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There are very different views of what types of evidence are most

There are very different views of what types of evidence are most credible in evaluating the effectiveness of psychological treatment research. In this discussion you will analyze basic applied psychological research as well as evaluate how researchers applied a research process in the development of specific components. To begin, read the following articles (which can be accessed through the ProQuest database in the Ashford University Library): 

  • ?Practice-Based Evidence: Back to the Future?
  • ?Psychological Treatments: Putting Evidence into Practice and Practice into Evidence?

After reading the articles listed above, analyze the basic applied research within each of your two selected articles by answering the following questions:

  • What is the main point-of-view in each article? 
  • What are the primary assumptions each author makes?
  • Which author are you inclined to agree with?  Support your choice with scholarly reasoning and cite your evidence. 

You are required to include one peer-reviewed source that was published within the last five years to support your perspective.  You may not use any of the sources that were assigned for this course.  For assistance finding articles view the ?Searching for Articles? and the ?Peer-Reviewed Articles? tutorials which are available underTutorialson theGetting Research Helptab at the top of the Ashford University Library homepage.

from the editors



Practice-Based Evidence:


Back to the Future


Larry K. Brendtro, Martin L. Mitchell, & James Doncaster



Researchers are shifting from the medical model of studying treatments, to a practicebased model focusing on the nature and needs of a person in a therapeutic relationship.


As seen from the articles in this special issue, this has been a central tenet of Re-ED


since founded by Nicholas Hobbs fifty years ago.



simply, such policies are


based on shaky science.


Certainly there is no shortage of evidence that some


methods are destructive,


like withholding treatment


or placing traumatized kids


in toxic environments. But


a wide variety of therapeutic interventions can have


a positive impact if conducted within a trusting




There are two very different views of what evidence


is most important.


Research in the traditional


medical model compares a


proposed treatment with


alternates or a placebo. If a


prescribed number of pubJames Doncaster, guest editor


lished studies give a statistical edge, the treatment is


anointed as ?evidence-based.? This is followed


onfusion abounds about what qualifies as


by endorsements from the National Institute of


?evidence? of effective interventions. The


Health, the Department of Education, or other


president of the American Psychology Associaauthoritative bodies.


tion [APA] notes that ?much of the research that


guides evidence-based practice is too inaccessible, overwhelming, and removed from practice?


Providing lists of curative treatments may work for


(Goodheart, 2010, p. 9). Yet lists of evidence-based


medicine, but this is not how to find what works in


treatments are being used to control funding in


complex therapeutic relationships. Mental health


treatment, human services, and education. Stated


research has shown that the process of enshrining






winter 2011 volume 19, number 4 | 5



specific treatment models as evidence-based is based


on flawed science (Chan, Hróbjartsson, Haahr,


Gøtzsche, & Altman, 2004). Dennis Gorman


(2008) of Texas A & M University documents similar problems with school-based substance abuse


and violence prevention research which he calls


scientific nonsense.


Julia Littell (2010) of the Campbell Coalition


documents dozens of ways that sloppy science is


being used to elevate specific treatments to evidence based status. Here are just a few of these


research flaws:


Allegiance Effect:


Studies produced by advocates of a particular


method are positively biased.


File Cabinet Effect:


Studies showing failure or no effects are tucked


away and not submitted for publication.


Pollyanna Publishing Effect:


Professional journals are much more likely to publish


studies that show positive effects and reject those that


do not.


Replication by Repetition Effect:


Reviewers rely heavily on recycling findings cited


by others, confusing rumor and repetition with




Silence the Messenger Effect:


Those who raise questions about the scientific base


of studies are met with hostility and ad hominem




When researchers account for such biases, a clear


pattern emerges. Widely touted evidence-based treatments turn out to be no better or no worse than other approaches. Solid science speaks?success does not lie


in the specific method but in common factors, the


most important being the helping relationship.



expertise to target client characteristics including


problems, strengths, culture, and motivation


(APA, 2006). Research and evaluation measure


progress and provide feedback on the quality of the


therapeutic alliance (Duncan, Miller, Wampold, &


Hubble, 2010).



Instead of the study of


treatments, the child now


takes center stage.


Re-ED is rooted in practice-based evidence. It taps


a rich tradition of research, provides tools for direct work with youth, and tailors interventions to


the individual child in an ecosystem (Cantrell &


Cantrell, 2007; Freado, 2010). Fifty years after they


were developed by Nicholas Hobbs and colleagues,


the Re-ED principles offer a still-current map for


meeting modern challenges. Re-ED does not impose a narrowly prescribed regimen of treatment,


but uses human relationships to change the world


one child at a time.



Larry K. Brendtro, PhD, is Dean of the Starr Institute for Training and co-editor of this journal with


Martin L. Mitchell, EdD, President and CEO of


Starr Commonwealth, Albion, Michigan. They can be


contacted via email at [email protected]


James Doncaster, MA, is the senior director of organizational development at Pressley Ridge in Pittsburgh,


Pennsylvania, and is guest editor of this special issue


on the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Re-ED. He


may be contacted at [email protected]



Re-ED uses human relationships


to change the world


one child at a time.


Our field is in ferment as the focus of research is


shifting. Instead of the study of treatments, the


child now takes center stage. The practice-based


model focuses on the nature and needs of an individual in an ecology (Brendtro & Mitchell, 2010).


Effective interventions use research and practice



6 | reclaiming children and youth





APA Presidential Task Force on Evidence-Based Practice.


(2006). Evidence-based practice in psychology. American Psychologist, 61(4), 271-285.


Brendtro, L., & Mitchell, M. (2010). Weighing the evidence:


From chaos to consilience. Reclaiming Children and


Youth, 19(2), 3-9.


Cantrell, R., & Cantrell, M. (2007). Helping troubled children


and youth. Memphis, TN: American Re-Education Association.


Chan, A., Hróbjartsson, A., Haahr, M., Gøtzsche, P., & Altman, D. (2004). Empirical evidence for selective reporting of outcomes in randomized trials: Comparison of


protocols to published articles. JAMA, 291, 2457-2465.



Duncan, B., Miller, S., Wampold, B., & Hubble, M, (Eds.).


(2010). The heart and soul of change, second edition: Delivering what works in therapy. Washington, DC: American


Psychological Association.


Freado, M. (2010). Measuring the impact of Re-ED. Reclaiming Children and Youth, 19(2), 28-31.


Goodheart, C. (2010). The education you need to know.


Monitor on Psychology, 41(7), 9.


Gorman, D. (2008), Science, pseudoscience, and the need


for practical knowledge. Addiction, 103, 1752?1753.


Littell, J. (2010). Evidence-based practice: Evidence or orthodoxy. In B. Duncan, S. Miller, B. Wampold, & M. Hubble


(Eds.), The heart and soul of change, second edition: Delivering what works in therapy. Washington, DC: American


Psychological Association.





Trust between a child and adult is essential, the foundation on which all other principles rest.


Life is to be lived now, not in the past, and lived in the future only as a present challenge.


Competence makes a difference, and children should be good at something, especially at school.


Time is an ally, working on the side of growth in a period of development.


Self-control can be taught and children and adolescents helped to manage their behavior.


Intelligence can be taught to cope with challenges of family, school and community.


Feelings should be nurtured, controlled when necessary, explored with trusted others.


The group is very important to young people, and it can be a major source of instruction in growing up.


Ceremony and ritual give order, stability, and confidence to troubled children and adolescence.


The body is the armature of the self, around which the psychological self is constructed.


Communities are important so youth can participate and learn to serve.


A child should know some joy in each day.


Hobbs, N. (1982). The troubled and troubling child. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.



winter 2011 volume 19, number 4 | 7



Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.




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