Article Analysis : Counsellor Practices and Student Perspectives

Counsellor Practices and Student Perspectives: Perceptions of Career Counselling in Australian Secondary Schools

Analysis of the abstract

In the article’s abstract, the authors inform readers that they will be reporting and discussing experiences presented by secondary school students of school-based career counselling services. The authors, the describe how they conceptualize a continuum of service delivery that focuses on features that students value the most, based on descriptions and narratives from school-based career counsellors’ and students respectively(Walker, Alloway, Dalley-Trim, & Patterson, 2006).The authors then briefly inform the readers of the criteria they used in their selection of school career counsellors for review in this research based on how much time they spent with small groups and individuals; the more the time the better, as itcomplies withstandards of international research(Walker, Alloway, Dalley-Trim, & Patterson, 2006).In as far as, the article is concerned; the abstract does a commendable job of summarizing and highlighting what the article is about, what the focus of the article is, the people the article touches on, consequent respondents and the criteria used in the selection of the respondents. In effect, the abstract of the article matches very well the ideas presented in the article.

This article’s abstract possesses the good qualities of an abstract as its concise description of the researcher’s work effectively entices potential reader to seek access to the article in its entirety. Even in its brevity, the article’s abstract does almost as much work as the document that follows as it uses single sentences and in other cases combined set of sentences to achieve its goal of a unified, coherent, and concise communication for the purposes of perusal. The authors use the abstract appropriately to inform their potential reader on themotivation, approach, and results for the research.Be that as it may, the article’s abstract falls short in that it does not give a convincing problem statement and conclusion onwhat the implications of their findings. This however, could have been as a result of a word count limitation in which case the authors would have had to prioritize key information and fit in as many keywords and search phrases as they possibly could within the space provided.


Analysis of the findings

From their research, the authors found that the quality attributed to a person that holds thestatus of a career counsellor is explicitly connected to the perceived value of a school’s career counsellor (Walker, Alloway, Dalley-Trim, & Patterson, 2006).These findings were drawn from the responses of students and resonated with the consistency of the numerous indicators that students identified with quality career counselling. The ability of a school career counsellor to separate and address a student with reference to their individual concerns, as opposed to seeing them asan indistinguishable part of a larger body of students was held in high regard by students as this made them feel seen for who they are. A large capacity for problem-solving skills was one of the descriptions that the students felt reflected a career counsellor they would like to work with because they felt they were able to get help as far as being informed goes in making informed decisions and choices. The characteristics of being flexible and accessible were highlighted and highly appreciated among the students as reflected in their responses(Walker, Alloway, Dalley-Trim, & Patterson, 2006).

The findings were arranged around the two major subtopics of Student-centered/information-centered service delivery and Tensions between philosophies of practice, which represented issues(Walker, Alloway, Dalley-Trim, & Patterson, 2006). These two areas were highlighted and focused on because they featured in the problem statement and the areas the research paper aimed to investigate and use the information to conceptualize a continuum of service delivery that focuses on features that students value the most.In the conceptualization of the service deliverycontinuum of career counselling services for schools,the research data was used to label one end of the continuum as information-centered approachesand the other end as student-centered approaches(Walker, Alloway, Dalley-Trim, & Patterson, 2006).The continuum was then populated with the ideas that came up in the exploration of the tensions that were present and apparent between the varying philosophies of practice among the interviewed career counsellors.

In outlining their research findings in the article, that authors were very balanced and used several of the excerpts from the student responses that they interviewed to support and validate their findings. The research paper uses the findings section and the discussion section effectively to present the key results of their research and interpret the meaning of those findings respectively. The fact that the research paper separated and presented the findings section and the discussion section as two different parts gave the article a sense of order. This also provided the findings section with ample space to make a careful presentation of how the findings were arrived at and include excerpts ofsupporting evidence, which is very useful for the reader as it provides tangible evidence from which they can derive their own assessment and interpretation. As a form of data presented in text form that complemented each other and gave support to the findings, this added to the authenticity of the research and made the findings more believable. The findings section was divided into sections that not only organized but also made the paper palatable in the sense that assimilation and synthesis of information was made much easier with leading subtopics that guide the reader.

Analysis of the conclusion

The authors of this research paper re-contextualized the problem in light of the findings and the subsequent interpretation of the findings by showing how career-counselling services in Australian schools varies in experiences and how this is a concern in the provision of school-based career counselling services that is not only of high quality but also provided consistently. The article points to this realization and directs the call for action towards school leadership levels, federal levels and state levels where decisions would have the most impact if any changes were to be effected in the provision of school-bases career-counselling services. In the conclusion, the authors are keen to point out the limitations of their study. They do this by pointing out that in as much as the study advocates for a quality career counselling service by providing insights on why it would be useful; the research does not however define what a quality career counselling service actually looks like(Walker, Alloway, Dalley-Trim, & Patterson, 2006). After which they point out an area of research that be explored for further insights, which are research areas that would complementtheir study in the finding efficacious models of practice that can be scaled.

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