ethnic representation in sample of literature of applied psychology, 1993–1997


A number of authors have raised concerns over the external validity of psychological research. This study examined the extent to which empirical articles include human participants from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Articles published over a 5-year period in 14 selected journals representing 3 applied subdisciplines of psychology were examined. Of the 2,536 articles coded, only 61% indicated the ethnicity of the participants. For those articles, the ethnic compositions approximated U.S. Census estimates, with the exception of an over representation of African Americans and an under representation of Hispanic Americans. The results imply that although the field is apparently adequately recruiting English speakers, representation of non-English speakers should be increased. To further enhance the external validity of psychological research, ethnicity of participants should be not only specified but also analyzed in relation to the results of a study.

Original Publication Citation

Case, L., & Smith, T. B. (2000). Ethnic representation in a sample of the literature of applied psychology. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68, 1107–1110.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


American Psychological Association




David O. McKay School of Education


Counseling Psychology and Special Education