TUJ psychological studies student Naomi Sanyika Moore has received the Temple University Main Campus University Libraries’ Livingstone Undergraduate Research Award in Social Sciences for her research Development of the Student Sexual Health and Well-being Questionnaire. Moore’s research was done in the course Survey Design: From Theory to Practice taught by Ada Angel Ed.D, associate professor, psychological studies.
You can find her full research at Livingstone Undergraduate Research Award in the Social Sciences.
The Livingstone Undergraduate Research Awards celebrate excellence in undergraduate work and addresses the depth and breadth of undergraduate research subjects, methods, and projects. The winners are chosen based on their ability to approach the topic in an imaginative way, making an original contribution or using innovative research methods.
Seeking a Better Conceptualization of Sexual Health and Well-being
In her research Development of the Student Sexual Health and Wellbeing Questionnaire, Moore says that universities can play an important role in providing resources that support student sexual health and well-being. This requires an understanding of what students actually need. “University can be an exciting opportunity to explore sexual identity or sexual being. However, a lot of young adults have experienced inadequate or inconsistent sexual health education and knowledge, which puts them at risk for negative sexual health outcomes,” Moore says.
In her studies, Moore was shocked to find gaps within the university and within the literature itself. “As someone in their early 20s, I’m actively experiencing the realities of my own sexual health well-being and I’m reading this literature that is not at all capturing the depth of that experience.” Moore says that the current approach to sexual health does not cover the age range of college young adults, and the current theoretical definition is not relevant to serving the role in helping people.
Moore is concerned this gap can have disastrous consequences with not only the biomedical aspects of issues such as unintended pregnancy or STIs, but the problems related to sexual consent. “I really wanted to highlight that we need more information for students, or at least understand what levels of understanding currently are.”
Moore’s intent with this project was to find a way to gather student data and provide a framework for using that data to create actionable change and direct what support and services might be relevant to students.
Constructing the Questionnaire
In the process of conducting the questionnaire, Moore experienced the same bias and the limitations she found in the literature while deciding what was and wasn’t OK to ask in the questions. “In our textbook, we’re learning how to desensitize the questions or ask them in the least burdensome way possible. If I had made the questionnaire which I was more comfortable with, then it would have looked exactly like the ones that are already published.”
Moore initially struggled with the construction of her questions, which came with a certain level of sensitivity. She says she was afraid that her questions would seem too blunt, though she sometimes had to ask the questions anyway. In the class Survey Design: From Theory to Practice, where students have many opportunities to do peer review and give each other feedback on their items, she soon found the answer. “You’re not going to make a perfect questionnaire, but you need to be able to have that conversation in a way that actually invites people to give you the information,” Moore says. With help from her peers and advice from Dr. Angel, she modified the questions many times before she completed the questionnaire. It received 75 responses within one week.
“75 participants is a very good number for one week.” Dr. Angel said. “With her questionnaire, she really created a wonderful academic paper with a strong theoretical framework and well-analyzed data. This project that she did was very good and could be used at TUJ to assess student sexual health.”
Information is the Key to Helping Others and Ourselves.
Moore says that it is all about the information, breadth and honesty which allow people to really understand the fullness of their sexual experience, whether they are sexually active or not. “I think we deserve to know the whole picture of sexual health and well-being to support ourselves and be supportive of others. It is my dream for us to be more focused on just being authentic in the complex reality of human beings and caring about our emotions, how we relate to other people, and that we deserve to enjoy ourselves.”
Moore is finishing up her capstone course and will graduate this summer. Her current career interest is in youth mental health in an international context and working as an international school counselor.