Reflecting Back, Looking Forward: A Content Analysis of Scientific Programs from the 2013-2016 Canadian Sex Research Forum Annual Conferences

By Lachowsky, Nathan J.; Wentland, Jocelyn J. et al. | The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, August 2017 | Go to article overview

Reflecting Back, Looking Forward: A Content Analysis of Scientific Programs from the 2013-2016 Canadian Sex Research Forum Annual Conferences


Lachowsky, Nathan J., Wentland, Jocelyn J., Kilimnik, Chelsea D., Levere, D. D., The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality


The vision of the Canadian Sex Research Forum (CSRF) is to be Canada's leading organization dedicated to interdisciplinary, theoretical, and applied sexuality research. We sought to determine the composition of four previous CSRF Annual Conference (2013-2016) scientific programs. We double-coded 356 abstracts on first author region, discipline, and faculty status; presentation format (oral/poster); and several nonexclusive yes/no questions regarding study populations, topics, and methods. We calculated odds ratios (OR) to assess trends (per year) and likelihood of oral versus poster presentation. Most of authors were from psychology (86.5%), although this decreased over time (98.1% to 80.5%). Most abstracts used quantitative methods (82.9%) and there was a decrease over time in abstracts using qualitative (26.4% to 16.3%) and experimental (17.0% to 7.3%) methods. For study population and topic, there were increases over time in clinical population foci (7.6% to 23.6%) and decreases in race/ethnicity foci (3.8% to 0.8%) and methods topics (18.9% to 5.7%). Half of the abstracts were oral presentations (44.9%), which were more frequently awarded to faculty (81.1% vs. 38.6%), sexual practice topics (50.7% vs. 40.8%), relationship topics (52.3% vs. 40.7%), methodology topics (50.0% vs. 44.2%), and theory papers (71.4% vs. 43.3%). Oral presentations were less frequently awarded to single sex/gender populations (36.7% vs. 48.4%), student-only populations (35.3% vs. 51.2%), race/ethnicity foci (20.0% vs. 45.5%), and quantitative methods (43.4% vs. 52.5%). To achieve CSRF's vision of "interdisciplinary, theoretical, and applied research," we must undertake intentional strategic action (e.g., more content from non-psychology disciplines, more qualitative methods).

KEY WORDS: Canadian Sex Research Forum, theory, research, interdisciplinary, methods

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The Canadian Sex Research Forum (CSRF) is a national group of sexuality researchers, educators, therapists, and advocates. The organization was formed in the late 1960s in response to the need for a multidisciplinary human sexuality group to foster collaboration in the field. The first official CSRF conference was held in 1972 in Calgary, Alberta. Since its inception, the purpose of CSRF has been to advance sexual science through sex counseling or therapy, sex education, and/or sex research. Specifically, the vision of CSRF (2013) is "to be Canada's leading organization dedicated to interdisciplinary theoretical and applied research in the field of sexuality, fostering sexual science, and improving the sexual health and well-being of Canadians." Of note, there are several other disciplinary homes for sexuality-related research in Canada such as public health, physiology, education, social work, and counselling/therapy. CSRF strives to be as open and inviting as possible to all forms of sexuality research, but some researchers and their research outputs may find more natural fit and/or benefit within their home disciplines.

CSRF has grown dramatically since the first annual meetings in the 1970s. Most notably, the organization's membership has increased and with it changes to the governance structure, process, and committees. For example, the CSRF Executive now includes junior and senior student representatives as full voting members. In parallel with organizational growth, CSRF annual conference attendance numbers have consistendy grown, as have the number of abstract submissions for inclusion in the scientific program. This is particularly true for the past several years. As such, the purpose of this analysis was to examine the composition of the past four years of the CSRF Annual Conference scientific program content.

What prompted this project? Several factors contributed to the impetus to conduct a rigorous, empirical review of the CSRF scientific programs. First, several recent conference presentations have included calls to action regarding more inclusive sampling (e. …

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