Sample Psychology Case Study on Methods of Data Collection in Qualitative Research: Interviews and Focus Groups

Abstract

The paper focuses on how the current school systems delivery models of counselling are moving from an individual to a program, policy and planning focus. It will analyze the data collection methods to be used in collecting information about the indispline cases in the school. Additionally, the composition of the team to initiate change in the school will be discussed. The resources needed to solve the short-term and long-term needs will be identified and appropriate policies evaluated. Finally, the paper will discuss how the programs will be implemented and the likely challenges during implementation.

Introduction

Delivery models of counseling are moving from individuals to a policy, program, and planning processes. The policies aim at providing guidance on how to achieve the set objectives of the model. They help in linking the organization’s vision with the operations that it intends to carry out. Additionally, the policies assist the decision makers when formulating strategies, which help in the handling of the issues as they arise. Formulation of policies can only be realized by providing the policy implementers with limits, and the choices that are available to guide them in the decision-making and overcome the existing problems. Programs initiated are supposed to stipulate how the arising problem would be solved, and the different stakeholders that are to be involved in the policy formulation and implementation. Furthermore, help identify the responsibilities that each stakeholder should shoulder, and how they should go about their duties easily and quickly. Written policies help organizations when challenged in court by the outsiders. Written programs are essential in organizations because they reveal the amount of money available for projects, stakeholders expected to be involved, and the procedure to be followed by the policy formulation and implementation. Additionally, the policy formulators take into account challenges that may be encountered during policy development or in the rest of process.

Data Collection

The school can opt to collect data on its own or seek assistance from an external consultant. Data collection will ensure that it has enough information to make a well-versed decision on how to proceed. Data should be collected using appropriate data collection techniques that ensure that unnecessary information is not collected. Additionally, data gathered should be protected to ensure reliability and credibility. Six steps will be followed by the team during data collection, and they would include; issue identification, issue selection, planning an approach and methods, data collection, analyzing and interpreting the data, and acting on the results (Gill et al., 2008 p.292).  It is vital to conduct an internal and external assessment to understand what is happening inside and outside the school. The school might offer directions on what issues should be explored in addition to how data should be collected. This step may involve exploring the cultures of the schools, their history, how decisions are made, mandates, goals, and core values, systems of discipline, and the recruitment process of the peer counselors. In addition, the perception of the school by the communities will be considered. Additionally, selection of the issues from the list of priorities after the internal and external assessment will be undertaken. Goals should be set after the selection of the problem. The goal depends on a guess of what is happening in the schools that can be tested using data collection tools. This section can also entail brainstorming questions that are answerable.

When planning approaches and methods to be used, the team will make decisions about people to be surveyed, the sources of data, the procedure of data collection, and duration of data collection among others. Consultation with the experts will be relevant at this stage in which case, the size, resources, complexity, and purpose of the problem selected will be considered. Focused group discussions will be held with the students in the peer counseling club, students who have ever been suspended from school, and the student leaders. Additionally, teachers in the peer counseling department, the head of school, and parents of suspended students will be involved in the discussion to help get more information about the cause of indiscipline cases. They will also be interviewed independently. Additionally, the opinion of the other boards of directors, parents union, and management committees should be put into consideration during the entire exercise (Gill et al., 291).  Data collected should be interpreted and analyzed. In this case, the school will determine whether it can analyze and interpret data or seek the assistance of an expert. Findings will help the school decide whether to act on the data or collect more of the same data.

Needs

Data collected showed that there are many cases of indiscipline in the school that ranges from abuse of drugs, violent strikes, increased incidents of bullying, and damage of the school’s facilities by students among others. Data collected revealed that despite the efforts taken by the peer counseling teachers, student leaders, parents, and the community leaders to counsel students, these acts still exist. Additionally, the research indicated that students conduct these acts because of lack of involvement in decision making by the school. Furthermore, they perform these acts because of the institutional challenges they face in the school, for instance, lack of water, poor hygiene, and lack of certain equipment and structures. School’s structure also contributes to the high in discipline cases, since they have to follow certain channels before reaching the senior administrators of the school. Core values, vision, and mission of the school do not play a vital role in shaping the discipline of the students. It is thus important to formulate policies, which will help reduce the increasing indiscipline cases in the school. The school has to establish policies and structures, which ensure that the students have a conducive environment for learning.

Collaborative Team

A meeting will be held by the student leaders, teachers in the counseling department, school head, community leaders, a consultant, and five parents of the suspended students. They will brain storm and develop plans to resolve the indiscipline issue in the school. This committee will also come up with appropriate policies to address the issue. The student leaders will present the grievances of the students and what the students would want done to minimize the indiscipline cases. The parents will be allowed to air their opinion on the possible causes of the indiscipline cases in the school and the possible programs they think should be initiated to reduce these cases. Additionally, the community leaders and the school head will inform the government about the intended programs and what assistance they would want. Furthermore, they will seek the support of external donors to help in the establishment of certain structures in the schools and purchase the required facilities. The consultant will advise the teachers, parents, and the community leaders on the possible challenges that may arise when implementing the program and the estimated cost to be incurred during implementation of the particular programs. Furthermore, the consultant will give them advice on the legal procedure that should be followed before implementation of the given policies. Each member of the committee will be given a certain period to seek the opinion of the members they represent concerning the issue. After the consultation, they will hold a meeting and present feedback on the issue, including proposed programs.

Policies

The issues of ineffective governance, particularly by school head and teachers have been described as primary causes of the indiscipline cases in the school. One of the main reasons for the ineffectiveness of governance is the lack of coordination and trust among the teachers in the counseling department and the students (Halász and Michel, 2011 p.302).  In addition, lack of cooperation between the counseling department and the student welfare department has also played a key role in the increasing indiscipline cases. It is thus important to establish committees, which will monitor the coordination of the school administrators and the students. Officials of the departments, which do not coordinate, will be demoted.

Participatory decision-making needs to be adopted. All the stakeholders including the students should be involved in making decisions. The opinion of each stakeholder should be considered before policy formulation and implementation (Halász and Michel, 2011 p.300). The students, being the primary stakeholders, will be allowed to present the issues that they would want to be addressed by the government or the school. Student representatives would be elected to represent the students at the meetings and present grievances on behalf of the students.  Additionally, the school should seek financial support from the government and donors. Finances obtained will help solve the institutional challenges, which are prevalent in the school. These problems include lack of water, essential facilities such as brooms, stationeries, sanitation, and enough teachers among others. More teachers will be employed, tanks and stationeries will be purchased, and the sanitation in the school improved. The school’s motto, vision, and core values should be evaluated and focus more on the conduct by the students. They should portray the positive values that each student is expected to adopt. Through adoption of the positive values, the students acquire discipline and can express and present their grievances in the right way.

Resources

The action plan will help the counseling department teachers, peer-counseling students, and the parents turn their visions into reality, and increase the efficiency and accountability of the school. The action plan will entail the actions and changes that will occur, who will carry out the changes, resources needed to steer the changes. In addition, it will show how communication will be done in all the phases of implementing the changes (Quintero Corzo and Ramírez, 2011 p. 61).  Student leaders, head of school, teachers in the counseling department, parents of the suspended students, government, donors, and the community leaders will be involved in finding the solution for indiscipline cases in the school. Influential people in the society like the priests may also participate in the action plan. The planning group will include the teachers in counseling department, student leaders, community leaders, and priests who will be required to design the action plan. The group will discuss the strategies to reduce indiscipline in the school. Additionally, the target groups in this program will be the students, teachers, and head of school. The proposed solutions to each problem that cause students to indulge in indiscipline cases will be discussed.

The plan is to be carried out by the set committee. The coalition will work towards finding the funds to buy the required stationeries and facilities in the school. The committee will try to have the school motto evaluated within four weeks, and seek the financial support of the government and donors within eight weeks. Full implementation of the policies will be achieved within ten months. The committee will approach the donors and the government to request funding to purchase certain facilities. Additionally, expert labor will be required in the formulation of the new school motto. The other school board of directors should be availed with information about this planned change.

Plan Implementation

The students, teachers, head of school, and the other board of trustees will be notified of the policies to be implemented. The policies need to be clear and easy to interpret if they are to be applied effectively. Directions on how the policies are to be applied in the school should be elaborated. After the school stakeholders are notified of the intended plan, it will be implemented. Financial support from the government will be needed for the program to be implemented. The funds will be used after that to purchase stationeries and other facilities that are a requirement in the school.

Plan Evaluation

Formative evaluation will help in analyzing how the policies are implemented with the aim of enhancing discipline among students. Summative evaluation will be conducted after the policies have been fully implemented to look at whether the programs met their objectives and why or why not (Tian and Shen, 2011 p.15).  Evaluation is necessary to determine whether the policies are controversial or not. Evaluation will reveal whether the number of indiscipline cases has reduced in the school and how the students have benefited from the policies. Students are also asked whether they like the programs implemented and how they can be improved.

Conclusion

It is evident that the process of plan formulation and implementation requires the support of different stakeholders. Policy formulation requires proposed action about how the particular issue will be handled. Resources to be used in the planned action should be considered and discussions held by the change makers. Appropriate techniques and methods should be used to ensure that only relevant information is collected. All stakeholders are informed about the set policies before they are implemented. After the implementation, the system implemented should be evaluated to determine whether it has solved the problems that occurred during policy implementation period. Policy analysis helps the decision makers in making the best choices and ensuring the outcome among alternatives.

Bibliography

Gill, P., Stewart, K., Treasure, E. and Chadwick, B., 2008. Methods of data collection in qualitative research: interviews and focus groups. British dental journal204(6), pp.291-295.

Halász, G. and Michel, A., 2011. Key Competences in Europe: interpretation, policy formulation and implementation. European Journal of Education46(3), pp.289-306.

Quintero Corzo, J. and Ramírez Contreras, O., 2011. Understanding and facing discipline-related challenges in the English as a foreign language classroom at public schools. Profile Issues in TeachersProfessional Development13(2), pp.59-72.

Tian, L. and Shen, T., 2011. Evaluation of plan implementation in the transitional China: A case of Guangzhou city master plan. Cities28(1), pp.11-27.