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Am Psychol. 2009 Nov;64(8):825-37. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.64.8.825.

International psychological research that matters for policy and practice.

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  • 1Department of Human Development, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-1131, USA.


After a brief history of the Committee on International Relations of the American Psychological Association, 3 points are made about international psychological research that matters. First, it matters when the definition of the research problem area and the findings can potentially be reflected in policy change, in the practice of educators or psychologists, or in the mindsets of a new generation of researchers. Person-centered analysis of adolescents' social and political attitudes has this potential and can complement variable-centered analysis. A cluster analysis of the IEA Civic Education Study's data in 5 Western European and 5 Eastern European countries illustrates this. The following 5 clusters of adolescents were identified: those supportive of social justice but not participative, those active in conventional politics and the community, those indifferent, those disaffected, and a problematic cluster of alienated adolescents. Second, research that matters is situated in a cultural context. It is proposed that publications using data from any single country be required to include information about the cultural context in which the research was conducted. Finally, it matters that attention be given to the dynamics of the collaborative international research process, not only to research results.

Copyright 2009 by the American Psychological Association

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