�Review the article, “Does Marriage and Relationship Education Work? A Meta-Analytic
Study,” and provide a brief summary of the issues related to disadvantaged and ethnically
�How would you as a researcher increase participation of disadvantaged and ethnically
diverse populations in marriage and relationship education programs?
�What types of measures and data collection methods would you employ to obtain more
reliable and generalizable results?
Conducting Qualitative Research
In this meta-analytical study titled, “Does Marriage and Relationship Education Work? A
Meta-Analytic Study,” Alan et al (2008) efficacy of marriage and relationship education is
investigated on two outcomes which include communication skills and relationship quality. This
study came at an appropriate time when human problems are growing. The strategies used in the
previous years have been to prevent mental problems. Educational interventions are becoming
an alternative method to help romantic couples form and sustain their relationships and
marriages. Second intervention is usually concerned with the didactic presentation of
information aimed to enhance marital quality and is manifest through management of finances
and alignment of finances. In most instances, these interventions have focused on
communication and problem solving skills that help couples to form stable relationships through
constructive criticism and development of good listening skills. This meta-analytic study
therefore investigated 86 coded reports that produced 500 effects sized that was instrumental in
arriving at the generalizations. The results indicated larger differences for published studies on
CONDUCTING QUALITATIVE RESEARCH 2
communication skills as opposed to relationship quality. On the aspect of disadvantaged and
ethnically diverse populations, there was no constructive conclusion on disadvantaged couples in
relation to the marriage and relationships education. This conclusion was further necessitated by
lack of economic diversity in respect to the ethnic and racial affiliations of the respondent. There
are however a few studies that has indicated that distressed couples are more likely to benefit
from marriage and relationship education. This area will require further research to find out how
marriage and relationship education programs affect this category of population.
In many studies, participation of disadvantaged and ethnically diverse population in
marriages and relationships education is restricted. This is a challenge that contributes to lack of
clear conclusions and findings about this category of population. As, a researcher, I have the
responsibility to ensure that such groups of audience or populations are included in the studies.
This can be done through various ways. One of the ways to include these categories of
population is to use either judgmental or purposive sampling. In these sampling techniques, as
the researcher, I will have to choose the sample based on the subjects that I think will be
appropriate and valuable or helpful for the study (Shadish & Baldwin, 2003). This method is
therefore appropriate in this case because, I will have to select those individuals or population
that is disadvantageous and that which comes from certain racial or ethnic group (Marshall,
1996). Secondly, I can select or incorporate this population by using cluster sampling. In this
technique, the researcher can carry out a study in an area that has high number of population that
is diverse and disadvantaged in one way or another. This cluster will help me to increase the
number of participation of disadvantaged and ethnically diverse populations in marriage and
relationship education programs. Another way is to use incentives and rewards for the
participants that will be willing to engage in this program. Though this may be viewed as
CONDUCTING QUALITATIVE RESEARCH 3
encroaching on the liberty and the views of the respondents, it is one way of ensuring that such
populations come out and participate in such programs. Rewards can be either tangible or
intangible, intangible rewards may include assuring them of the benefits of the programs in
enhancing their relationships and making their marriages stable and satisfying. Tangible rewards
may include giving them material goods. This will help to increase their participation. Another
way is to facilitate their involvement by visiting them at their various locations. This may be
expensive in term of logistics but can help to increase their participation.
Various measures and data collection methods can be employed to obtain more reliable
and generalizable results. One of the measures is to ensure that the sample size is representative.
There should be no bias in the selection of the sample size to ensure that it represents the entire
population. The second is to ensure that the resources are available and are enough to facilitate
the process of data collection and analysis. Third measure is to ensure that a researcher has
requisite skills and expertise to conduct a research and to analyze the same. Data collection is
also an important aspect in research and it requires choice of appropriate methods. Some of the
methods that can be used to ensure that results are reliable and generalizable include
questionnaires and interviews. These methods of data collection if well applied can result to
positive results. They are easy to use and at the same time reliable.
In conclusion, the research study is an important undertaking carried out to achieve a
specific purpose. It is therefore prudent to ensure that it is done well to enhance the reliability
and credibility of results. In the meta-analytic study conducted, researchers did no obtain
conclusive resolve on how marriage and relationship education programs affects
communication and quality of relationships among disadvantages and racial/ethnic population.
This was therefore a limitation to the study and such can be averted and improved by ensuring
CONDUCTING QUALITATIVE RESEARCH 4
that appropriate strategies are employed to increase participation of such population in such
Alan et al. (2008). Does marriage and relationship education work? A meta-analytical study,
Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 76(5): 723-734.
Marshall, M. (1996). “Sampling for Qualitative Research,” Family Practice, 13: 522–526.
Shadish, W., & Baldwin, S. (2003). Meta-analysis of MFT interventions, Journal of Marital and
Family Therapy, 29, 547–570.