice aspects of environments most clearly when they are in a new setting. Environmental context posits some model of mutual reciprocity in which persons affect circumstance. The physical environment provides an important insight into ideal person and environment matches, a relational construct important to a community psychology perspective. Environments trigger and inhibit specific patterns of social behavior, cognitions, and learning.
How do community psychologists balance individual responsibility with social context?
Community psychologists achieve balance between individual responsibility with social context by balancing between rights and responsibilities and collective issues. Fox and Prilleltensky (181) indicated that advancement empowerment is a way of achieving balance between needs and rights. Community psychologists should explore the philosophy of communitarians, which espouses a balance between rights and responsibilities (Fox and Prilleltensky 181). This helps to undermine the domination of the liberal individualist tradition. Community psychologists balance individual responsibility with social context through communitarianism, which emphasizes social responsibility and the collective good in the pursuit of social justice.
Compare and contrast the progressive period with the conservative period
In progressive periods, Duncan (29) says that there was a tendency to conceptualize psychosocial problems in systematic, social and environmental terms while in more conservative periods and contexts; there were social and political trends, which conceptualized in terms of individual variables. Progressive times are marked by optimism about the possibility of lessening social problems, for example, poverty, drug abuse, crime, psychological disorders and the educational and behavioral problems. In progressive period, social causes of psychological issues are addressed through community or social interventions. On the other hand, conservative periods are associated with pessimism about whether social problems can be lessened or to the belief that individual changes are more important than wide social change.
For example, community psychology in the United States came up during the progressive periods of 1960s. It emphasized social and economic root causes of social problems. The differences between progressive and conservative periods lie between individualistic and environmental perspectives.
Compare and contrast external and internal validity give examples.
External validity refers to the ability to use the results of a study in other conditions while internal validity is the extent to which the research condition is controlled so that independent variable causes an effect or change in the dependent variable (Berg and Latin 183). A study design with external validity produces results that apply to the study’s target population. For example, an externally valid survey of the preferences of airline passengers over 45 years of age means that the findings apply to all airline passengers of that age. An example of an internal validity is measurements of blood hemoglobin must distinguish accurately participants with anemia as defined in the study. In this context analysis of the blood in a different laboratory may produce different results, because of systematic errors, but evaluation of associations with anemia as measured by one laboratory may still be internally valid.
A research has internal validity if it is free from nonrandom error or bias. This implies that a study design must be internally valid in order to be externally valid. So as to attain high internal validity, a research design must be able to control as many extraneous variables as possible, and should deal with issues such as history, maturation, regression to the mean, test effects, experimental mortality and selection bias. It is important to note that internal and external validity are related in that research designs with internal validity and they often have low external validity and vice versa. Research, which takes place within more controlled environments have high internal validity, but they may be so far removed from everyday reality that they external validity is low.
You have been asked by a local school district to interpret the findings of a project to examine bullying in school. The study is correlational in nature. What are the strengths and limitations of this approach?
Correlational research seeks causes of behavior by looking for conclusions. This type of research seeks functional relationships between variable. It is important to note that calculating correlations among variables does not make the research correlational in the strict sense. McBurney and White say that correlational research is commonly used, because of inability to manipulate some variable independently (220).
The advantage of using correlational research is that it describes the relationship between two measured variables. The research allows us to make predictions from one variable to another (Jackson 148). This implies that if two variables are correlated, we can predict from one variable to the other with a certain degree of accuracy. Another advantage of using correlational research is that it is used when it is impractical and ethically impossible to do an experimental research (Jackson 148). The major disadvantage of correlational research is that it cannot determine the cause of the relationship between the two variables. This type of research cannot rule out the possibility that a third, unmeasured variable is causing the changes in both variables being studied (Jackson 148).
List your recommendations on how to improve this study so that the studies in the future show causality that the study design actually reduced bullying in the school. What are your recommendations?
In the future, the study should measure the attitudes, beliefs, values or behaviors of student who bully others in the school. The study should measure the correlation between the rate of bullying compared to age, race and gender. Also the study should investigate whether students who were spanked by their parents are more likely to bully other students in the school and to view spanking as a way of encouraging or discouraging children from being physically aggressive.
The future correlational study on bullying should consider increasing the size and heterogeneity of the sample of students who experience bullying and those who bully others. Since size affects the results of a correlational study. Future study should feature wide variability in scores, which is helpful in a correlational study, because it allows one to see the patterns of bullying among the variables for high, middle and low scores.
Compare and contrast qualitative vs. quantitative methods and what are the strengths and limitations of each.
Qualitative research is data collection method that allows access to in-depth feedback about or from subjects and situation. Boxill, Chambers and Wint say that the advantages of qualitative research is that it allows for investigation of highly sensitive issues, enables comprehensive subjective evaluation based on interpersonal interaction over an extended period (45). The disadvantages of qualitative research are that it relies primarily on subjective assessments in data phase and uses much smaller units than quantitative techniques. Another disadvantage of qualitative research is that its cab be easily misused, misunderstood as a result of relative naturalness of methods (Boxill, Chambers and Wint 45).
While qualitative study cannot provide information about frequencies of occurrence, prevalence quantitative research provides such information (Boxill, Chambers and Wint 46). The advantage of using quantitative research is based on norms within a given population, and the method assesses, predicts and reports on such indicators using statistical analyses related mainly on rules of probability. The disadvantage of using quantitative research is that it is relatively inflexible after the process has been initiated, with limited options for change in structure, for components and methodology (Boxill, Chambers and Wint 46)
Compare and contrast the retrospective design with the prospective design which is better in determining causality.
Retrospective study design investigates a phenomenon, situation, problem or issue that has happened in the past. Kumar says that they are normally conducted either on the basis of the data available for that period or on basis of respondents recall of the situation (111). On the other hand, prospective studies refer to the likely prevalence of a phenomenon, situation, problem, attitude or outcome in the future (Kumar 111). This type of study attempts to establish the outcome of an event or what is likely to happen. Experiments are usually classified as prospective studies as a researcher must wait for an intervention to register its effects on the study population. Both prospective and retrospective studies focus on past trends in a phenomenon and study in the future.
Prospective studies are used for ascertaining exposure outcome status. In this type of study, follow-up are planned and implemented for the purpose of the specific study being conducted. Prospective studies are better for determining causality, because they can be used under filed conditions to measure the impact of maternal and child health services on the level of infant mortality. In this case, prospective study can be used to establish causalities associated with maternal and child health issues.
If you could conduct a research study to address heart disease which study (retrospective or prospective) design would you use and why. What would be the strengths and limitations of the design you selected?
In a study to address heart disease, prospective studies will be more appropriate. Therefore, a cohort of individuals using this method of study is followed over an extended time such as one, five and ten year period. The potential risk factors and outcomes are collected from each particular participant during this time at a regularly scheduled interval. The prospective study design allows individuals to collect data using as structured schedule and allows the investigator to observe whether changes in heart beat rates and other potential risk factors precede changes in specific outcomes.
The advantage of using prospective study is that the methods of ensuring exposure and outcomes status and follow-up are organized and implemented for the purpose of the specific study being conducted. The prospective study enables the research to use interviews, questionnaires, examinations and tests to address the specific research questions about heart disease. The advantage with this is that it enables the categorization based on the point in the analytical process that the study begins. The limitation of using this type of study is that it involves a lot of time and resources that are required to conduct the study. The study is likely to take a long period of time to conduct and it is costly.
Define evaluation. How does evaluation and research differ? How are they the similar?
Evaluation is defined as a methodological activity that consists of simply the gathering and combining of performance data with a weighted set of goal scales to come up with either comparative or numerical ratings. Evaluation is preferably comparative, by implication; it looks at comparative costs as well as benefits. It also concerns how best to meet the needs of consumers. Donaldson and Scriven also defined evaluation as the systematic determination of the merit, worth and significance of something (176). ”Evaluation is selective exercise that attempts to systematically and objectively assess progress towards and the achievement of an outcome” (UNDP). This implies that it is not a onetime event.
Research, on the other hand, refers to the method of study that through careful investigation of all resources bearing on a definable problem arrives at a solution. The results of a research must be presented in a clear and concise way so that anyone can follow the process without having to repeat any steps (Donaldson and Scriven 178). Research and evaluation have a great deal in common. Guskey (44) says that they both encompass systematic inquiry in order to gain new knowledge. Both research and evaluation use quantitative and qualitative methodologies to address specific questions. Research and evaluation involve analysis of data and the reporting of findings. The major difference is that while research seeks conclusions, evaluation leads to decisions. Also, research clarifies relationships among two or more variables while evaluation describes a particular thing in a unique context (Guskey 44).
Name some benefits of conducting an evaluation
One of the advantages of using evaluation is that it helps in determining merit or worth. Evaluation helps individual to judge the accuracy, credibility, utility, feasibility and propriety of a particular issue under study (Guskey 44). Another advantage of evaluation is that it is generally conducted for a well-defined audience or group of people, for example, in a classroom. Evaluation according to Guskey (45) is beneficial, because it is typically time bound, with specific times established up front for start-up, duration, and completion.
What are some of the challenges associated with conducting an evaluation?
Evaluation requires the use of a wide range of inquiry perspectives and techniques in order to answer specific questions or to address particular problems. Guskey says that evaluation requires an interdisciplinary education in order to be sensitive to the wide range of phenomena to which they must attend (45).
You have been asked by a local agency to help them evaluate how satisfied people are with their services. What kind of evaluation is this and what would you do to help them make their program better?
The most appropriate type of evaluation, in this case, is program evaluation. This type of evaluation will help them to reflect the extent to which that evaluation was governed by scientific principles. Chen says that program evaluation exhibits varying degrees of stakeholder credibility (8). This type of evaluation will enable them to reflect the extent to which they believe the evaluation design gives serious consideration to their views, concerns and needs. Evaluators in this type of evaluation are able to achieve a balance of credibility and worthiness of the program.