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Detecting bias in interviews

January 31, 2023

In conversations with Dr. Kristel Bakker, Senior biology student Christine Vogel expressed interest in speech language pathology as a potential future career path.

These conversations inspired Vogel to apply for and receive a Student Research Initiative (SRI) grant to research detecting bias in personal outcome measures interviewers.

Bakker, Professor of Biology, shared that she has a sister who is a speech pathologist and works for LifeScape, an organization in Sioux Falls, S.D., that is dedicated to empowering children and adults with disabilities.

“She suggested I work with Lifescape for my research project,” Vogel said.

Vogel worked alongside Cheray Christiansen, a compliance manager at LifeScape, to complete personal outcome measure interviews about various parts of the clients’ lives. Some of the topics covered in the interview include security, community, relationships, choices, and goals.

“I received training on how to conduct those interviews, and then I led 10 of them,” she said. “And really, the goal is to see if I score the interviews is different from the way that Cheray does.”

One of those 10 interviews was with a non-verbal person, which Vogel found the most challenging to conduct. The non-verbal person was accompanied by a support person, who had to speak on behalf of the client.

This research will help determine if there is bias, she added. Vogel conducted the interviews in November and December, and this semester is working with Dr. Bakker to analyze the data collected.

After analyzing the data, Vogel will share it with LifeScape and present a poster during DSU’s annual Research Symposium.

In addition to her SRI project, Vogel has job-shadowed speech therapy in school and hospital settings. She is a biology major from Madison, S.D. graduating this spring. She hopes to attend the University of South Dakota for graduate school in speech language pathology.


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