Table of Contents
A Brief Statement
Violence acts in a school setting create serious problems for educators (Dogan-Ates, 2010). These violent acts also produce traumatic effects on adolescents. For instance, mental health traumas have been documented among young people exposed to violent criminal acts. In literature, there is a belief that adolescents have higher risk factors for mental health issues, both cognitively and behaviorally, following traumatic school violence (Elklit, & Kurdahl, 2012; Math, Nirmala, Moirangthem, & Kumar, 2015; Trickey, Siddaway, Meiser-Stedman, Serpell, & Field, 2012; Turunen, Haravuori, Punamäki, Suomalainen, & Marttunen, 2014). Given the considerable mental and physical health effects associated with school violence, there is a need to make effective interventions targeting victims of violent acts. Thus, there is a need to investigate the impact of mental health traumas on students who have experienced serious school violence. This study will make important contributions to the literature concerning the timeframe in which a crisis health intervention produces the greatest benefit for victims of school violence, which prevails in high schools.
A Sampling Method and Data Analysis for a Qualitative Inquiry
The sample of this research comprises high school students in the US who have suffered serious school violence. The selection of participants in the proposed research will be made based on purposive sampling and convenience sampling, which refer to non-probability sampling characterized by a researcher focusing on recruiting participants who have certain attributes. The criteria for purposive sampling will comprise high school students who have experienced traumatic events recently. Additionally, the sample will be limited to 12th grade students aged below 18 years. The rationale underpinning the use of purposive sampling in the proposed research is to ensure that the sample help in answering the research question. This means that the researcher will have to deliberately sample participants who have experienced violence in a school setting. After identifying students who have experienced school violence, the researcher will employ convenience sampling to recruit participants. Convenience sampling is characterized by selecting participants who can be accessed easily (Cozby, 2012).
The sample for this study will be selected from a secondary school in the New York State. A number of steps will be undertaken to recruit participants for the proposed study. First, all 733 high school districts in the state of New York will be contacted. This will be followed by a request for their emergency management plans that are open to public inspection as required by §155.17, after which they will be reviewed for recently documented school violence incidents. From these records, students who were victims or experienced school violence will be noted to be contacted to participate in this research. The researcher will invite participants from the sample pool of those students who were established to have experienced violence in educational settings. The parents of the selected participants will also be invited to participate in the research.
The sample size for the qualitative research was 15 students. In qualitative studies, there are no rules governing the sample size required; nevertheless, it is imperative to ensure data saturation and provide the participants selected for the research with sufficient information on the topic being studied (Creswell, 2011). Data saturation refers to a point whereby no new themes emerge from the data (Daymon, & Holloway, 2010). The researcher believes that the sample size will guarantee data saturation; however, the researcher will continue collecting data from more participants in the event that data saturation is not achieved after exhausting the 15 participants.
An anticipated challenge in this study will be accessing participants. This is because the researcher lacks direct contact with participants and thus will have to rely on contacts provided by school emergency management records.
Data for the qualitative research will be gathered using semi-structured interviews, which entails a set of preset open questions for guiding the discussion with participants. Semi-structured interviews offer interviewers an opportunity to follow up and clarify crucial issues that might emerge during discussion (Fisher, 2007). The rationale for using semi-structured interviews is that they are relatively flexible when compared to other structured survey methods like structured interviews and questionnaires. Semi-structured interviews are suitable for qualitative studies seeking to obtain an in-depth understanding of the concept being investigated (Evans, & Rooney, 2010), which in this case is the behavioral and cognitive impact of school violence on students. Semi-structured interviews will be conducted in educational settings or at any other location chosen at the convenience of the participants. Also, semi-structured interviews will be conducted with both parents and students selected for participation in the research. An informed consent will be sent to the parents of students invited to participate in this research. An incentive that will be used to encourage participation is the promise of sharing the results of the study, which the researcher believes will be of significant help to the participants. Semi-structured interviews will focus on a number of concepts such as a cognitive and behavioral inquiry aimed at encouraging the participants to share their experiences. Other aspects that will be explored include avoidance behavior and lack of social support, which contribute to post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. The interview sessions will be recorded for later transcription and analysis.
Analysis of the data will be performed using the thematic content analysis that focuses on the identification of dominant and recurring themes found in the data. Content analysis will draw upon the interview protocol, wherein the researcher will review the ways in which respondents answered the questions. This will be followed by a cross-examining, which is performed through comparing participants’ responses concerning an issue. A code book will be used to aid in the process of coding, whereby abbreviated codes of themes will be placed in each participant’s unique identifier for facilitating comparison. Direct quotes from participants will be incorporated when presenting the findings as a means of emphasizing the themes that have been discovered in the data.
A Sampling Method and Data Analysis Plan for a Quantitative Approach
Population and Sample
The research design adopted for the quantitative research is a pretest-posttest design, which is used for measuring the level of change following an intervention. In this respect, the pretest-posttest design will be used in assessing whether the intervention helped students who have experienced traumatic school violence.
The population for the proposed study comprises high school students who have experienced serious violence incidents in school settings. The sampling frame that has been set for the study is a high school in the New York State. In particular, the sample will be drawn from emergency management records of the school, which indicate students who have experienced school violence recently.
The type of the sample that will be used in this research is probability sampling, which refers to a sampling approach wherein all units in the study population have the same chance of being selected for the sample (Fisher, 2007). A probability sample offers the means for calculating the sampling error as well as the level of confidence for reporting the findings. The probability sample has been chosen as the quantitative component of the proposed study because it enables the researcher to make generalizations or statistical inferences from the sample to the study population. Moreover, probability sampling ensures that the sample selected is representative of the study population, which increases accuracy when making generalizations.
The specific probability sampling technique that will be employed in the proposed research is stratified random sampling. This approach entails dividing the study population to subgroups, after which simple random sampling is used for selecting participants from each subgroup (Evans, & Rooney, 2010). The sample will be stratified based on gender, socioeconomic status and the level of trauma exposure. The use of stratified random sampling helps in reducing the sampling error. This approach also ensures that subgroups within the study population are represented in the sample. Moreover, the statistical precision of stratified random sampling is higher than that of simple random sampling.
The sample size for the proposed study was computed using a web-based sample size calculator (ww.statpapges.org). This site calculator provides the required sample using a desired statistical power. At the desired statistical power of 80 percent, an estimated effect size of 0.2 on the same sample group and a significance level of 0.05, the minimum sample size needed to achieve this statistical power and exert a modest effect of intervention is 34. Thus, this study will make use of 50 participants, which exceeds the minimum threshold required in order increase confidence with which the findings will be reported.
Data Analysis Plan
Data for the quantitative research will be collected using questionnaires administered to the selected students by qualified clinicians. As an incentive to encourage participation, $10 will be donated to the school for every student completing the survey as a means of honoring those who died during the acts of school violence. The instruments that will be used to collect data are the CAPS-CA-5 (Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5-Child/Adolescent) scale and the Traumatic Events Screening Inventory for Children (TESI-C), which are evidence-based measurement tools that will be used to offer pre- and post-intervention test scores. The CAPS-CA-5 is used in determining the onset as well as the duration of symptoms and development impairment. This will be helpful in determining whether there is a timeframe after the incident for the onset of mental trauma (from mental shock to disillusionment). The TESI-C screening is used in measuring the level of trauma experience associated with the event. Authorization to utilize these tools has been sought. The intervention used in the study is the same as the grief counseling program offered by the recovery response team immediately after crisis, with the only difference being that it will be provided four months later.
Data from the participants will be input into the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) for analysis. The dependent variable in this research is trauma experience, whereas the independent variable is intervention. Data analysis will be performed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Descriptive statistics will be used for describing the study variables using mean, standard deviation and range. Inferential statistics will be produced using the dependent t-test in order to ascertain existence of a significant difference in trauma experience before and after the intervention.
Discussion and Dissemination Plan
The findings from this research will be helpful in providing a range of interventions that can be made by students who have experienced school violence, which will result in numerous benefits. Additionally, the results of the study will produce considerable insight into the experiences of students who have been exposed to school violence. This can help in the development of tailored interventions to address traumatic experiences of adolescents. The findings will be disseminated through a thank you letter to the participants of conferences.