From the Editor
The purpose of this editorial is to reiterate the importance of collecting and describing the characteristics of research participants when submitting manuscripts to AJSLP. At a minimum, information needs to be provided about participants' age, gender, race/ethnicity, SES/educational level, and languages spoken. However, additional information may be pertinent to specific investigations, depending on the populations studied and research questions asked. Such information includes, but is not limited to, participants' generational or immigrant status, cultural group, country of origin, years in the United States, English fluency, dialect spoken, language experiences (i.e., exposure to and usage of English), and other characteristics that may aid in the interpretation of results (American Psychological Association, 2010; Beins, 2009).
Without the inclusion of such information, researchers risk assuming the stance of "absolutism," which assumes that the phenomena of interest are the same regardless of culture, race, ethnicity, and SES. Provision of detailed information about participant characteristics allows researchers to move toward a position of "universalism," which recognizes that "there may be universal psychological processes ... that ... manifest differently" depending on the culture, race/ethnicity, and or SES of participants (Beins, 2009, p. 356). This applies to the study of biological factors as well. In other words, researchers cannot assume that no differences exist between groups until this underlying hypothesis has been proven.
Additionally, a thorough description of participants allows readers and researchers to determine to whom research findings generalize and allows for comparisons to be made across replications of studies. It also provides information needed for research syntheses and secondary data analyses (Bein, 2009). As a result of these analyses, gaps in existing bodies of research can be identified as well as universals and variations that occur within and between populations.
Therefore, authors submitting manuscripts to AJSLP are encouraged to provide information about the participants in their studies that includes the racial/ethnic identity, educational level and/or SES, and languages spoken, as well as additional information that is pertinent to their sample and research questions, whenever possible. Additionally, reviewers are asked to attend to the description of study samples when reviewing manuscripts for publication. The inclusion of such information will greatly add to the field's knowledge base and understanding of universals and variations that exist among populations.
This article has been cited by other articles:
E. Inglebret, A. Skinder-Meredith, S. Bailey, C. Jones, and A. France
International Research and Variation in Views of Ethnicity
Perspectives on Global Issues in Communication Sciences and Related Disorders, September 1, 2012; 2(2): 66 - 72.
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