By Tatyanna Carman and Gabrielle Waid
Research methods professor for the counseling undergraduate program, Christina Peterson along with two graduate students had their article, “A National Survey of Counselors’ Use of Five Types of Program Evaluation,” published in the national journal Counseling Outcomes Research and Evaluation.
Peterson collaborated with graduate students Kaitlyn Schmid ‘19 and René Kososki. The article revealed the factors and obstacles that kept counselors from conducting research, according to Peterson.
“I thought that would enable me to construct the course a little bit different to address some of those obstacles,” Peterson said. “So that was really what we were doing, trying to understand where they run into real obstacles and what we need to be doing as counselor educators to help them overcome them, so they can actually engage in evidence based practice.”
She chose the two students based on their capabilities and perspectives. Schmid works as a school counselor while Kososki works in a clinical setting, according to Peterson. Peterson had been working on the article three years prior to recruiting Schmid and Kososki for further research in February 2019. Schmid said that the process took eight months, including, “planning our roles, analyzing the data, solidifying our findings, writing up our work, editing and submitting it for publishing.” She also said that one of the obstacles that kept school counselors from conducting research was time and the main obstacle for clinical counselors was reimbursement.
“We found though, that the stigma of using research in practice has significantly lowered and more professionals are very open to using it in their daily practice. School counselors seemed to use more single case evaluations, tracking students over time while mental health and other counselors are doing more summative purposes,” she said.
Schmid also described how she felt once Peterson told her that the article was published in the national journal.
“I was ecstatic for many reasons. I was so happy and grateful for Dr. Peterson for recruiting me to do this research with her. It showed me I was capable of something I didn’t know I was,” she said. “It showed me that I can do further research to continue to advocate for my profession, which I plan on doing. And it was extremely exciting having my first article published because it is a very difficult but rewarding process.”
She also shared how the accomplishment affects the Rider community.
“I believe it shows how incredible Rider is, how incredible the professors are in the Rider community. Truly, you have a wonderful chance to build relationships with your professors, who in turn, believe and push you to step outside of your comfort zone, and help you succeed in doing so,” she said.
Peterson also said what she aspired for her students to gain from the experience.
“My hope is that they learn what the process really is from start to finish, it’s a long process,” she said. “It’s almost a dialogue with the scientific community and I hope they learned that piece, that anything going into the literature is a dialogue its not a single person’s voice.”
Schmid explained that she has already implemented the things she’s learned into her work as a school counselor by implementing evidence-based framework and creating a needs assessment to evaluate the needs of students.
“I am very thankful to Dr. Peterson and Rene [Kososki], they are an amazing team and it was such a great experience learning how to go through the process of publishing an article. I am grateful to have learned how to go through this process and how I can truly use this platform to advocate for my profession.”