Example of Personal Reaction Paper




Name:Your name


Date:Today's Date


Class:Social Psychology


Research Question:What guidelines exist for conducting ethical research in social psychology?



Research References: {Source: Title, Author, Pages, URL,etc. All reference items must be specific.} http://web2.airmail.net/drstan19/amer.psy.asso.htm



Summary of Findings:

The American Psychological Association has detailed ethical standards that all psychologists are legally and ethically entitled to obey. I found this information in the APA official ETHICAL PRINCIPLES OF PSYCHOLOGISTS AND CODE OF CONDUCT.

There are a number of ethical responsibilities when conducting social psychological research. The APA guidelines specifically mention: planning research so that it is not misleading; protect the rights and welfare of the human participants; researchers and assistants can only conduct activities that they are qualified and competent to perform; research must obey all federal and state laws; there must be institutional approval; research must have the informed consent of the subjects; research must not be required of students as a part of their grade unless they are presented alternatives; psychologists must not use deception in research unless it is a part of the experimental design; subjects must be informed about how the data will be used; researchers must minimize invasiveness; researchers must honor all commitments made to participants.

My own reaction to this information is that it must be difficult to design an experiment to obey all of these ethical standards. It seems to me that all of these guidelines are necessary otherwise they would not exist. But wouldn't some of these guidelines limit the kind of research you can do? If science is supposed to find the truth and get accurate data, how could you ever measure human behavior accurately if the subjects know about the experiment and that they are being watched. For example, if I wanted to measure an employer's racial prejudice, wouldn't I have to do so without them knowing it to get accurate data? It seems to me that if an employer knew that you were measuring their racial prejudice in some way that they would act in an unprejudiced way while you were studying them. Then, once the study was done they would go back to being prejudiced if they had been before the study.