The paper “ Utilizing the Classroom Peer Groups to Address Kids’ Social Needs -Evaluation of Friends’ Intervention Approach” is an impressive variant of an article on sociology. This article is an evaluation of the use of the Circle of Friends approach that s targeted towards improving the social skills and acceptance of those children who may be marginalized or not accepted among their peers. A succinct abstract/summary of the entire study is provided at the beginning of the article, which is further restated and substantiated in the discussions and conclusions drawn in the study. At the very outset, it clearly states the purpose of the article is to evaluate the application of the Circle of Friends approach in order to examine the interaction of personal and environmental variables on human behavior. It also shows how the problem of environmental and social variables and their impact on human behavior can actually be measured through interactive models; therefore it is a problem to which statistical methods can be applied.
The article also presents a well-structured literature review, starting with the views of researchers on the general correlations that can be established between personal and environmental variables and then moving into a discussion of more detailed interactive models of social competence. The literature review then goes on to point out that the existence of such models has not had much of an impact on the designing of social skills programs. Therefore, this study has also identified the gaps in the existing research, in that systematic classroom social networks have not been utilized in social intervention research. Based upon this, the study also points out the flaws that can occur in the execution of the interactive models of social competence that have already been devised and the limitations it may produce in generalizations of intervention programs.
The article points out the significance of the instant study and the fact that it addresses a limitation in the research area that has not been addressed by other studies. The article also undertakes a detailed literature review of the Circle of friends program in particular, which was also the method chosen for this research study. Therefore, the literature review is very well structured in that it moves from the general towards the specific, identifying interactive models and research gaps and the specific issue of the Circle of Friends program. Most of the references are solid ones because they are primary resources rather than secondary research material.
The study does not identify a hypothesis, rather it has aimed to evaluate the effects of the implementation of the Circle of Friends program in a classroom setting. The participant sample used is a small one and has been restricted to one English county with students being identified with behavioral problems. Hence, the results of this study may need to be corroborated and substantiated by further larger-scale studies before their validity is established. The instruments used in the study were reliable measures such as the Sociometric Rating Scale, the Self Perception Profile for children as well as the Teacher’s Rating Scale of Child’s Actual Behavior and other rating scales. As a result, a comprehensive set of measures has been provided for in this study, which enhances the internal validity of the research results, since it provides for a measure of the efficacy of the program from the perspective of the troubled child, the teachers as well as general measures, while also including measures of the efficacy of the program from the perspective of the other students in the classes where the program was organized.
The design of the study appears appropriate to measure the relevant research premise, which is to evaluate the efficacy of the Circle of friends Program. The research method offers a scaled measurement approach which appears relevant for this kind of study. Differences between groups are analyzed using ANCOVAs, with pre and post intervention scores being recorded.
The discussion of the results that were obtained is comprehensive and provides details about the results obtained through feedback and the implications. While arriving at the conclusion that the Circle of Friends program had a beneficial effect in general, the study also highlights the issues that require further consideration and research. It points out the difficulties experienced in drawing fine-grained comparisons between the results of the two intervention phases. Most importantly, the study points out its one single limitation – the small size of the sample that limits the application of these results on a wide-ranging basis.
On the whole, this is a well researched, well presented, well-structured article, which has a high degree of internal validity and presents some important findings in an area where the existing amount of research is limited. Therefore it addresses important research gaps and offers an excellent basis for future studies in the area of introducing classroom social networking which could potentially benefit many students in the future.