The chosen study is a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies assessing the role of peer inclusion in interventions for children with ADHD. The authors examine a wide range of past studies that reported on the effects of peer inclusion interventions and present the overall results, showing why further research on peer inclusion interventions for children with ADHD is required (Cordier, Vilaysack, Doma, Wilkes-Gillan, & Speyer, 2018). The present paper will seek to evaluate the report and provide suggestions for its application in research and practice.
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Evaluation of the Research Problem
The main research problem identified by the authors is the lack of consensus on the efficacy of peer inclusion interventions. As shown by Cordier et al. (2018) peer involvement is used in various interventions for children with ADHD, such as SST and summer treatment programs. Nevertheless, few studies examined the efficiency of peer inclusion in social interventions for children with ADHD.
Evaluating the Significance of the Problem
Forming an appropriate research foundation is essential to applying knowledge in counseling practice. The lack of consensus on the role of peer involvement in social interventions for children with ADHD can affect the quality of recommendations provided by counselors to parents or organizations. Therefore, the issue addressed by the authors is relevant to counseling.
The researchers also provide information on the problem’s significance. Firstly, they state that peer inclusion is often used in interventions for children with ADHD, as well as other disorders that imply impaired social functioning (Cordier et al., 2018). Secondly, the researchers explain how evidence-based interventions using peer involvement can benefit kids with ADHD to improve social functioning and promote successful interpersonal relationships.
Evaluation of the Literature Review
The authors include a literature review in the introductory section of the work. The literature review is comprehensive and detailed, explaining all major aspects of the topic. In particular, the section focuses on the roots of impaired social functioning in children with ADHD, as well as the application of peer mediation in intervention programs. Cordier et al. (2018) also explain why peer-mediated or peer-inclusive interventions might be effective in children with ADHD, which supports their hypotheses. Thus, the literature review uses a sufficient range of sources to form a basis for the present study. However, one limitation of the literature review is that it does not consider possible barriers, considerations, and costs associated with peer inclusion in interventions, thus presenting a rather one-sided view of the problem.
Evaluation of Research Design, Purpose Statement, Questions, and Hypotheses
The researchers use a quantitative systematic review and meta-analysis design for their report. This form of research includes merging and analyzing the results of past research studies to determine the overall trends in results. This design meets the goals of the study, as it allows analyzing significant volumes of information from previous researches to determine if the overall results of peer inclusion are positive, negative, or insignificant.
Research Purpose Statement
The authors include a clear purpose statement at the end of the introductory section, stating that the study was designed “to examine the efficacy of peer inclusion in interventions targeting the social functioning of children with ADHD” (Cordier et al., 2018).
The authors do not provide a list of research questions. However, from the aims and objectives of the study, as well as the design, it is possible to draw the following research questions:
- Does peer inclusion affect the outcomes of social interventions for children with ADHD?
- Is there a sufficient number of high-quality quantitative studies confirming the positive effect of peer inclusion on the results of social interventions for children with ADHD?
- What are the variables affecting the results of peer inclusion interventions for children with ADHD?
The authors do not provide a list of clear research hypotheses applicable to the present study. However, they state that “a greater overlap in the approach to address the social skills difficulties was expected” (Cordier et al., 2018). Also, the authors expected that some studies analyzed in their research would be biased.
Evaluation of Data Collection Plan
Selection of Participants
As the study design was a systematic review and meta-analysis, the researchers used the data that was already collected for previous studies. The process for the selection of suitable studies, on the other hand, followed a systematic approach. The authors established clear selection criteria for the articles and only included articles that met the criteria. Such an approach to data selection helped to ensure that participants had a primary diagnosis of ADHD and were either children or adolescents, thus contributing to the outcomes of the study. To improve the selection process and provide more focus to the study, it would be useful to introduce other criteria, such as recency and intervention type.
The authors do not describe the process of obtaining permission to use the data in their study. A possible approach would be to contact the authors of selected studies and ask them if the participants agreed to the secondary use of data when signing an informed consent form.
Determining the Data to Collect
The data collected by the researchers included information about selected studies, their participants, interventions used, and outcomes. Thus, the researchers collected an appropriate scope of data based on the aims of the review.
Data Collection Instruments
The researchers used data extraction forms to obtain information from the selected studies. Extraction forms were an appropriate instrument for this study, as they allowed to synthesize the data and create tables to ease the review and comparison processes. However, the use of extraction forms creates concerns with regards to the quality of data collection, as some data items were not standardized. Also, the researchers present no evaluation of the validity, and reliability of extractions forms used in research.
Administering Data Collection
As mentioned above, the researchers used data extraction forms but offered limited standardization of some items. Besides, the researchers failed to address ethical problems relevant to secondary studies. Thus, the issues of standardization and ethics were not appropriately addressed by the authors.
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Evaluation of Data Analysis and Interpretation Plan
Preparing Data for Analysis
By applying data extraction forms, the authors ensured that the data was distributed into key data items. In preparation for analysis, some of the items were operationalized. In particular, the meta-analysis focused on pre-and post-measures of social skills and the mean difference in pre-and post- skills measures, as reported by the selected studies (Cordier et al., 2018).
Analysis of the Data
The authors used a random-effects model and forest plots to generate data on effect sizes, thus responding to the primary question of the study regarding the efficacy of peer involvement in interventions for children with ADHD. In addition, the authors applied meta-regression to determine other variables affecting intervention results, as prompted by the third research question. The authors also analyzed the quality of studies using the Begg and Mazumdar rank correlation procedure and the fixed-effect model to test for publication bias.
Reporting the Results
The researchers reported the results using tables, graphs, and discussion. The tables were particularly useful in presenting general information about the selected studied, whereas the graphs provided a visual interpretation of effect sizes comparison. The tables also included subgroup analysis and meta-regression results, thus reporting on some stages of the analysis. However, the discussion of results was more useful than visual reporting, as it assisted in interpreting statistical figures obtained by the researchers. Overall, the reporting methods used by the authors are appropriate and help to present information clearly.
Interpreting the Results
The authors concluded that the effect size of peer inclusion interventions compared to other intervention types was not significant. Also, Cordier et al. (2018) noted that variation of results across the studies was significant, and thus, past research does not offer a strong foundation for the use of peer involvement in interventions for kids with ADHD. The authors discussed the limitations of their study, including inadequate blinding, randomization, and small sample size.
Evaluation of Ethical and Culturally Relevant Strategies
The authors did not use any culturally relevant strategies in their research, which was mainly because it relied on past studies for data. The authors attempted to address ethical problems by evaluating the quality of the studies selected and ensuring a lack of bias. In order to address cultural and ethical concerns effectively, the authors should have obtained permission for research, included information about the participants’ cultural or racial differences, and offered an analysis of their possible role in interventions. For instance, addressing possible cultural barriers to peer inclusion interventions and offering ways of overcoming those barriers would provide evidence of the use of culturally relevant strategies.
Despite a number of limitations, the study provides a useful overview of evidence regarding the usefulness of peer inclusion in interventions for children with ADHD. The information discussed by the authors can be used by counselors to decide on the appropriateness of such interventions and provide recommendations to parents.
Cordier, R., Vilaysack, B., Doma, K., Wilkes-Gillan, S., & Speyer, R. (2018). Peer inclusion in interventions for children with ADHD: A systematic review and meta-analysis. BioMed Research International, 2018(1), 1-52.