Stephen F. Austin State University

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Speech-language pathology students at SFA present research findings

May 16, 2017 - University Marketing Communications
Dr. Nagalapura Viswanath, speech-language pathology program director and visiting professor at Stephen F. Austin State University, visits with SLP graduate students about their research presentation. Students completed a variety of studies during the past year to learn the importance of evidence-based practice.
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Speech-language pathology graduate students at Stephen F. Austin State University recently presented findings from their capstone research projects, part of the Department of Human Services' curriculum requirements to earn a Master of Science in speech-language pathology.

Research topics included developing clinical criteria for the purpose of food texture advancement, clinical implications to learning style preference predictors in college-age students, and research on the correlation between Deep Brain Stimulation and voice in an individual with Parkinson's disease.

Dr. Nagalapura Viswanath, SLP program director and visiting professor at SFA, expressed the importance of conducting research at the graduate level.

"Any field's future depends on students thinking critically about issues and not just accepting what somebody tells them at face value. Research projects like this one encourage a scientific habit of mind," Viswanath said.

Throughout their two years in the graduate program at SFA, SLP students enrolled in research methods and statistics courses to help understand how to conduct evidence-based studies. Their capstone projects were a culmination of more than a year's worth of work. Viswanath explained this assignment taught students how to critically analyze data and its limitations.

"As a clinician, you need to stay up to date with current research and therapy techniques, which means you have to see what your peers are saying in journals and critically review their reports," Viswanath said.

Nancy Delgado, SFA graduate student in the SLP program, conducted research with her group on the number of times a healthy geriatric individual clears his/her throat when consuming different food textures. Group members recruited 30 geriatric adults to participate in their research study.

"When you are out in the field, you have to do evidence-based practice. This project gives us a foundation of how to look for evidence-based practice and ensure what we are doing in therapy and clinic is supported by evidence," Delgado said.

For more information about the SLP program at SFA, visit http://www.sfasu.edu/humanservices/69.asp.