Feature

As one of the people involved in the creation of Psychological Methods (PM), Stephen G. West, PhD, has a passion for making new developments in methodology accessible to psychologists.

PM was created to report on developments in measurement, research methods and statistics that contribute to the understanding of psychological data. PM also serves the important role of making the work of quantitative psychologists more visible to their colleagues. Under the leadership of founding editor Mark Appelbaum, PhD, the journal has grown to successfully communicate the work of quantitative psychologists, helping to bridge the gap between methodological specialists and research psychologists.

West has made significant contributions to the journal as its associate editor since 1997. Having also served as editor of the Journal of Personality from 1986­91, he is well-prepared to take on a strong editor's role. West brings a background in diverse areas of both research methods and statistics and substantive psychology to the editorship. He is a fellow of APA Div. 5 (Evaluation, Measurement and Statistics) and Div. 27 (Community Research and Action) and will receive the Henry Murray award for lifetime contributions in personality research from Div. 8 (Society for Personality and Social Psychology) at APA's 2001 Annual Convention.

West plans to use his extensive background in psychology and research methods to produce a journal that continues to meet high standards of technical excellence, contributes to the understanding of psychological data and is read by a broad audience of psychologists.

He will be assisted in these efforts by two experienced and distinguished associate editors, Betsy Becker, PhD, of Michigan State University, and Scott Maxwell, PhD, of the University of Notre Dame.

West also seeks to:

  • Ensure that the journal includes articles by both methodologists and substantive researchers, ideally in collaboration.

  • Propose that APA support a Web site for the journal. The site would contain data sets, computer script, graphics, animations and technical appendices associated with the published articles that could not be included in the published articles.

  • Invite commentary papers. Some of the articles published in PM address topics that are the focus of vigorous critical discussion among technical experts. The discussion papers would be published together with the target article to serve as a guide to aid researchers in understanding the issues being discussed.

  • Invite papers that present new developments. "There are several important new areas in research methods, measurement and statistics that are becoming increasingly important in other disciplines, but which are largely unknown to psychologists," West says.

  • Develop a new section that examines what has and has not been learned from the diverse approaches that have been taken to classic problems, for example, the measurement of growth and change over time.

To ensure PM's growth, West also plans to make a concerted effort to reach women, minorities and graduate students. To this end, he has supported the invitation of several highly distinguished women to serve on the editorial board. He also seeks out new PhDs and advanced graduate students as reviewers to supplement the perspectives of distinguished senior contributors. Manuscripts are reviewed by both technical experts and substantive researchers with an interest in the methodological issue; this joint review ensures both technical excellence and appropriateness for substantive researchers.

As a professor at Arizona State University, West has a particular concern for providing an accessible source of new information for graduate students, so that they can stay up-to-date on new advances in measurement, research methods and statistics.

"The 1990 survey of graduate training programs by Leona Aiken and her colleagues documented deficits in training in many fundamental methodological areas," he says, "even in some departments with elite reputations."

Under West, the journal will focus on reducing this deficit and lending attention to the methodological needs of researchers and graduate students in the field.

Further Reading

Manuscripts for the journal can be sent to West at the Psychology Department, Arizona State University, 950 S. McAllister Drive, Tempe, AZ 85287-1104.