Category Archives: Graduate School

Barriers to, and Benefits of, Grant Writing

Written by Michael Williams, PhD and Renee Cloutier, MS

grant writingGrant writing may be daunting at first, but it is always rewarding!

There are many reasons students are ambivalent about writing grant and fellowship applications. I’ll identify a few and maybe some will resonate with you or someone close to you.

A couple of popular barriers:

It is EXTRA work! As a graduate student, time is a distant luxury we often crave. Many graduate students are entrenched in heavy coursework, teaching or other work (gotta pay the bills!), and our beloved research with whom there is often a love/hate relationship. Some students have additional clinical training and responsibilities, specialized educational experiences, community service activities, or leadership roles in service to their professional identity. Isn’t this enough?!

NO! Grants actually compliment and support your goals. A grant can help pay for a research project, provide the support to increase the reach of your program, and more, which is only to your benefit. Some people use grants to hire consultants with expertise to help train them and assist with completing an aspect of their project/program (for example, a statistics consultant).

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Gender & Sexual Diversity: Why ALL Social Scientists Should be Conducting Inclusive Research

Written by:  J. Stewart, North Carolina State University, member of the APAGS Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity

lgbtq-2495947_1920Did 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:

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REPOST: What Students Should Know About Sports Psychology From A Specialist In The Field

shapiroThis interview with Dr. Jamie Shapiro, an Associate Professor and the Assistant Director of the Master’s in Sport and Performance Psychology program in the Graduate School of Professional Psychology at the University of Denver was originally posted in PSYCH LEARNING CURVE – Where Psychology and Education Connect, a blog by the APA Education Directorate by Isabelle Orozco, August 2017.


 

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.

Read the interview here.

Acquiring a Research-Oriented Post-doc

Graduate school doesn’t last forever, which means that as you approach your defense date you must also consider how to navigate an impending job market. For students interested in research careers, a logical next-step may be to acquire a post-doc, which affords more time after school to expand research skills. Although many psychology students now choose a post-doc as their next career move, the specifics as to how to actually land one are often unclear.

Because this process doesn’t need to be as mysterious as it usually is, below we’ve compiled some tips to help students navigate the post-doc market. Since we’ve already written on the topic of landing a health services psychology (HSP)-oriented post-doc, here we cater more to readers specifically interested in research-specific options.

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Self-Care at Convention

yogaIt is easy to be caught up in all of the excitement of convention; who wouldn’t be excited to meet their idol, talk about their research, or learn a new practice technique? While it is easy to get caught up in all of the running around (sometimes quite literally, especially if you do the Ray’s Race 5K), it is important to invest in self-care throughout convention.

Here are a few tips for self-care so you can impress the socks off of your new networks, rock your presentation, and clear your mind to learn optimally:

  • Plan ahead: The best way to combat stress is to plan ahead. Use the convention app to plan out what programs you want to see. Furthermore, reserve time for rest.
  • Build in some down time: Four days of psychology is a lot. Your hard work should be balanced with a little indulgence. Take a nap, watch some Netflix, and explore the city! This will reinvigorate you to be at the top of your game when you participate at convention.
  • Don’t forget to build in time for friends too: Convention for me is an opportunity to bond with my cohort members and new friends I have made along the way. There are a lot of great food options or activities to do with friends. Going solo this year? Stop by the APAGS social to meet other graduate students.

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