The researcher hypothesized that preschool intervention played a key role in the reduction of incidences of juvenile delinquency in terms of frequency and severity by age 18. The quasi-experimental design was adopted by the author for testing the effectiveness of the SPMI release planning strategy. This is a strategy that is often used in the estimation of an intervention`s causal impact on its target population in the absence of random sampling. In other words, the research strategy is often applied in the evaluation of how effective a given treatment is.
The strengths of the research design used for the study
One of the possible benefits of using this research design is the fact that it is more feasible as the logistical and time constraints associated with a majority of true experimental designs do not exist. In some instances, true experimental designs turn out to be impossible or impractical because the studies can only be conducted in natural settings. In the contrary, experimental research allows for the creation of artificial situations that are not always a representation of the real-life situations. This can be explained to be caused by the fact that there is a tight control of all other variables leading to a situation that is not fully realistic. Based on this, it can be said that external validity is increased with the adoption of this research design. Additionally, this design contributes to the robustness of the study.
Weaknesses of the research design
One of the greatest weaknesses of the quasi-experimental design is the fact that it does not involve random assignment when it comes to test groups which consequently leads to test groups that are not equivalent. This can lead to the limiting of the results generalizability to a larger population. Without the element of randomization, it is possible to have meaningless statistical tests. For instance, such meaningless statistical tests can occur when the experimental design fails to consider the pre-existing factors such as the influence of parents on the juvenile delinquency of their children. Here, the tests do not take into consideration that outside influences may have an effect on the results. Moreover, other than the absence of randomization in this research design and its reduced internal validity, a quasi-experimental design`s causality conclusions are termed as less definitive. However, the research design does not detract from the robustness of the study.
Ways to improve the author`s design
The quasi-experimental design adopted by the author can be improved in two ways namely factor analysis and propensity score matching. For the factor analysis part, the author should run the study in a number of ways in order to identify the best. This should be followed by the author sitting together with their colleagues with the aim of interpreting the statistical output obtained while integrating it with relevant theory and experience. Regarding propensity score matching, it provides a statistical tool that can be used in the improvement of the treatment effects evaluation in quasi-experimental studies. This will help in reducing bias that arises from the treatment and comparison of group differences at baseline. Other ways to improve the author`s research design include having more and better data collected from the study`s sample, having a clearer strategy for choosing comparison groups as well as recognizing various analytic methods strengths and weaknesses.
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