Since its inception back in 1979, InPsych has long been the primary means of communication between the APS and its members. Nowadays, however, with the growth of the APS website and other means of communication, the Society wants to ensure that InPsych is still relevant and supplying its members with the information they require, presented in a way that is meaningful and at the right level of detail.

With this in mind, the Society recently constructed an online reader survey. The survey was divided into four sections:

  1. reader habits;
  2. reader impressions;
  3. reader wants/needs; and
  4. reader demographics.

We asked for your opinion on the choice of topics, the depth and accuracy of articles and the quality of writing, as well as the design, layout and presentation of the publication.

Just over 300 people completed the survey, of which 84 per cent were current APS members. The majority of respondents described themselves as psychologists in private practice (30 per cent), psychologists in the public sector (23 per cent), or as students (16 per cent). Only four per cent of respondents described themselves as academics.

Reader habits

Twenty-two per cent of respondents indicated that they read InPsych completely, while 63 per cent read selected articles/columns. Also, 63 per cent indicated that they keep each issue for future reference.

The survey results indicated that the articles most read, that is always or regularly, are the feature articles (72 per cent), articles relating to professional issues (71 per cent), professional development (58 per cent), and articles relating to social issues (57 per cent). Membership articles also proved popular (53 per cent), as did the letters to the editor (49 per cent).

Reader impressions

The survey also offered readers the opportunity to give us any particular comments or suggestions they may have. One respondent stated that "overall, the content of InPsych is of a high quality", a view (as a whole) echoed by the survey findings. Across all questions asked in section two of the survey, an average of 58 per cent of respondents believed the overall quality of InPsych to be excellent or good. In addition, an average of 19 per cent rated the overall quality as fair.

More specifically, the survey results indicated that the articles judged to be of the highest overall quality, that is excellent or good, were feature articles (74 per cent), articles relating to professional issues (68 per cent), social issues (63 per cent), membership (60 per cent), and Letters to the editor (55 per cent).

The survey also asked for general impressions on choice of topics, accuracy, depth and expertise, quality of writing, and layout and presentation. From the results, an average of 65 per cent of respondents believed all of these elements to be excellent or good, hereafter referred to as favourable. In particular, 57 per cent had a favourable general impression of the choice of topics, 74 per cent had a favourable general impression of the publication's accuracy, 63 per cent had a favourable general impression of the publication's psychological depth and expertise, 71 per cent of respondents had a favourable general impression of the quality of writing, while 60 per cent favourably viewed its layout and presentation.

In addition, 58 per cent of respondents generally viewed InPsych favourably as a member benefit.

Reader wants/needs

The majority of respondents (as a percentage of all responses per question) believe the current amount of information to be "about right" for APS news/updates (57 per cent), general psychology news/updates (49 per cent), government policy developments (48 per cent), science articles (45 per cent), education articles (41 per cent), membership articles (61 per cent), and social issues articles (50 per cent).

However, just over half of respondents (52 per cent) would like to see more professional issues articles, 49 per cent would like to see more general psychology updates, and 45 per cent would like more feature articles.

In addition, a significant percentage of respondents would also like to see more information on education (34 per cent), government policy developments (33 per cent), member contributions (30 per cent), science (29 per cent), and social issues (28 per cent).

One respondent stated that he/she "would like to see more letters to the editor as it is useful to be aware of the issues that other psychologists deal with", while another stated "this [InPsych's Letters to the editor] is the only national forum across all specialities and therefore the obvious forum for hot issue debates."

What now?

A number of respondents identified key areas they would like to see increased coverage of in future issues of InPsych, a selection of which are listed below:

  • professional issues and practical advice (such as a regular column discussing ethical and legal dilemmas);
  • research-in-progress and results;
  • letters to the editor;
  • educational psychology;
  • feature articles (written by expert practitioners);
  • social issues;
  • health and sports psychology; and
  • student and probationary psychologist issues (such as a regular column discussing issues unique to students).

The APS would like to thank everyone who took the time to participate in the survey. Your comments and feedback have been very useful. You will notice many of your suggestions and recommendations being incorporated into future issues of the publication. The first major change, indeed heralded by the survey results (and launched with this issue), is InPsych's new design and presentation. But, you will also notice in coming months that your feedback and suggestions regarding editorial content have not only been received, but also heard. Thanks again.

By Steven Gregor, InPsych production editor

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