Research and Program Evaluation – COUC 515

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

Students learn the importance of scientific inquiry in the fields of clinical mental health counseling and marriage and family therapy. Emphasis is on research methods (designs, statistical analysis, needs assessment, and program evaluation) and locating, interpreting, and evaluating research and program evaluation articles that inform evidence-based practice. Ethical and cultural relevance as well as ethically appropriate integration is also addressed. 


MATH 201 or PSYC 355


Empirical methods are increasingly being used to justify or criticize the usage of particular counseling approaches in therapy. Government, private foundations, and corporations are asking for program evaluations to determine the merits of each program’s continued funding. Spiritual interventions are being explored for their utility in therapy. In short, the scientific method, counseling, and Christian intervention strategies are intersecting. Counselors with thorough knowledge of research strategies will shape both what psychotherapy looks like and how effective those interventions are in the counseling setting.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Explain the role of scientific research in advancing the counseling profession.
  2. Differentiate various research methods (e.g., descriptive, predictive, and explanatory) and research designs (e.g., experimental, quasi-experimental, single-case designs, action research, and outcome-based research). In addition, he or she will describe each of the research methods and designs.
  3. Apply various statistical principles that are often used in counseling-related research and program evaluations.
  4. Describe various models of program evaluation and action research.
  5. Critique research articles and examine the evidence-based practice.
  6. Articulate ethical and legal principles of clinical research.
  7. Assess the utility and limitations of the scientific method in the study of the Christian integration in counseling.

Common Core Courses Matrix of Student Competencies

F.7  Assessment and Testing

CACREP Standard

Course/Experience – Learning Experiences

F.7.e. use of assessments for diagnostic and intervention planning pruposes

Research Proposal, Exams, & Annotated Bibliography.


F.7. f.  basic concepts of standardized and non-standardized testing, norm-referenced and criterion-referenced assessments, and group and individual assessments

Research Proposal Paper methods section


F.7.g. statistical concepts, including scales of measurement, measures of central tendency, indices of variability, shapes and types of distributions, and correlations

Research proposal, Quiz Ch 8:


F.7.h.  realiability and validity in the use of assessments

Quiz Ch 6


F.7.i. use of assessments relevant to academic/educational, career, personal, and social development

Research proposal


F.8  Research and Program Evaluation

F.8.a. the importance of research in advancing the counseling profession, including how to critique research to inform counseling practice

Research Proposal, Annotated Bibliography, and Research Proposal Presentation

F.8.b. identification of evidence-based counseling practices

Research Proposal, Annotated Bibliography,, and Research Proposal Presentation


F.8.c.  needs assessment

Research Proposal, Research Proposal Presentation, Program Evaluation , Quiz 1: (Ch. 6)

F.8.d. development of outcome measures for counseling programs

Research Proposal, Research Proposal Presentation, Program Evaluation , Quiz 1: (Ch. 6)

F.8.e. evaluation of counseling interventions and programs

Literature Summaries & Critiques, Research Proposal, Research Proposal Presentation, Annotated Bibliography, and Program Evaluation , Quiz 1: (Ch. 6)

F.8. f.  qualitative, quantitative, and mixed research methods

Literature Summaries & Critiques, Research Proposal and Research Proposal Presentation, Annotated Bibliography, Quiz 1: (Ch. 5-8)

F. 8. g. designs used in research and program evaluation

Research proposal paper,

F. 8. h. statistical methods used in conducting research and program evaluation

Data Analysis , Descriptive Statistics Exercises, Proposal Paper Part 5: Writing Results and Discussion

F. 8. i. analysis and use of data in counseling

Data Analysis , Descriptive Statistics Exercises, Proposal Paper (All Parts), and Annotated Bibliography

F.8. j. ethical and culturally relevant strategies for conducting, interpreting, and reporting the results of research and/or program evaluation

Data Analysis , Descriptive Statistics Exercises, Proposal Paper (All Parts)

Course Assignment

Textbook Readings and Lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (2)

Discussion Boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student will complete 2 Discussion Board Forums in this course. Each forum will test the student’s ability to synthesize information related to the Proposal development process or the scientist practitioner model. Forums will be completed in 2 parts: a thread and replies. The Discussion Board Forum 1 thread must be 350–450 words and the Discussion Board Forum 2 thread must be 150–200 words. In addition, the student will reply to at least 2 classmates’ threads with 150–200 words. There must be at least 3 citations in current APA format for the thread and at least 1 for each reply.


The Proposal Paper will be divided into various parts that will be submitted throughout the course.

Topic Selection

The student will select 3 topics related to the counseling profession. The topics and summaries of 3 peer-reviewed articles published within the last 5 years (one article per topic) will be submitted to the instructor for approval and feedback. The instructor will give the student feedback on his/her topic selections regarding which may be the most “researchable topic” or most feasible topic, based on assignment requirements, and may recommend the student focus on 1 for subsequent assignments.

Annotated Bibliography

The student will use his/her chosen topic to create an Annotated Bibliography in current APA format that includes at least 5 scholarly sources that support the development of his/her research questions. At least 2 of the sources must have been published within the last 5 years. The Annotated Bibliography will include a critique of the article, a brief description of the source, evaluation of the source, a discussion of the source’s relevance to the research topic, and answers to key questions provided in the instructions document.


The student will write no more than 2 pages introducing his/her chosen topic and explaining the importance of the research topic being studied. At least 5 scholarly references in current APA format must be included.


The student will complete 4 sub-sections in the Methods section of the Proposal Paper. Each will have a different length, varying between 1–2 pages, and will explain procedures used to collect data, and will identify instruments and the research design for the student’s chosen topic. The complete Methods sections must be 4–5 pages and written in current APA format.

Writing Results and Discussion

The student will analyze data from 4 different scenarios (not related to his or her proposal) and write up a results and discussion section corresponding to that data set. This section must be fewer than 2 pages and follow current APA format. Alternatively, the student may choose to simulate (create a data set based on his or her hypothesis) his or her study by generating values associated with his or her selected instrument and inputting the values into SPSS (a 14-day free trial of this software can be downloaded here). The student will then discuss his/her findings in 1–2 pages. This assignment will be submitted via Blackboard and LiveText/Tevera.

Descriptive Statistics Exercise

The Descriptive Statistics Exercise will help the student understand descriptive statistical information and statistical analysis by completing hands-on calculations. A regular or online calculator may be used to complete this assignment. This assignment should be submitted to Blackboard and LiveText/Tevera.

Program Evaluation Project (ASSESSMENT BENCHMARK)

The student will choose from the provided list of websites for treatment programs related to marriage enrichment, addictions, or DBT skills training. He or she will then produce a logic model, state evaluation questions, and develop a basic plan for program evaluation. A template will be provided to aid in the structuring of this assignment.

Data Analysis Assignment

The Data Analysis Assignment involves identifying the correct statistical test to analyze the data, as well as answer the research question. A rationale must be included for why the student chose the test he or she selected. The second component will involve reviewing a sample of an SPSS output and writing an interpretation of it in current APA format.

Quizzes (3)

This course will contain 3 quizzes. Each quiz is comprehensive and will cover the Reading & Study material for all module weeks covered thus far, will be open-book/open-notes, contain 25 multiple-choice and true/false questions, and have a time limit of 1 hour.

Final Exam

There will be a comprehensive Final Exam covering all material in the course. The exam will consist of 50 multiple-choice and true/false questions. The questions will be taken from textbooks, selected readings, and presentations. The exam will have a time limit of 2 hours.