Sally Fitzgibbons Foundation

Beginning the Academic Essay

Methodology
A Girls Support Group (GSG) is a service provided by the Human Services of Southern New Jersey (HSSNJ). The HSSNJ gathers data on GSG participants to ensure accountability and determine the effectiveness of these groups. Participants are administered the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES) twice; first at the start of every 12-week group and again at the end of every 12-week group. The HSSNJ makes this data publicly available on its website as Family Support Reports (https://humanservicesnj.weebly.com/family-support—reports.html).
Evaluation Design
Family Support Reports were downloaded from the HSSNJ website and used to conduct an evaluation of the GSG effectiveness for 2017. As described above, evaluations were conducted on all participants pre- and post-intervention. Since there was only one group of clients and measurements were taken both before and after the intervention (Royse et al., 2016), the evaluation design is a one-group pretest-posttest design.
Sample
The 2017 Family Support Reports included convenience sample data which was drawn from girls aged 13-17 attending a 12-week girls support group program.. The RSES scores were collected in 2017 from ten groups that were run at five different schools and the data from all 120 participants are included in the sample. The HSSNJ reports that data is aggregated in order to maintain client confidentiality.
Data Collection Techniques and Instruments
A questionnaire, specifically the RSES, is the primary data collection technique utilized by the HSSNJ for this data set. The RSES is a widely used psychological measurement instrument consisting of 10 Likert-type scale items intended to assess positive and negative self-esteem. Each item is rated from 1 (strongly disagree) to 4 (strongly agree), with a total score range of 10 to 40 (as cited in McKay, Boduszek, & Harvey, 2014). The data set also included additional information on each participant such as referral source (Division of Child Protection DCP, court, school, parent, or other) and demographics (age, race/ethnicity, and grade).
Age, grade and pretest/posttest scores were all entered into the dataset actually, while referral source was coded as 1=DCP, 2=Court, 3=School, 4=Parent, 5=Other and race/ethnicity was coded as 1=White, 2=African American, 3=Hispanic, 4=Other.
Data Analysis
“Statistics Open for All” (SOFA), an open-source statistics program, was used to analyze these data. Frequency distributions were performed to analyze the age and race demographics of the sample. A paired samples t-test was conducted to compare the participants’ pretest and posttest scores and evaluate the impact of the GSG on the participants’ self-esteem.
Outcome Measures
The primary outcome measure was the RSES score, where the outcome was considered successful if, when comparing the RSES score before and after the intervention, there was a statistically significant (p < .05) increase in the posttest score on the RSES.
Limitations
This evaluation has limitations in both design, sampling, and data collection. The utilized one-group pretest-posttest design is less rigorous than other designs and it cannot scientifically prove that the intervention alone is responsible for any improvements. Changes in the teen participants’ posttest scores could be attributed to such factors as increased maturity over the 12-week course, familiarity with the repeated RSES, social desirability factors like pleasing the group facilitator, or even changes in season. Additionally, since the convenience sample of readily available teen girl participants was used, the results may not be generalizable to a larger population. Hence, the results of this study are considered exploratory instead of scientifically definitive (Royse et al., 2016). Finally, the data for this evaluation was provided in an unsecured, editable Excel document. The data collection is open to errors because of transcription from the GSES scales and accidental or intentional tampering.

Grading Rubric
Methodology
Methodology clearly explained. 5
Limitations of evaluation are discussed 5

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