Social Work and Human Services Essay Paper Sample on Article Critique

Tracey Coleman

Evidence Based Practice

Assignment #1: Article Critique

The article, “Evaluating a psycho educational sexual assault prevention program incorporating theatrical presentation, peer education, and social work,” is a scientific research in the educational environment. The article is aimed at examining a sexual assault prevention program developed by social work learners to evaluate its impact on the transformation of the attitude of audience attendees. It is estimated that twenty-four percent to fifty percent of females experience sexual assault in the course of their lives. Prevention of such things as sexual assault is a critical role in social work practice (Black, Weisz, Coats, & Patterson, 2000). Irrespective of the fact that social work teachers have a powerful interest in the assessment of programs that seek to prevent social challenges and help the people that are greatly affected by such problems, there is a shortage of research studies on the evaluation of prevention programs in the social work field. This article makes a key step toward bridging the existing gap.  

1. Unlike a systematic review, the traditional literature review carried out in the article does not begin with the question to be responded to, but undertakes a general discussion devoid of any stipulated hypothesis. The traditional literature review provides an overview of the literature on the given topic, exploring the body of research and its main thesis. Through its inclusion of traditional literary review, the article by Black et al. (2000) contains references to the sources and the main points of the literary works that have a similar theme but does not explain the reason for the inclusion of some studies and the exclusion of others. Some of the used studies analyze the problem, but most of them point to the body of a separate article, which confirms or refutes a certain point. Traditional literature review differs from the systematic review by the fact that a systematic review assesses, in a methodical approach, the methods employed in primary studies and explores the possible biases in the studies and basis of heterogeneity amid the findings. The results are used to strengthen the argument in the article to avoid bias. On the contrary, the traditional literature review does not consider the dissimilarities in the methods used or study quality. Since traditional literature reviews are defined by the information that the researcher deems most applicable, caution should be taken as they may leave out important arguments or concerns that the author incorrectly takes to be less relevant. 

2. The population of this study was the larger Metropolitan Detroit community although the major focus was on the learners in Wayne State University (Black, 2000, p. 592). In accordance with the introduction part of the article, it is evident that the researcher is equally concerned with the provision of information to both women and men for dissimilar reasons. Moreover, the article establishes that younger students (as young as 14 years of age) are at a high risk for sexual assault. However, the participants in this study were about 73 women and 25 men with a mean age of about 31 years. Furthermore, the participants chose to take part in the study, which could indicate something regarding their perceptions of sexual assault. On this note, the sample does not reflect the basic layer of the population that can benefit from this intervention.

3. There is a certain dropout, which means that some of the attendees failed to take part in the study.  Out of about 150 performance attendees, just 100 took part in the examination of the performance and even fewer participated in posttest and follow-up measures. The over 30% rate of dropout could perhaps signify that some of the attendees were not exposed to aspects that could have influenced their attitudes regarding sexual assault. Possibly, the attendees that failed to participate in the study consider such programs and activities as unimportant and do not delve into the problem from a scientific point of view. Such dropouts can cause false impressions about sexual violence. This drop out could also entail those students who have never experienced sexual violence or seen examples in their life.

4. The design of this research is a quasi-experimental design. This design offers a well-planned experiment, which focused on the evaluation of sexual assault prevention program. On the effectiveness hierarchy of research designs, this quasi-experimental design falls below Well-Designed Randomized Controlled Trial but above other designs, for instance, Pre-Post Study, and Comparison Group Study. Quasi-experimental design is not able to totally make causal claims. The study design is one of the most effective. The benefits that the researchers obtain as a result of research are greater than the disadvantages although there are crucial drawbacks, such as prejudice that may influence the course of study.

5.  The most likely threats to internal validity at work in this study are the testing effects. Due to the occurrence of the pretest, posttest, and follow-up stages, the testing of the participants more than once could have influenced their conduct. For instance, because of the short time span between the pretest and posttest stages, the participants could have had insufficient time to allow for exposure to information that could have shaped their attitudes concerning sexual assault. The testing effects could have occurred because of the learning effects and experimental fatigue. The learning effects could be attributed to the participants becoming familiar with aspects of the study thus being less anxious regarding it. On the other hand, experimental fatigue could have occurred since the issue of sexual assault could have been unusual to some participants, which could have made their participation appear tiring. I am concerned regarding such threats to internal validity as they could have affected the reliability of the study negatively.

6. I am convinced that the results of this study support the findings of previous studies on the topic of sexual violence as data showed that almost all participants received valuable information and had personal opinions concerning the issue at hand. Moreover, the vast majority of people, who hear about such programs pay attention to the problem of sexual violence in conversation with their children, relatives, and neighbors, thus, reducing the likelihood of recurrence of such cases in the near circle. I believe that future research will show a smaller extent of the problem of sexual violence and a higher percentage of knowledgeable people in the prevention of such occurrences.

In conclusion, the article by Black et al. (2000) is a full investigation of such important topic as the examination of the excellence of the sexual assault prevention program because young people, especially females, face various forms of aggression, including sexual assault. The problem mainly affects the school environment since the cases of sexual violence in learning institutions are ever increasing. Such instances could be based mainly on alcohol, drugs, and leading an unhealthy lifestyle. Since the quasi-experimental design used in the article does not necessitate expansive pre-screening and randomization, it helps in the minimization of the time taken and the resources required for experimentation purposes. Nevertheless, attributable to the lack of pre-testing and randomization, the study may include factors, such as self-selection bias that could have affected the dependability of the study.


Black, B., Weisz, A., Coats, S., & Patterson, D. (2000). Evaluating a psycho educational sexual assault prevention program incorporating theatrical presentation, peer education, and social work. Research on Social Work Practice, 10(5), 589-606. Retrieved from