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Introductory comments.

The genesis of this special issue was an informal conversation among members of the editorial board of Professional School Counseling (PSC) over the paucity of quality school counseling research. The topic was so germane at the time given the recent publication of the ASCA National Model[R] (American School Counselor Association, 2005) and its emphasis on school counselor accountability and the use of data to support best practice. Richard Lapan, PSC's past editor, and the others around the table thought it was time for our professional journal to assist practitioners with the challenging task of conducting research. As a result, what readers will see in this issue is a collection of first-rate articles that covers a fairly wide variety of research-related topics and issues. The opening piece by Eder and Whiston, for instance, provides a useful example of how a large group of studies can be synthesized; from this literature review, school counselors then can make decisions about how valuable psychotherapy is for their students. However, without counselor educators and practitioners conducting these studies in the first place, school counselors would continue to refer students to outside counseling believing and trusting that psychotherapy does make a difference in students' lives, but not really knowing for sure.

In the next section of this issue, articles are included that consider different facets of research. Ware and Galassi's piece reviews the use of correlational approaches in school counseling research, and Bauman's article discusses comparison group studies. Subsequently, the how-to's of qualitative investigations (Farber), the value of action research (Rowell), and methods to design effective research tools (Studer, Oberman, & Womack) are explored. McDougall and Smith's article gives practitioners advice on how to conduct studies with small sample sizes, and Sink and Stroh provide help with determining the practical significance of research studies through the use of effect-size estimates. Prior to Brigman's final review that summarizes the key points made in each article, two articles highlight various resources available to potential investigators and program evaluators. Sabella reviews the work of the ASCA National School Counseling Research Center, and Carey and Dimmitt outline the work of the Center for School Counseling Research. The contributors to this special issue believe these articles will be genuinely useful to school counseling researchers and practitioners alike. I think PSC readers will agree.

Reference

American School Counselor Association. (2005). The ASCA national model: A framework for school counseling programs (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Author.

Christopher A. Sink, Ph.D., NCC, LMHC, is a professor and chair with the School of Education, Seattle Pacific University, WA. E-mail: csink@spu.edu
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Author:Sink, Christopher A.
Publication:Professional School Counseling
Date:Jun 1, 2006
Words:428
Previous Article:Collaborative relationships: school counselors and non-school mental health professionals working together to improve the mental health needs of...
Next Article:Does psychotherapy help some students? An overview of psychotherapy outcome research.


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