Identifying a School Counseling Research Agenda: A Delphi Study

Dimmitt et al. (2005) full text summary PDF

For which topic were research priorities identified?

school counseling

In which location was the research priority setting conducted?

North America - USA

Why was it conducted at all?

The need for school counseling practice to be grounded in solid research and the related paucity of this research have been ongoing themes in the field's professional literature. Research is crucial because it identifies best practices, supports accountability, demonstrates the impact of school counseling on student outcomes, and helps professionals in the field develop their knowledge base. With the advent of the no Child Left Behind Act (2002), developing a school counseling research agenda has new urgency, because public school professionals will be required to demonstrate that they are implementing evidence-based interventions and counselor educators will need to train school counselors in rigorous program evaluation, research, and data use skills.

What was the objective?

to identify important research questions regarding school counseling

What was the outcome?

a ranking list of 42 research questions

How long did the research prioritization take?

No information provided.

Which methods were used to identify research priorities?


How were the priorities for research identified exactly?

Step 1: Delphi round 1: participants were asked: Research is not an end in itself, but a process of inquiry designed to achieve some purpose(s). Before focusing on specific research questions, we would like the group to explore the various purposes for research in school counseling. Given the history and current political context of school counseling, what ends should research achieve? For example, research might be needed to: (1) demonstrate the effectiveness of specific programs, projects, interventions, and activities before widespread implementation; (2) evaluate district guidance programs or comprehensive models to demonstrate the effectiveness of the model; (3) evaluate the effectiveness of specific guidance interventions to demonstrate their efficacy for local constituencies. We're asking you to identify three purposes of school counseling research, given your knowledge of the field, from both theoretical and practical perspectives. Step 2: data processing: data cleaning. Step 3: Delphi round 2: participants were asked: Do your ideas about the purposes of school counseling research fit into one or more of these categories? Would you add to or redefine the definitions of any of these purposes?, participants were also asked: Identify what you consider to be an important, specific research question for each purpose, if possible., and asked to identify the criteria they used for judging the importance of each question. Step 4: data analysis: list of 42 school counseling research questions compiled. Step 5: Delphi round 3: participants were asked to rate each question.

Which stakeholders took part?

School counseling educators and practitioners. 21 participants

How were stakeholders recruited?

Through consultation with national school counseling leaders. practitioners, and counselor educators who had published or reviewed school counseling research. who had been involved in the development of the ASCA National Model for School Counseling Programs (ASCA, 2003), and/or who had been involved in The Education Trust (2002) Transforming School Counseling Initiative.

Were stakeholders actively involved or did they just participate?

Stakeholders were mere participants of the research prioritization process; they were not actively involved in the process.