Data Collection and Ethical Concerns


This is the second assignment in your Action Research Project. Begin by reviewing the project description and the Unit 9 instructions for the final project assignment, which will include a section presenting a revised version of your work in this assignment. Also, be sure to examine the Data Collection and Ethical Concerns Scoring Guide before you begin, in order to familiarize yourself with the requirements of this assignment. Utilize the thinking process presented in the Riverbend City: Diving Into Action Research Components multimedia presentation as you develop this assignment, even if you are not using the Riverbend City scenario for your course project.

In each assignment going forward, you will include the content of your previous assignments and add new content as assigned. In your Unit 2 assignment, you created the Introduction and Background for the Study sections of your final project report. In this assignment, you will add the Description of the Research Context for the Study section. You will examine the context surrounding your chosen study by researching other organizational reports from the field. You will also present the context within your chosen study, including information about the data and participants involved in the study. In addition, you will address the ethical implications of the research and data gathering for your chosen study.


Based on your readings for this unit, determine what data reporting model was used in your chosen study to examine the organizational issue. Conduct research on data reporting models that have been used in the human services field for studies similar to your chosen study and be prepared to discuss them. Also, examine your chosen research study closely in order to address each of the questions outlined below.

Copy the content from your Unit 2 assignment into a new document. Make any updates to this content that may be called for, based on instructor feedback or other project developments. Then, create a new section, titled Description of the Research Context for the Study. For the Description of the Research Context for the Study component of your Action Research Project, address the points below.

Note for learners using the Riverbend City scenario for the project: As in the Unit 2 assignment, you may find you need more information for the project than is provided in the Riverbend City multimedia presentations. If so, create realistic information, using your own local city or community population or data.

Description of the Research Context for the Study

Discuss important information concerning the data and the participants for your chosen study.

  • Identify where and when the study was conducted, including where the data was gathered.
  • Explain what was done in the setting to create a context from which the data was collected.
  • Discuss who the participants in the research were, and describe how they were selected.
  • Identify the data reporting model (or models) used in your chosen study.
    • Reference how the data reporting model(s) were used by at least two other organizations in similar organizational reports.
  • Discuss how the data storage was managed, so that participants’ identifying information remained separate (from charts, etcetera).

Examine the ethical implications of your chosen study on the human services issue.

  • State the relationship of the researcher(s) to the participants of the study.
  • State whether it was necessary for the researcher(s) to gain permission (informed consent) from participants to conduct the study. If so, describe those measures.
  • Explain how the researcher(s) assured participants that they were protected from harm and that they would not be exposed to risks.
  • Explain how participant confidentiality was protected.
    • Describe how the identifying information was protected.
    • Describe how vulnerable populations’ (such as children, elderly, and disabled populations’) data was protected.
    • Relate how confidentiality and informed consent were implemented in the study.
    • State how long the data is to be kept.
    • Describe who has access to the data.


Your assignment must meet the following requirements:

  • Written communication: Communicate in a manner that is scholarly, professional, and respectful of the diversity, dignity, and integrity of others, consistent with the expectations for members of the human services field. Write comprehensibly to support fundamental ideas, in APA format, using correct grammar and mechanics.
  • APA guidelines: Follow current APA guidelines for style and formatting, using a title page and references page, and citing your sources properly in the body of your paper, with corresponding references on the references page.
  • Length: Write a minimum of 5 new pages for this assignment, for a running total of 8 pages (including the content from your previous assignment). This page total is not including the title page and references page. The content should be typed and double-spaced.
  • References: At least 5 references in total, including the 2 references from your previous assignment. Include peer-reviewed journals or other scholarly resources, assigned unit readings, and the like. In the total number of references, be sure to include your references for at least 2 similar organizational reports that used the same model of data reporting that was used in your chosen study.
  • Font and font size: Times New Roman, 12-point.

Riverbend city task force

Gerie Patel

Thank you so much for stopping by again!

I want to be clear that I’m proud of the work we’ve done on the homelessness task force, and I think we’re making a real difference. But I also feel like we’ve just been floundering around in the dark, and I can’t tell you how much I welcome the idea of someone putting some rigorous research into the situation.

We’ve had the luxury of being able to roll ahead with the project while being funded by a federal grant. But now we’re in the last year of the grant and, while I think that RCAC will be able to fund us from the unrestricted budget, it’ll probably be on a scale that’s smaller than what we’re accustomed to. So we’re probably going to need to figure out how to do more with a lot less. Or, really, figure out what we do that’s effective so that we can focus our efforts and funds in that direction.

But that gets tricky really fast. Like, it almost turns into a philosophical question. If we focus our efforts on homeless people with children, maybe we’re maximizing the good we do just by helping the largest number of people. But what if those cases are more resource-intensive? And doesn’t that mean by definition that we’re excluding other people–people without children, but people who definitely need help–from our efforts? I know that answering these tough questions is a part of human services leadership, but that doesn’t make it any easier or more fun to answer them.

One thing I think I see in our future is greater cooperation and coordination with other agencies. As things stand now, we try to keep as many of our functions in-house as possible. Although there’s always some outside element, like referring people to shelters for short-term housing. But we do our own low-cost apartment-search services, our own mental health counseling, our own addiction counseling, and our own job training and placement services. I don’t know if that’s sustainable for the long term. I guess that’s the question that just keeps recurring- how sustainable is everything we do going to be in a world where there’s less funding and the stream of it is less certain?

Program 3

Ruby Lake Homelessness Task Force

Karen Goldberg

Hello, there. I’m really glad we have a chance to talk in more depth about the Second Chance program. What I really hope I conveyed when we talked before is that I think it’s a great, valuable program but I also feel like we’re just too darned busy administering it to get a chance to look for the process improvements that we absolutely know must be lurking in there somewhere. Heck, I’m not even a hundred percent sure that the metrics we’re tracking are the right ones!

So, I told you last time that this is a program we collaborate with another organization, Second Chance RBC. Theoretically, the split is that we at RCAC work with students involved in the juvenile justice system, trying to help them into alternative school programs, while Second Chance RBC does the same thing with students at risk of expulsion. Honestly, that split is more notional than real, since there’s a lot of overlap between those two populations. A lot of time, it comes down to who happens to get the phone call, or who has more capacity between me and my staff and Second Chance RBC’s Brad Heath and his.

One thing that’s on my mind as I think about the program: there are essentially four different alternative schools that we work with, as well as a few more unconventional options like home-schooling and online schools. Both of which, wow, can they be problematic in this context, although sometimes they’re the right ways to go. Anyway, we do an OK job of tracking overall outcomes in terms of graduation rates for kids placed into alternative schools, and we can segment that out pretty well between the two tracks. But, maddeningly, the central system just tracks “placed” or “not placed,” with the specific info about where they were placed — like, one of the four alternative schools, or one of the home options — kept just in their paper file. Which means that we don’t really have anything more than anecdotal evidence about whether any of the destinations work better than any of the others. That doesn’t seem right at all.

We also pay rudimentary attention to the socioeconomic status of students coming in to the program by noting whether or not they participate in free school meal programs. But good lord is that a blunt indicator! We act like that tells us what we need to know about their situations, but really it tells us very, very little. It’s just the only data we have! There has to be a better way.

I feel like I’m talking a lot about data and record keeping, but, well, that’s where a lot of my concerns are. So here’s one more. I co -administer this program with Brad Heath over at Second Chance RBC…in fact, our data setup is something we basically inherited from them, since they initiated this program and then partnered with us to scale it up. In practice, that means that now we have two sets of records, and two databases, and I don’t trust at all that the two systems are synched up. We have a tiny IT department here; Brad has a caseworker who’s good with computers who handles IT in the margins of his other work. Everyone involved is talented and means well, but that’s just not a situation that inspires confidence in the infrastructure. The databases are supposed to synch up with each other once a week, but we’ve had all kinds of foul-ups where synchs didn’t happen. I’m terrified of the thought of a kid falling through the cracks because of that!

Thanks for talking to me. I think if you take a look at our program data for the past few years, you’ll get some sense of how we’re doing and maybe what else we need to think about if we’re going to do better.

Program 1

Juvenile Justice System, Second Chance (In Cooperation with Second Chance RBC).

Josh Wilson

Hey! Thanks for stopping by.

Let me tell you some more about the school completion program! We work hand-in-glove with the school system, both at the district level and at the four individual high schools that we’re concerned with. For what it’s worth, that’s Vagle High, Ellison High, Loria High, and Petersen High. All four were identified in cooperation with the district when we started exploring the idea of a pilot program; our contacts at the district suggested those four as places where the student body could use the help.

In practice, the two most important services provided by the program are tutoring and counseling. But those are both pretty big umbrellas. Counseling especially… in practice, that means a lot of things. We help kids with anger management issues. We help kids deal with difficult home situations, which, I mean, it’s not news that this is a huge obstacle for kids staying in school. We provided pregnancy and parental counseling to students who get pregnant and have children. We help kids who’re dealing negatively with bullying situations. I mean, basically, you name just about any frequently-recurring thing that would keep kids from finishing school, we’re probably addressing it under the aegis of our counseling mandate.

My numbers tell me clearly that things are getting worse: across our four schools, we had an 84% completion rate a few years ago, and it’s steadily ticked down year by year to 69% in the most recent. That’s not a nice trend, but I can’t say with any certainty why that’s happening. I see it cutting across some–but not all–ethnic groups. I think and hope that answers are out there, but I don’t know if they lie buried in data that we’re tracking or not. I also really wish that we had more of a firm breakdown of what’s happening in our counseling programs. Like, we know anecdotally that pregnancies can really derail an academic career. What if there’s been a surge of them? That might explain some things. Of course, even then we’d have the secondary question of what would be causing this theoretical surge.

If you should choose to look into this program and how well it’s doing, and what we could be doing better, I think that’d be a real opportunity to help us improve a lot of lives. Like we keep saying, every kid we help through this program is one that doesn’t fall into the Second Chance program, and that’s a good thing on a couple of levels.

Program 2

School Completion Program

Population by Grade 2016

Data Collection and Ethical Concerns Scoring Guide

Due Date: End of Unit 3
Percentage of Course Grade: 15%.

Discuss important information concerning the data and the participants for a chosen study.
Examine the ethical implications of a study concerning a chosen human services issue.
Communicate in a manner that is scholarly, professional, and respectful of the diversity, dignity, and integrity of others, consistent with the expectations for members of the human services field.

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