Getting closer to a psychology reaction paper

As you know, psychology is one of the most crucial behavioral sciences. Psychologists explain, study and predict various human behaviors. Writing in psychology doesn’t differ much from other forms of scientific writing in terms of clarity, organization and concision. Moreover, psychology papers traditionally have a strong research emphasis. One of them is your first psychology reaction paper.

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The very essence of this assignment is to react to a scholarly article, published in a particular journal. Instructors traditionally make use of reaction papers to teach their students to critically assess research and synthesize their current research with course material. Such papers normally include a concise summary of the scholarly article. They also have a research method, main results, hypotheses and conclusions.

In your reaction paper on psychology, you require criticizing someone’s study. You also need to seek unresolved issues and propose your own research. Your instructor may want you to connect the material you’ve just learnt in class with the article’s theories, findings and methodology.

In order to successfully complete this task, you require carefully reading the article. You should go beyond highlighting crucial facts and intriguing findings. At this stage, you need to identify the researcher’s assumptions. Ask yourself a question whether this particular article contributes to the field or not. Make sure their conclusions are really valid. Critically evaluate the tables and charts provided in the article and ask yourself other deep questions regarding the subject.

A good approach to writing your first reaction paper would be modeling your paper on articles you’ve already read for class. Now, let’s see what you should include in your every section of your reaction paper.

  • Introduction

It’s the first section and it should convey a clear understanding of what needs to be done and why. Here you require presenting the problem, addressing its significance and describing your research strategy. Additionally, you should discuss the theories guiding your research. Set a hypotheses as well as objectives of your study.

  • Methods

The given section describes all the procedures employed to answer your research questions. In addition, it offers rather a detailed glimpse of the analyses, carried out by you. Avoid using the passive voice in this section.

  • Results

This section gives the findings answering your research questions. You should include all information > even if it doesn’t get along with your hypotheses. If you’re actually presenting statistical results, then your instructor will most likely expect you to follow ASA recommendations.

  • Discussion

This section is normally used for addressing the limitations of your research and theoretical or practical implications of the results. You require contextualizing and supporting your conclusions. For this purpose, you should compare the achieved results with the work of others. Besides this, you can discuss questions calling for the future research.

  • Jargon

Avoid using technical vocabulary, which isn’t important for understanding your ideas because this can confuse your readers. Then, stay away from euphemistic phrases instead of clear terms.

  • Superlatives and figurative language

It goes without saying that any scientific work needs to be specific and concise. Respectively, you should avoid using superlatives as well as emotional language. Such phrases as «extremely», «highly», «very», «astonishingly» are undesirable.

  • Informal language and colloquial expressions

As you might have already guessed, this shouldn’t be in your reaction paper. Use «children» instead of «kids» and «receive» instead of «get», for example.

  • Race and ethnicity

You should be consistent, specific and sensitive when dealing with terms for ethnic groups and races. The matter is that some ethnic designations are obsolete or have negative connotations. Never write «negro» – it’s considered to be offensive. In this case, you’re welcome to write «African American».

  • Anthropomorphism

That’s another undesired thing in your reaction paper. Anthropomorphism takes place when human characteristics are attributed to inanimate entities or animals. This can make your paper awkward.

  • Labels

Avoid equating people with their mental or physical conditions. Never categorize people broadly like objects. For instance, write «older adults» to replace «the elderly». Then, you should be very careful when utilizing the label «normal». Do you consider others abnormal?

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