ACTION ALERT: Tell the APA to include qualitative methods in Clinical, School and Counseling Psychology training!

SQIP Action Alert!

The APA Commission on Accreditation is permitting public comment on their new regulations until this Saturday February 4th, 2017.  Although they are specifically requiring quantitative and psychometrics training for clinical, school, and counseling psychology graduate programs, these regulations significantly underemphasize qualitative research.  Tell them we want qualitative research included! And spread the word! The SQIP executive committee has submitted the comment (below).  If you agree with this comment, please take a minute, visit the link (also below), and post a comment saying, “I am writing in support of the comment made by the SQIP executive committee about the inclusion of qualitative  methods.”  Or, add a comment of your own.  Please quickly forward this note to  colleagues, or groups that include APA members, who you think might be interesting in advancing education on qualitative methods in psychology.  After the 4th the portal will close.

Thank you for your action!


The item in question is the top item on APA’s list of items for comment: “Implementing Regulations (DSK, Direct Observation, PWC, D.4-7(a) and D.4-7(c))”. You can click on the link that says “See Comments” to see all comments, including ours. You can click on the link that says “Select” in order to leave your own comment. The comment pertains to “DSK” or “Discipline-Specific Knowledge”.

SQIP Executive Committee Comment:

The Executive Committee of the Society for Qualitative Inquiry in Psychology (SQIP), a section of APA Division 5 (Quantitative and Qualitative Methods) recommends the inclusion of qualitative research and mixed methods research into the section on Discipline-Specific Knowledge Category 4: Research and Quantitative Methods (before the mention of meta-analysis).  We recommend that this inclusion detail topics such as philosophies of science (e.g., ontology and epistemology), methodologies, methods of data collection/generation, methods of data analysis, criteria for evaluating quality, qualitative research ethics, researcher reflexivity, and the mobilization and dissemination of these research approaches (see implementation suggestion below).

We are at a point in our profession in which the publication of these methods has been rising steadily (Hays, Wood, Dahl, & Kirk-Jenkins, 2016; Ponterotto, 2005a; 2005c).  These methods (e.g., phenomenology, grounded theory, discourse analysis, narrative research, consensual qualitative research) are coming into common practice, especially in research related to psychotherapy, counseling, education, health, and cultural studies.   The value of these methods are recognized by federal granting bodies as well, such as the NIH  ( Guidelines have been developed to support the design, review, and reporting of these methods broadly (e.g., Levitt, Motulsky, Wertz, Morrow, & Ponterotto, 2017 online first) and for specific qualitative methods (e.g., Fassinger, 2005; Fine, 2013; Gilligan, 2015; Hill, 2012; Hoshmand, 2005; Kidd & Kral, 2005; Suzuki, Ahluwalia, Mattis, & Quizon, 2005; Wertz, Charmaz, Mullen, Josselson, Anderson & McSpadden, 2011). The APA Handbook of Clinical Psychology features a chapter on qualitative methods and the APA Publication Manual will include guidelines for reporting qualitative research in its next edition.  Journals focused on qualitative research are proliferating (e.g., Feminism & Psychology, Qualitative Health Research, Qualitative Psychology, Qualitative Research in Psychology) and many journals publish both qualitative and quantitative research.  Division 5 of APA is now called “Quantitative and Qualitative Methods” in recognition of the established use of both sets of methods in our discipline.  Yet our field still is lacking the systematic education for its members to consume or review this work.

By providing education on both qualitative and quantitative methods, psychological training programs can broaden the range of scientific tools available to support inquiry.  These tools have many purposes and can stand on their own or can be combined with quantitative methods in mixed methods programs of research.  Researchers who have an understanding of both philosophy of science and quantitative and qualitative research designs will be best equipped to consume, evaluate, and engage in the contemporary practices of their profession.  This education can enable researchers to select, tailor, and combine methods to best fit their questions and the needs of the field.  Quantitative and qualitative methods then can better complement one another and strengthen psychological science.

In terms of implementation, we suggest that the text “qualitative methods, mixed methods” follow the term “quantitative methods” in the existing first bullet point on research methods.  As well, we suggest that a separate bullet on qualitative methods is generated that reads:  “Qualitative methods, including topics such as philosophies of science (e.g., ontology and epistemology), methodologies, methods of data collection/generation, methods of data analysis, criteria for evaluating quality, ethics, reflexivity, and forms of knowledge mobilization and dissemination.”

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