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Article Review: Values Are Not Just Goals

Article Review: Values Are Not Just Goals

In their article Values are not just goals: Online ACT-based values training adds to goal setting in improving undergraduate college student performance, Chase et al (2013) carry out an empirical analysis of the impacts of personal value exploration and goal setting on academic performance. Relying on the latest research and studies, Chase et al (2013) explain findings of the research in relation to the existing literature in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in a contextual behavioral science tradition. The research on which Chase et al (2013) rely on is characterized by a multiplicity of strengths and weaknesses when viewed from the point of existing literature. Chase et al (2013) prominently focus on a research in which the main aim was to establish the effects of goal setting on academic performance, with and without personal values exploration. The study population comprised of randomly selected second year majors who are indiscriminately distributed among the three groups. The findings indicated that there was a values exploration had an impact on the academic performance of the second year psychology majors. The article also discusses various areas that need more research on.

A Review of the Article

As a matter of fact, there are various strengths and weaknesses that are apparent in the article. Perhaps the most noteworthy strength is the actuality that it relies on latest literature, which has a lot of relevance to the contemporary researchers in psychology, especially to the researchers that endeavor to comprehend the changing attainments made by people under different conditions in a contextual behavioral science tradition. According to Blackledge et al (2008) it makes a lot of sense to use current research in explaining current phenomena. Additionally, it is always appropriate to draw conclusions from empirical research and not presumptions. Chase et al (2013) rely on empirical research, which was conducted in a systematic fashion, with clear methodology and analysis. Strength worth noting is the fact that Chase et al (2013) draw from wide literature, and apply such literature in evaluation of the research conducted. The theory brought forth in the article is exceptionally strong as it is supported by academic underpinnings in ACT as well as well evaluated research.
The research in the article has quite a number of strength. Foremost, it follows the guidelines of conducting research in psychology. For instance, it sticks to the use of Specific, Measurable, Accurate, Realistic and Time-bound (SMART) objectives. The use of smart objectives introduces an aspect of independence into the article. This eliminates any chances of subjectivity. Secondly, the research set forth in the article reveals the gaps in literature, and explains the areas where further research is required. For instance, in the discussion part, Chase et al (2013) explain that there is need for further research to explain the reasons as to why goal setting alone had no impact on the academic achievement of students. Similarly the article’s discussion section raises questions over the relationship between values and goal setting, fronting a presumption that personal values exploration is the basis for setting of goals.
ACT, a concept at the core of the article’s theory, makes apparent the primary strengths of the article. Most noteworthy is the reality that the article prominently employs ACT as a tool to explain the distinction between goals and values. The article successfully sets the distinction clear at the beginning, describing goals as the consequences or desired outcomes of an action. On the contrary, Chase et al (2013) define values as the intrinsic qualities of an action. By making the distinction clear right at the beginning of the article, the authors successfully highlight the essence of the article’s research. The strengths of the article revolve around the fact that the distinction between goals and values is followed by empirical research, which is systematic and adheres to objectivity. The step-by-step approach adopted by the researchers eliminates subjectivity. For instance, the first step in the research was to ask the students to outline their desired states as far as academic was concerned. Having stated such information first, objectivity is prioritized because there is no possibility of subjective alterations.
In addition to the research conducted, the authors of the article take time to compare many other researches previously conducted. This way, the researchers explain the many gaps in existing literature. For instance, it is clearly stated that current research has exceedingly conflated the contributions of goals and values to an extent that one cannot distinguish the impacts of the goal setting and the values exploration. The strength of this section becomes apparent in the fact that the authors mark it as a significant area in need of further research. Focusing on the research itself, its strengths lie in its planning, methodology and analysis. Most notably, the method of collecting data employs open ended questions, which make it possible for the participants to give detailed reasons as to why either values or goals differ in the way they affect performance. The research approach also offered convenience since it was conducted remotely through the internet.
The findings and explanations of such findings are also strong, considering that they are guided by ACT, in the sense that they consider the independent impacts of both values and goals. Ultimately, the research established that there is a positive relationship between a combination of goals setting and values exploration, and academic performance the following semester. On the contrary, there was no effect on the academic performance of those students that were placed in the goals only category. The findings and conclusions stated that there was need for further research on the relationship between values and academic performance.
The most notable weakness of the article is the fact that it raises too many unanswered questions. While it makes sense to point out the areas that require further research, it does not make sense that a research paper raises more questions than necessary. Secondly, the article fails to clearly bring out the congruency between the values exploration and the goals setting. While the research combines the two concepts successfully, it does not explain the extent to which one influences the other. Another weakness is the fact that the research does not elaborately explain the way in which the participants should monitor the progress. Additionally, considering that the research was conducted remotely, subjectivity may have compromised the findings since the environments within which the participants were answering the questions were different. It is also clear to see that the research does not explain in rich detail the extent to which goal setting enhances values exploration to yield better performance because, goal setting alone has absolutely no impact on education, while values exploration on its own, has substantial effect. Overall, the strengths of the article’s theory, research and conclusions outweigh the weaknesses of the same.


Blackledge, J. T., Deane, F. P., & Ciarrochi, J. (2008). Acceptance and commitment therapy: Contemporary theory research and practice. Bowen Hills, Qld: Australian Academic Press.
Chase, J. A., Houmanfar, R., Hayes, S. C., Ward, T. A., Vilardaga, J. P., & Follette, V. (2013). Values are not just goals: Online ACT-based values training adds to goal setting in improving undergraduate college student performance. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science