Handbook for Conducting Research on Human Sexuality

Handbook for Conducting Research on Human Sexuality

Handbook for Conducting Research on Human Sexuality

Handbook for Conducting Research on Human Sexuality

Synopsis

Human sexuality researchers often find themselves faced with questions that entail conceptual, methodological, or ethical issues for which their professional training or prior experience may not have prepared them. The goal of this handbook is to provide that guidance to students and professionals interested in the empirical study of human sexuality from behavioral and social scientific perspectives. It provides practical and concrete advice about conducting human sexuality research and addresses issues inherent to both general social scientific and specific human sexuality research. This comprehensive resource offers a unique multidisciplinary examination of the specific methodological issues inherent in conducting human sexuality research. The methodological techniques and advances that are familiar to researchers trained in one discipline are often unfamiliar to researchers from other disciplines. This book is intended to help enrich the communication between the various disciplines involved in human sexuality research. Each of the 21 self-standing chapters provides an expert overview of a particular area of research methodology from a variety of academic disciplines. It addresses those issues unique to human sexuality research, such as: * how to measure sexuality variables; * how to design studies, recruit participants, and collect data; * how to consider cultural and ethical issues; and * how to perform and interpret statistical analyses. This book is intended as a reference tool for researchers and students interested in human sexuality from a variety of disciplines, including psychology, sociology, family science, health communication, nursing, medicine, and anthropology.

Excerpt

What determines whether people are sexually attracted to men, women, or both men and women? What factors influence people's decisions to engage in relatively safe versus risky sexual practices? Are school-based sexuality education programs effective? Is viewing sexually explicit media harmful? There are several possible approaches to answering these and other questions about human sexuality, one of which is through empirical research. Recently some writers have questioned whether empirical research on sexuality is useful, or even possible, arguing that the socially constructed nature of both sexuality and research makes objectivity unattainable (e.g., Simon, 1996). However, the existence of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS), the International Academy of Sex Research, and the World Association of Sexology indicates that there are many professionals invested and engaged in empirical research on sexuality.

Behavioral and social scientists have been especially prolific in producing research on human sexuality. At least four academic journals are devoted to publishing the results of social and behavioral scientific research on sexuality (Archives of Sexual Behavior, Canadian Journal of Human Sexualiv, Journal of Psychology and Human Sexualiv, The Journal of Sex Research), and several other scholarly journals regularly publish research articles on specific facets of the behavioral and social aspects of human sexuality. These topics include sexual dysfunction and therapy (e.g., Journal of Sex Education and Therapy, Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, Sexual and Marital Therapy, Sexual Dysfinction), intimate relationships (e.g., Personal Relationships, Journal of Marriage and the Family, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships), gender roles, gender iden-

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