Graduate Students: Our Not-So-Secret Weapon
As our need for tests and speed in acquiring them became more evident, we decided on a new strategy to search for appropriate content: graduate students. Who better to understand the need for the tests and to have the research skills to find relevant content?
APA is fortunate to have found a number of gifted local graduate students to work with us on PsycTESTS®, some of whom have moved on to postdocs or careers but continue their PsycTESTS research.
Here are profiles of three who have been among our most useful and productive.
Hilah Kate Kaufman
Hilah Kate Kaufman writes:
I am currently completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, where I am working as a family therapist. I graduated in 2012 with a doctorate in clinical psychology from George Washington University. My areas of clinical expertise are early childhood mental health, childhood trauma, and family therapy. I have focused my research on understanding the interplay between environmental and genetic factors in shaping relationships and family dynamics.
I have been working for PsycTESTS since March 2011. It has allowed me to use my skills as both a clinician and researcher. My work has given me a true appreciation for the history and evolution of the field of psychology. I have particularly enjoyed researching tests and measures on gender roles, culture, and ethnicity from the past 75 years. An examination of such measures can provide a window into changing attitudes and perceptions of social constructs over time.
Julius A. Najab
Julius A. Najab writes:
I am near completion of my dissertation at George Mason University. I study and am interested in quantitative psychology, evaluation, and social science in social policy.
Countless times in professional conferences and meetings I've heard calls for a database like PsycTESTS. Once a singular database has widespread dissemination through the academic world, I suspect we, psychological scientists, will seriously examine the development and validation processes of our measures.
Easing the burden of access to knowledge will help the psychological research community when deciding whether a new measure needs to be developed or modified. One thing that always surprises me is that authors will not highlight or clearly identify their newly created measures. Measures and methodological articles generally have very high citation rates, so it would make sense for authors to emphasize their new potentially very beneficial scientific contribution.
Chris Nettles writes:
I am in my last year of a doctoral program in Clinical/Community Psychology at George Washington University and currently interning with two organizations, The Evaluators' Institute and Community Science, Inc. I am primarily interested in health disparities among those in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community, especially in how stressful environments "get under the skin" in such a way as to affect all aspects of health, psychological and physical.
Part of my work with PsycTESTS involves finding references that may be particularly obscure, and I spend a good portion of my time at the Library of Congress (my first time with a closed stack system — very interesting).
I have been most struck by the sheer volume of tests available on just about every topic imaginable. If there is something that you want to study from a psychological perspective, there is likely already a test out there for it.
One of the real strengths of the database is that it does allow one to get a full historical perspective on how measuring a particular psychological construct or process has evolved over the years. For example, in the LGBT population I study, prior to the 1970s the measures and articles in which they appeared took a decidedly more pathological view of homosexuality. Today the measures seem more focused on understanding the challenges LGBT individuals may face in the world.