Sherianne Kramer

Member news:

Our Executive has grown! We would like to welcome our new members on the Executive: Mr. Kenneth Maine from the Military Psychological Institute, Ms. Mandy Wigdorowitz from JvR Psychometrics, Dr. Shafeeka Dockrat from Tshwane University of Technology and Prof. Vanessa Scherman from the University of South Africa. A warm welcome to our postgraduate student representative, Ms. Alexa Mostert and our undergraduate student representative and representative from the PsySSA Student Division, Ms. Molebogeng Mokoena.

Upcoming conferences

1st SA NHI Conference 28 – 29 November 2016- CSIR, Pretoria, Gauteng.

The theme of the conference is Human Resources For Health: Meeting The Needs Of The NHI which talks to human resource issues in the SA health system, workforce planning and development, leadership, scaling up and relevant education and staffing, performance and retention. Visit http://www.nhiconference.co.za/index.html for more information. 

HEAIDS National Youth Conference 2016; 6 – 9 December 2016; at the University of Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa.

The theme, “Ukuhlonyiswa Kwabasha”: Empowering our youth in South Africa, highlights the need for South African youth to share innovative practices in health education, health promotion, knowledge generation and capacity building in the context of HIV, STIs, TB, general health and wellness issues, as they impact upon educational outcomes in South Africa. Go to http://www.heaidsconference.co.za/ for further information. 

8th SA AIDS Conference; 13 – 16 June 2017; Durban, South Africa.

The conference theme The long walk to prevention: Every voice counts addresses prevention interventions and social and structural change required to control the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Visit http://www.saaids.co.za/ for more details. 

5th Southern African Students’ Psychology Conference; June 2017 – Harare, Zimbabwe.

This conference provides an opportunity for students/emerging scholars to actively contribute to the discipline of psychology. The conference theme is Psychologies in dialogue: Strengthening our African Connections which talks to Western Psychology ideologies in the African context and its current relevance. For more information contact co-chairs: Khonzi Mbatha- mbathk@unisa.ac.za or Errolyn L. Long- longel@unisa.ac.za 

1st Pan-African Psychology Congress; 17 – 22 September 2017; Durban International Convention Centre, South Africa.

This is the first-ever continental psychology congress hosted by The Pan-African Psychology Union (PAPU), the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA), and PAPU members in Africa. For enquiries email info@panafricanpsychologyunion.org 

Webinar: Integration in mixed methods research – hosted by Mixed Methods International Research Asociation; 08 November 2016; 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM (MST).

This mixed methods webinar series is presented by Dr. Patricia Bazeley and will cover strategies for integration in analysis in order to build strong and useful conclusions. Visit http://mmira.wildapricot.org/event-2276054 for more information.

Online learning

In keeping with the digital revolution, online learning provides the platform for universal access to education for everyone, everywhere. Below are some short courses specific to research methodology that are available from leading online learning institutions. Pursue these as a self-study initiative in order to gain in-demand skills for career advancement as well as to increase job prospects. 

Methods and Statistics in Social Sciences Specialization

This course covers research methods, design and statistical analysis for social science research questions. Available from https://www.coursera.org/specializations/social-science 

Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Excel

Develop your Excel skills especially those used to gather, transform, analyze, and visualize data.
Available from https://www.edx.org/course/analyzing-visualizing-data-excel-microsoft-dat206x-3 

Introduction to R for Data Science

This is an introductory course to R, to help you master the basics. Learn language fundamentals and basic syntax and how to perform data analysis. Available from https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-r-data-science-microsoft-dat204x-2 

Clinical Research Training On-Line

Study the ethical issues involved in research,  learn about the roles and responsibilities of the principal investigator, and how developments in science and health are reported by the media. Available from http://clinicalcenter.nih.gov/training/training/crt.html

Divisional News:

Research Methods Book:

The DRM is currently compiling a research methods book titled: Social Science Research in South Africa: Theory and Application. The book will comprise chapters by key experts in the field that combine research theory and applications as a means to disseminate knowledge on best research practices for South African researchers, scholars, practitioners and students. The book will be released in early 2017. 

DRM Career Workshop held at the 22nd South African Psychology Congress:

This workshop comprised a range of panel presentations by various researchers who are working in different sectors of the industry (such as in the corporate sector, education, marketing, health, academia, social development, and community-based research).

Objectives of the Workshop:

  • To equip students with knowledge about research psychology and other research-related career opportunities
  • To connect students to key stakeholders in the field of South African research
  • To further promote the DRM to students and, in turn, recruit new student members
  • To encourage discussions concerning the status of research psychology in South Africa
  • To enhance communication and collaboration with student members

Below we include excerpts from some of the presentations from the DRM Career Workshop. To see the full presentations, please see our website http://www.psyssa.com/public-interest/careers-in-psychology/

Ms. Sasha Gear, Just Detention International – South Africa (JDI-SA)

I was hired as a researcher at the CSVR – on a project called Violence and Transition. For my part of the project, I was required to look at former combatants from different sides of the political spectrum – including MK, APLA and the SANDF – and to trace their involvement in violence prior to the political transition and then following 1994. It became a much broader exercise, looking at their current circumstances and challenges including a substantial focus on trauma and its manifestations in their current lives; and attempting to push for greater support for ex-combatants. 

A few years ago I went through a spell where all I wanted to do was bake cup cakes and be a DJ – and give myself a break from violence! When I realised that that wouldn’t cut if for me for a range of reasons, I did a little bit of exploration on other research opportunities – like maybe marketing research (on cupcake eating behaviour) or with corporates, and I very quickly began to appreciate all over again, the huge variety of meaningful work that one gets to do in many of our NGOs: That you can move from researching a “problem” into a huge range of “solution developing” and nuancing work. And that’s not necessarily easy to come by elsewhere.  

Email: sgear@justdetention.org.za

Dr Nicola Taylor, Director of the Research Department at JvR Psychometrics 

After I finished my master’s degree, I wanted to move into the “real world” and out of academia. I got the opportunity to speak to Jopie de Beer at JvR about starting a research department for them. JvR was in the process of publishing the Basic Traits Inventory and one of our other tests, the Sources of Work Stress Inventory, so we already had a good relationship. I spent six months at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, working with Prof Boele de Raad as part of a research exchange programme and writing my proposal for my PhD. I started at JvR when I returned, and have now been running the research department there for over 11 years. 

I completed my PhD in 2008, which was no joke, working and studying at the same time! But luckily when you live, eat, and breathe research, it’s easier to see it as just another project that needs to be done. I’ve served on numerous committees, including the DRM at PsySSA, Executive at SIOPSA, and now also sit on the Steering Committee for the Association of Test Publishers in South Africa. I’m passionate about psychology and particularly around assessment. I still have ties to academia (I’m a senior research associate at the Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management at UJ) and occasionally lecture, supervise students, moderate courses and exams, and mark theses and dissertations (for my sins).

Email: nicola@jvrafrica.co.za

Ms. Lynn Hendricks, Director, Research Ambition and Operational Research Training Facilitator, Centre for Evidence-Based Health Care, Stellenbosch University 

I completed my B.Sc Psychology (Honours) at Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee in the United States and moved back to Cape Town and enrolled in the fulltime, with course work, Research Psychology Masters dual programme between the University of the Western Cape and the University of Oslo. I set my sights on the prized Human Science Research Council internship. I applied for the HSRC internship twice…each time I did not get the letter I was hoping for. The third time, in my cover letter I stated, “I have applied twice…I have set my goal to do my internship at the HSRC and I will continue applying until I am successful”…I started as a Junior Researcher 6 months later. The internship was the defining moment in my research career. I had exposure to senior researchers, how grant applications and funding worked, how international projects were run, how to design studies and write proposals in under 60 minutes and most importantly, how to navigate the publishing phenomenon. 

I started my research consultancy, Research Ambition, in 2013 as I had been consulting for about 5 years prior to students, staff and NGOs and wanted to start building my company and client database. The company now has a strong client base as well as service provider database. We see many students and most research work is requested instead of applied for. I also work as an Operational Research Training Facilitator at the Centre for Evidence-Based Healthcare at Stellenbosch University. The world of medical practice and health research has been opened up to me. I decided to return to the desk for my second masters in Clinical Epidemiology. I plan to complete next year and then pursue my PhD in Psychiatric Epidemiology and specialise in research methodology.

Email: research.ambition@gmail.com

Ms. Mandy Wigdorowitz, JvR Psychometrics

After completing my MA year, I got an internship at JvR Psychometrics (which I will finish in December 2016). JvR Psychometrics is predominantly a psychological test publisher and distributor. On a daily basis, my research involves statistical analysis, validation, development, norming etc. of psychological assessments specific to the South African context. The internship has afforded me the opportunity to become accredited in various psychological assessments including the MBTI, EQ-i 2.0, Hogan assessment, and the StrengthScope.

Although I am a young researcher, I have taken each opportunity presented to me to better the research psychology profession as well as to enhance my personal knowledge. Part of doing this is to critically discuss and present research on national and international platforms. In June 2016 I won the Young Scholar Award to present research at the International Test Commission (ITC) conference in Vancouver, Canada. I have also presented research at the UNISA Student Conference, the South African Psychology Congress, and the South African National Conference on Violence.

Email: Mandy.wigdorowitz@gmail.com

Ms. Rakhee Naik, Research Manager, Kaufman Levin Associates

My involvement in market research is primarily from a quantitative viewpoint where my day to day tasks include ensuring the smooth running of projects from beginning to end. The typical research process includes writing proposals and costing for projects, questionnaire design, ensuring the smooth running of the data collection/ fieldwork and analysis and reporting. Depending on the objectives of the research, analysis and reporting primarily consists of percentages, cross-tabulations and to some extent, correlations, factor analysis and regression among other statistical techniques. In addition to this, KLA also assists clients in understanding who their consumer is and how they are able to more efficiently target these individuals in growing their presence within the market, including, at times, identifying the price point at which consumers would be most willing to purchase a particular product. Although only touching the surface, this is indicative of the flexibility and broad exposure that one is favoured to when working within this field.

The greatest advantage of research psychology is the flexibility it allows in pursuing a career in almost any sector within the economy. Researchers, with an already innate curiosity, are trained to adapt whilst thinking out the box, one of the most advantageous skills that could be used in practically any field. This has resulted in a high demand for researchers in the workplace who approach problems with innovative solutions. Despite market research being particularly deadline driven resulting in long hours at certain times, the exposure gained is more often than not, worth it. If pursuing a career within this field, it is important that you are able to work both individually and within a team, are able to manage your time efficiently, pay attention to detail, be analytical and curious, are able to communicate effectively and are able to work under pressure.

Email: rakheen@kla.co.za


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