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Graduate Student Committee Webinar Series

In the spring of 2016, SPSSI began to host methodology- and policy-focused webinars organized by the SPSSI Graduate Student Committee. These one-hour webinars, which are free to attend and freely available in recorded form on SPSSI's YouTube page, are an excellent primer on important methodological approaches and social issue research/policy topics. If you are interested in speaking on a future webinar, follow these links to learn more and submit an abstract for a methodology webinar or a policy webinar.

Societal Psychosis: A Meta-analysis of Systems that Make it Difficult to Determine and Connect with Reality (2020-21 Series)

Public Reckoning with the Criminal Justice System

Our current severe political divide reveals a renewed national reckoning to combat systemic racism and the oppression of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), challenging each of us to critique our own moral standing in society’s social divide. In this webinar, panelists addressed some of the key issues essential to criminal justice reform, including: the war on drugs and its long-term sequelae of harm among BIPOC, the damaging effects of stereotypes and prejudice embedded in colorblind formalism, the relation between extreme social disadvantage and criminal wrongdoing, the distinction between personal moral responsibility and the social construction of “criminal”, the impact of violence exposure and victimization of minoritized youth and adults, the school-to-prison pipeline, policies to end the disproportionate representation of Latinos in the criminal legal system, the role of restorative justice and healing transformation, and other issues pertaining to the criminal justice system. Panelists included: Jody Armour, JD, the Roy P. Crocker Professor of Law at the University of Southern California; Genea Richardson, the Program Coordinator at Healing Dialogue and Action; and Maritza Perez, JD, Policy Analyst and Director of the Office of National Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance. The event was organized by the SPSSI Graduate Student Committee (GSC) as part of its Spring 2021 Webinar Series and was moderated by GSC members Jason Cruze (California School of Professional Psychology), Allen Chukwuhdi (Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis), and Stephanie Miodus (Temple University).

The White Supremacist State through the Racial Triangulation of Black, Asian, and White Communities

This webinar is a collaborative inquiry and discussion on the racialization processes of Black, White, and Asian communities and the unique manifestations of the White Supremacist state in the context of increased police brutality and criminalization of Black people, rising xenophobia and hate crimes against Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), and the resurgence of state sanctioned terrorism and extremism against BIPOC communities. The purpose of this webinar is to promote public education on the invisible structures and manifestations of the White Supremacist state in America and the manufactured, historical animosity which has maintained deep divisions among BIPOC communities. The webinar brings greater awareness on the reality of power dynamics between and within groups, especially related to the goals of racial justice movements today. Webinar panelists: Joe Feagin, Ph.D. (Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Ella C. McFadden Professor at Texas A&M University), Claire Jean Kim, Ph.D. (Professor of Political Science and Professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Irvine), and Daphne Penn, Ph.D. (Visiting Fellow at Harvard University and Incoming Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania's Population Studies Center. Webinar moderators: SPSSI Graduate Student Committee Chair-Elect Tina R. Lee (Columbia University) and Chair Obiageli Uguru (Fuller School of Psychology). This event was organized by the SPSSI Graduate Student Committee as part of its Spring 2021 Webinar Series.

A How-To Webinar on Producing Policy

This webinar was organized by SPSSI's Graduate Student Committee (GSC) and provided participants with an opportunity for “Producing Policy.” To make this happen, webinar facilitators drew from and built on topics featured in the GSC’s 2021 spring webinar series (e.g., criminal justice, immigration, racial justice/coalition building). Participants were provided with an overview on how how different forms of policy-relevant written communication (e.g., Policy Briefs, Resolutions, Fact Sheets, and Infographics) can inform policy stakeholders. Please note that the interactive portion of this webinar, in which attendees broke out into small groups to draft policy communications materials of their own, are not included in this recording. If you would like to download the slides that accompany this recording and the accompanying resources, visit:

Past Methodology Webinars

Flipping the Classroom in Higher Education: Becoming student centered

Through the application of psychological theory, concepts and research a shift from lecture to student centered learning changes the focus of educating. From week one student's begin work on a semester project that culminates as their final exam. Providing choice and control, students explore sub-fields of psychology in which to position their project, then, through various assignment’s and activities that are covered in our introductory psychology class, knowledge is co-actively constructed. This form of educating enables higher order thinking and active learning through assignments that are directed toward an application of theory and concepts in a final project. The learning outcomes are cumulative as material from previous class meetings are tied in with new material, through active engagement, toward a final project. Active in class collaboration and prompted online discussion boards allow students to be participatory in the expression of diversity in thought, experiences, and backgrounds as they design their project across the semester. The purpose of this project focused outcome is to allow students an opportunity for agency and ownership of the material through the application of psychology to their world and their potential career paths. The presenter, graduate student-worker Nancy McLaughlin-Walter (University of West Georgia), details her experiences in active learning in this engaging webinar. Slides can be found [here].

Internationalizing the Introductory Psychology Curriculum: Critical Diversity Interventions in the Classroom

Given their breadth and relatable content, introductory psychology courses are opportune teaching experiences for graduate students looking to integrate diversity and social justice content. In this webinar, we will discuss our two strategies to internationalize the introductory psychology curriculum; first, the normalization of psychological ways of being beyond WEIRD settings and, second, de-naturalizing taken for granted psychological theory. These strategies extend beyond cultural diversity by also promoting critical consciousness about social and economic inequalities in the US. The presenters, Ph.D. student-workers Nader Hakim (University of Kansas) and Natasha Bharj (University of Kansas) will share our experiences, pedagogical motivations, and several lesson plan outlines. Our post-semester quantitative evaluations suggested that this approach amplified student comprehension because, rather than integrate diversity and social justice as peripheral addendums, we made such content integral to a full understanding of the material. We will close the webinar by discussing methods of evaluating internationalizing interventions and our experiences applying these strategies in classes across a range of levels and formats. Slides can be found [here].

Introductory Qualitative Research Methods
Do you have research questions that can't be answered with traditional statistical analyses or numbers? Do you have a burning desire to conduct focus groups or interviews with real people in the community instead of surveying the undergrad population? Do words like higher-order coding, thematic analysis and subjectivity sound cool yet daunting? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be interested in attending this webinar. In our presentation, we will provide an overview of how to conduct a qualitative research study, including data collection, data analysis, using software, and qualitative reporting. We will also compare quantitative versus qualitative research methods, discuss grounded theory, and demonstrate a practical way to conduct an interview/focus group, as well as transcribe and analyze a transcript all within the context of a community-based project. Presenters Kashmala Qasim of York University and Alisha Salerno of York University provide a one-hour introduction to qualitative research methods. The slides that accompany the presentation are available here.

Nonverbal Behavioral Coding for Researchers
Designing a project where you will be collecting nonverbal behavioral data but don’t know where to start? Interested in learning about the pros and cons of nonverbal research? Have too much time on your hands and need something to do for about an hour? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, this is the webinar for you! This webinar provides a broad overview of the ins and outs of nonverbal behavioral coding with a focus on measuring facial expressions and body language for psychological research. The presenter, Ph.D. student Katlin Bentley of Washington University in St. Louis, discusses applications for this method, how to select a coding scheme, how to train coders, and general tips for data collection and analyses. Her goal is to provide a “behind the scenes” look at the process of developing and conducting nonverbal behavioral research from the perspective of a graduate student. The slides that accompany the presentation are available here.

Measuring and Assessing Constructs
Measurements of constructs in the social sciences are often inadequate. Constructs may be measured using “new” scales with inadequate reliability, or inadequate convergent and discriminant validity. Often this information is not evaluated. Sometimes we use previously validated scales but fail to check the psychometric properties in the current sample, and invalid conclusions can result when measurement error is too high. Unfortunately, the analysis of scale validity and the assessment of the structural properties of psychological constructs are often ignored in published papers. This webinar, featuring a presentation by Ph.D. student Joshua Wright of the University of Western Ontario, provides an introduction to the process of evaluating the psychometric properties of your construct that will prevent you from unintentionally undermining your research with poorly measured constructs. This is a “how to” to factor analysis (EFA and CFA), composite reliability, and average variance extracted.

An Introduction to Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Long considered the gold standard for research, systematic reviews and meta-analyses form the basis for many practitioners' and policymakers' decisions. In this webinar, Ph.D. student Robert Marx of Vanderbilt University provides an introduction to conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis, walking participants through the search, screening, and coding processes. He also discusses practical applications for systematic reviews and meta-analyses and locating additional resources to help researchers in their process. Because this is an introduction, the webinar focuses primarily on creating a replicable, thorough, and far-reaching search, establishing finite and clear inclusion and exclusion criteria, applying those criteria in the screening process, and then extracting meaningful data from eligible studies in order to calculate effect sizes.

Measuring True Change over Time - An Autoregressive Latent Trajectory Analysis
There are multiple ways to measure and understand change over time. Social scientists, including psychologists, are equipped with various statistical approaches to examine change and each approach consists of specific assumptions and answers specific kinds of research questions. In this webinar, Ph.D. student Juan Del Toro of New York University presents these traditional statistical models of change (including autoregressive models and latent growth models used to examine constructs at both univariate and bivariate levels) as well as an autoregressive latent trajectory analysis (ALT; Bollen & Curran, 2006). He discusses the theoretical questions relevant to these models as well as the practical ways in which these models can be used (for example, his own research from secondary data analyses).

An Introduction to Cardiovascular Psychophysiology
In this webinar, Ph.D. student William Ryan of the University of California at Santa Barbara speaks to researchers wishing to learn more about theory and methods of cardiovascular (CV) psychophysiology. CV measures provide a means of collecting continuous and covert indices of psychological states and can also serve as indicators of health. This makes them applicable to a wide variety of research topics and paradigms, particularly those subject to reporting biases or focused on the psychophysiological mechanisms underlying health disparities. The webinar includes an overview of the general principles of psychophysiology; covers the physiological structures and processes relevant to heart rate, impedance, blood pressure, and heart rate variability data; and relates these indices to a number of theoretical perspectives including the biopsychosocial model of challenge and threat. Webinar participants also learn the basics of designing psychophysiological studies and collecting CV data.

An Introduction to Social Network Analysis in Psychology
In this webinar, Dr. Joanna Weill (then a Ph.D. Candidate) of the University of California at Santa Cruz provides an overview of Social Network Analysis, a methodology for collecting and analyzing data, and a way of learning about the world that focuses on the relationships between people. This webinar explains what social networks are and what types of psychological questions can be addressed with this methodology. The presenter also discusses strategies for collecting social network data, basic types of data analyses, and useful resources. Please note that although social network analysis can be used to look at online social networks like Facebook and Twitter, this is not the focus of the webinar.

Past Policy Webinars

A Glimpse at a Future Career in Policy
The path to the policy world for psychology graduate students can be a bit ambiguous. Do I have to work for the government? Can I still conduct research? Do I have to leave academia? Ph.D. student Chelsea Crittle examines the three avenues in which psychologists can engage in policy work, both in graduate school and beyond. Whether you’re interested in becoming university faculty, working for a policy-focused organization, or working within the government, this webinar will give you a better sense of how psychologists from various backgrounds can influence social policy.

Simple, Serious and Solvable: The Three S's of Climate Change
Climate change is one of the—if not the—most pressing social issues of our time. As psychologists and other social scientists have explored through their scholarship, the effects of climate change are associated with everything from depression and intimate partner violence to intergroup conflict and refugee crises. In order for psychologists and other social scientists to do their best science, they need to know what major findings and insights are coming out of other fields. In this webinar, Dr. Scott Denning of Colorado State University breaks down the science behind climate change and talks about what it will take to prevent catastrophic climate change.

Fostering Refugee and Immigrant Belonging and Well-being
In this webinar, Ph.D. candidate Achu Johnson Alexander and Dr. Anita H. Fábos, both of Clark University, discuss the role of local refugee and immigrant resettlement within the context of changing demographic and societal characteristics at the state level. In addition to providing a detailed overview of the methodology and findings related to this exploratory research project—called “Shared Worlds”— the presenters discuss how their research aims to expand our understanding of refugee and immigrant integration beyond the typical indicators (e.g., jobs, housing) to get at how refugees and immigrants develop a sense of belonging in their new communities. The presenters also discuss how data gathering on both foreign- and U.S.-born populations has been useful in understanding inter-group perceptions of belonging, and dedicate time to discussing the challenges, opportunities, and lessons learned that may be instructive to others who study or work with refugee and/or immigrant populations, especially at the local level. 

Science, Policy, and Controversy
Science involves epistemically significant decisions — decisions that can make a substantial difference in the outcomes of research — at every stage of the research process, from posing a research question to selecting data-gathering methods to analyzing and interpreting the resulting data.  In this webinar, Dr. Daniel Hicks examines the way epistemically significant decisions can become flashpoints for policy controversy, using examples from controversies over vaccination, genetically modified foods, chemical safety, and climate change. This phenomenon creates serious challenges for the ideal of public policy based exclusively on objective, universally-accepted "sound science.”