Methods for Research and Evaluation
The reader will have likely received basic training in research methodology prior to taking course work in clinical psychology. Clinical psychology pulls together a number of different knowledge domains from psychology at large and applies them to real-world problems and populations. Therefore, there is inevitable overlap in the methods used in the practice of clinical psychology and those used to acquire core knowledge in psychology. General principles of experimentation in the laboratory are least relevant in this context and will not receive much attention here (for a review we recommend Howitt, 2005; Rosnow & Rosenthal, 2001). This chapter will therefore focus on research methods and introduce the relevant concepts that clinical psychologists should be familiar with. A clinical psychologist should be particularly familiar with:
■ Test development and test validation
■ Evaluations of the effects of treatments and innovative clinical practices
■ Methods of research on psychopathological mechanisms
Clinical psychology is a vibrant field that continuously renews itself and becomes involved in many knowledge applications, including being called on to add to validation work on existing tests and also to develop new tests. Recall that in chapter 1 you read about psychologist A, who was supposed to develop a screening tool for distress in cancer patients. In addition, researchers are concerned with documenting the process of change in psychotherapy, helping us to better understand who gets better and by what process, as well as figuring out to what degree therapy success has made individuals fully functional again. This information, in turn, is then taught to the next generation of clinical psychologists.