Did you know that the current administration recently eliminated a proposal to include questions about sexual orientation and gender identity in the 2020 U.S. census survey? You may or may not realize that doing so poses potentially serious threats to the rights of many Americans through this powerful form of erasure. Without this data, we will continue to have only rough estimates of the number of LGBTQ+ people living in the U.S.
As stigma surrounding sexual minority identities has lessened over the last few decades, many psychologists and social scientists across specialties are increasingly encountering lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) participants in research conducted in general populations. As researchers who strive to maintain a certain neutrality when collecting and interpreting data, the degree to which we can actively further an equal rights agenda in conducting the research is limited. However, through the small, yet impactful act of prioritizing inclusivity in research practices, social scientists can help to challenge systems of oppression while simultaneously maintaining the integrity of the science.
By merely (yet accurately) recognizing the diversity that exists with regard to people’s sexualities, we can both affirm the identities of people of those experiences and signal to all participants that such experiences are present and valid. This can be accomplished, for example, through the use of inclusive language in surveys and offering more options than just the typical “male/female” and “straight/gay/lesbian” for possible answers to demographic questions. When phrasing questions in binary terms or restricting demographic responses, researchers may inadvertently oppress gender and sexual minority individuals by reinforcing binary conceptions of gender and imposing limited characterizations of sexual orientation.
Dismantling these systems calls for a paradigm shift within every social sphere—including scientific research. Consider the ways in which social science informs public policy. If we do not produce research that reflects the diversity that we know exists in our society, the public institutions that draw upon that research will continue to marginalize that diversity. Given the historical role science has played in oppression, we have an ethical imperative to do better.
Here are ten things that you can do to integrate inclusive research practices into your next study:
With a surge of awareness from many mainstream media outlets and a newfound push to teach the importance of mental health, psychology has never been more popular and readily accessible to the public. Although there has been an increase in awareness, there are still many fields and subjects of psychology that are not as commonly popular or are simply unknown.
After having graduated university, I felt a sense of confusion with the ever-present question of “what will I now do with my life?” My entire life until now had been structurally planned and now my training wheels have been removed and I am now on my own to veer and steer. As many psychology undergrad graduates, there is an eventual plan of continuing school, but exactly which subject in the wide spectrum of psychology? And exactly how many fields of psychology are there, apart from the commonly known?
Hence, the introduction of this interview. This blog post highlights a particular field: Sport and Performance Psychology. Apart from its research and publications, the APA also encompasses the many fields of psychology through various divisions. Each division or interest group is regulated and organized by a wide range of members, specialists, and psychologists nationwide. One such popular group, is Division 47- Sport, Exercise & Performance Psychology and due to its high viewing volume, I decided to interview a specialist in the field to answer questions you may have as a student interested in the field of Sport and Performance Psychology.
By Kate Hibbard-Gibbons, MA, Counseling Psychology Doctoral Student, Western Michigan University
“The Running Psychologists Annual “Ray’s Race” 5k Run and Walk is back again to celebrate its 39th year! Ray’s Race is an APA tradition that was started by former APA President and CEO, Ray Fowler. It is a great opportunity for getting some exercise during the convention, networking with colleagues, and seeing a beautiful part of Washington, DC. This year the race will be held at Anacostia Park! The gradPSYCH blog has featured a few posts regarding the importance of self-care for graduate students. Ray’s Race presents a wonderful opportunity for self-care and to get re-energized! Graduate students have truly enjoyed this race and are excited to share their experiences. Please read a couple of these experiences: Continue reading →
The APA Convention brings together hundreds of established psychologists, professionals and students to make meaningful connections, learn and grow. As you prepare for the upcoming convention, now is the time to start preparing.
Since the convention is fast approaching, take the opportunity to identify your goals and set an agenda to get the most out of your experience. Here are a few tips to help you connect and grow your network at the APA Convention, or any other professional setting for that matter:
Pump up your social media profile. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is updated with a professional headshot picture. Having your profile with the most-up-to-date information will ensure you can best promote your experience and accomplishments. Use Twitter or Facebook to follow and meet the speakers and workshop presenters before you attend. Also, as you meet people at the convention, you can tag them and make positive comments about workshops, discussions and the convention itself.
Update your CV or resume. Take advantage of sprucing up your CV or resume with current professional experience and research. The convention offers a space for you to distribute your CV or resume during the Career Fair hub, within the Exhibit hall. During this interactive experience, you will be able to engage potential employers and seek professional development opportunities.
Create business cards. Having business cards with your contact information may prove to be beneficial. Although, some people may prefer to enter information into their mobile devices, you should plan to have a business card available. Make sure to keep the design simple and professional with the essentials of your name, email address, phone number, and the name of your school and/or position. Sharing your business card will make a lasting impression.
Practice your “elevator pitch”. As you meet others while networking, you will be asked questions such as: who are you? what do you do? why are you attending the APA Convention? So, rehearsing your answers ahead of time will help you to prepare your thoughts. Going a step further, practice introducing yourself to people in the mirror. Be friendly and limit your introduction to a brief 30 seconds. Since presenters and others may be time-limited, there won’t be much of a chance to chat.
Attending the APA Convention is essential to staying in touch with current industry trends, networking, and getting face-to-face interaction that social media can’t replace. Therefore, if you are going to spend the money to attend, plan in advance to ensure you’ll get the most out of your time at the event.
See you there!
Editor’s Note: Check out these previous posts about attending the 2017 APA Convention.
It’s time for the next installment of Dear me, future psychologist, a gradPSYCH Blog exclusive in which a prominent psychologist writes a letter to his/her 16-year-old self. We hope you enjoy these letters and glean some invaluable wisdom and guidance as you decide whether to enter graduate school in psychology, as you navigate the challenges of graduate school, and as you make decisions about your career and life.
This letter is from John C. Norcross, PhD, ABPP, an internationally recognized authority on clinical psychology and psychotherapy. Dr. Norcross is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Scranton, Clinical Professor at The Commonwealth Medical College, and a board-certified clinical psychologist. He has published more than 400 scholarly publications and 20 books, including the 5-volume APA Handbook of Clinical Psychology, Psychotherapy Relationships that Work, Insider’s Guide to Graduate Programs in Clinical & Counseling Psychology, and Systems of Psychotherapy: A Transtheoretical Analysis, now in its 8th edition. He served as president of several APA divisions and international organizations, receiving multiple professional awards, such as APA’s Distinguished Career Contributions to Education & Training Award, Pennsylvania Professor of the Year from the Carnegie Foundation, and election to the National Academies of Practice. For more info, please visit Dr. Norcross’s website.