From the CEO

Collecting data is as fundamental to APA as it is for the psychology field in general. By collecting data on trends within our discipline, we strive to be an information resource for members, policymakers, media and the psychology community as a whole. We poll and survey for numerous reasons, among them: to know more about our members; to better understand the composition of the psychology work force and its student population; and to better understand the public’s perception of psychology. Many of these surveys, especially those collecting data on psychologists, are managed by APA’s Center for Workforce Studies. Others are conducted by APA’s Membership Development Office or within the auspices of the association’s public education campaign.

Serving many purposes

Our most anticipated survey results are those from the Salaries in Psychology survey we conduct every two years by polling members. Also popular is the annual graduate faculty salary survey, sent to all U.S. and Canadian psychology graduate departments. We also survey new doctorates every two years: Our Doctorate Employment Survey includes PhDs, PsyDs and EdDs and tracks trends in the employment patterns and settings of newly graduated psychologists. We also use our survey data to update the APA membership directory.

Surveying has played a particularly important role in the association’s strategic planning process. In 2009, as a starting point for the strategic plan, we surveyed a subset of members on their satisfaction with APA, asking such questions as what influences their decisions to stay members of the association. The top two answers were identification with the field and keeping current with psychology. We also asked where members want APA to focus. Top two responses: public education and advocacy.

As the next step in implementing our strategic plan, we will conduct a second poll of members this fall. This survey will delve further into members’ expectations of APA and how we are doing against those expectations. For example, we are asking members to rank APA’s performance in such areas as supporting the highest professional standards, providing career resource materials or educating the public about psychology. The poll also attempts to measure member engagement by asking about participation in one of our leadership conferences, how often they visit the APA website, or whether they belong to an APA Division. We will survey a sample of 5,000 members and fellows, randomly drawn with some oversampling of certain strata to be sure of an appropriate response level. These data will provide baselines as we work toward achieving our top strategic plan goal: enhancing member engagement.

Helping us serve you better

If you receive a survey from APA, I hope you will take a few minutes to complete it. Your participation in the APA Employment Update is particularly important to ensure your profile in the APA Membership Directory is complete and up to date. The data also help us shed light on such issues as the number of psychologists who work with underserved populations, in rural areas or with returning veterans.

There are also less formal opportunities to share your thoughts with APA as a member of our “QuiP” (Quick Opinion Poll) team, a small panel of members who have agreed to respond to short surveys. We typically conduct these four- to six-question surveys every few months to collect data to inform APA’s decision-making process. We might ask about the factors that go into your decision to attend or not attend the Annual Convention, for example, or how you access APA products and informational materials. If you receive an invitation to be part of the QuiP panel, I hope you will agree to participate. To access summary reports of APA surveys, go to APA's Center for Workforce Studies.