The first CRA reflected on how the PSWB benefits reported in each study were impacted by research method, design, and the contextual influences due to conducting research in a school.
Any researcher aiming to collect student self-report data must make careful choices about the words and terminology used to discuss musical participation and PSWB. Using simplified language and avoiding unnecessarily academic or abstract terms would likely increase students' comprehension, thereby increasing their ability to both engage with content and offer meaningful responses.
However, to produce evidence that is convincing at the policy and academic level, support for a causal link between musical participation and PSWB is desirable, something correlational studies cannot provide (Shadish, Cook, & Campbell, 2002; Winner & Hetland, 2000).
Targeting at-risk populations reduces the risk of recruiting participants who will report high levels of PSWB at baseline, thus minimising the chance of ceiling and floor effects.
The second CRA reflected on how the PSWB benefits reported in each study were impacted by the attributes of their respective music programs.
Using these results, recommendations for necessary attributes to be included and avoided in programs specifically aimed at achieving PSWB benefits in mainstream schools are presented below.
Given mainstream students are by definition not identified as at-risk, and may already have reasonable levels of PSWB, they are less likely to experience benefits to the same magnitude as at-risk students.
This would give students more time to engage with a program, and may increase any effect of the program on PSWB. Again this recommendation confers with existing literature (Baker & Jones, 2006; Geretsegger, Holck, & Gold, 2012; Gold, Solli, Kruger, & Lie, 2009).
When aiming to achieve reportable PSWB benefits, programs designed and delivered specifically to target wellbeing are essential.
Programs targeting the PSWB needs of a specific group are also recommended.
While music therapists would be an obvious choice for this role, considering the resources this would require, a facilitator skilled in engaging participants, and using music to address PSWB goals should be sufficient: an approach reported successful in previous programs (Rusinek, 2008; Vaughan et al., 2011).
Using a combination of the above recommendations, programs should also aim to promote the appropriation of music as a PSWB resource.