Demographic Characteristic Reporting Practices in the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
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The diversity of the United States population is increasing, and thus the field of speechlanguage pathology must be able to not only effectively treat diverse individuals but understand demographic’s effects on medical diagnosis, treatment diagnosis, and overall assessment and intervention. Speech-language pathologists’ use of evidence-based practice requires research that is representative and effective for the individuals receiving speech-language services. There currently exists significant underrepresentation and overall underreporting of the demographic characteristics of speech-language pathology research participants. Empirical research articles and notes from the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology were reviewed and analyzed to gather data concerning the levels and trends of reporting participants’ race, ethnicity, home language, and bilingualism. Current speech-language pathology graduate students were surveyed about their perceptions and reactions to the reporting of participant demographic characteristics. Participant race/ethnicity was reported in 39%, participant home language was reported in 46%, and inclusion of bilingual participants was reported in 15% of research articles and notes. More than 60% of the graduate students were surprised by the frequency of which participant demographic characteristics were reported and believed ASHA journals should require authors to report on participants’ demographics. In conclusion, the findings highlighted a need for inclusion and reporting of diverse participants and their demographics. This is crucial to most effectively assess and treat all individuals requiring speech-language services.
M.S. Communication Sciences and Disorders