Psychological Intervention Research Techniques Essay

3166 words - 13 pages

This assignment presents an analysis of various Intervention research techniques. Given that Randomized Control Trials are considered to be a gold standard for testing the efficiency and efficacy of interventions, the main focus of this assignment will be on the value of other types of intervention research techniques. For the sake of convenience most of the examples in this assignment will focus on interventions for schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a disorder which is characterized by disturbances in the content of thought, perception, affect, sense of self, motivation, and behaviour. This dysfunction causes profound disruption in the individuals life thus there is a tremendous need to develop effective interventions for individuals with Schizophrenia (Halgin & Whitbourne, 2010). The initial part of the assignment will consist of a brief description of Randomized Control Trials and their advantages and disadvantages. The next section will present a critical analysis of various other Intervention Research Techniques that include various group based approaches and Ideographic approaches to intervention research.

Randomized Control Trials (RCT) is a quantitative experimental design that can be used to evaluate the efficacy of an intervention. In an RCT participants are randomly allocated to receive either one of the interventions or the placebo, and the groups are compared on various outcome measures to ascertain the effectiveness of the intervention (Stolberg, Norman & Trop, 2004). RCT is the only known research design which employs random assignment of participants to omit any systematic differences between the groups other than the independent variable thus overcoming the selection bias(Lovelock, Mathews, Murphy, 2010). Another strength of RCT is the inclusion of a control group, enabling one to determine whether the source of the therapeutic change is the intervention or confounding factors. Randomization and Inclusion of a control group renders RCT as a gold standard in intervention research, however RCT does have some methodological issues. RCT is ill suited to study interventions for rare disorders; this is because RCTs require large sample sizes in order to get statistically significant results especially if the outcome being studied has a very small effect size (Stolberg et. al.). RCTs focus on the effects of an intervention, there is a lack of information about the process of bringing about the therapeutic changes thus RCT is not a suitable research method to determine the efficacy of different parts of the intervention (Clay, 2010). A major criticism against RCTs is the lack of External Validity. RCTs rely on Volunteer participants, those who volunteer may differ from the target population in terms of their motivation to improve, the severity of the disorder etc., some RCT studies choose participants from a particular treatment facility who may differ from the target population, as a result the findings of RCTs may lack external...

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