Remember, reactions are the amount of material that will fit on a one page, double-spaced, typed document. Part of the exercise is for you to get right to your point and justify it briefly. Sources are open, but I’d prefer some element of empirical research. So, if you see something in the newspaper and want to react to it, try to track down the original research. Or, find some research that supports or refutes the information in the newspaper and discuss that. Show me that you’re thinking, include some cognitive stuff, and read some of the primary literature and I will be pleased.
What will get me excited about a reaction paper:
- React based on something else you’ve learned in the class (“when we discussed language, you said…but this article said…” or “here’s another example of…”). Bring things together in a new and interesting way.
- React based on something you know about your area of psychology that relates to Cognitive Psychology.
- How does this idea lead to new research questions?
- Make me say “this person is insane, but that’s a really cool idea.” Explore absurd places to take the research.
What won’t get me excited about a reaction paper:
- “This article was really easy/hard to read/understand.”
- A personal anecdote; overturning data with an anecdote
- “There were only five participants in the study which seems like too few.” I don’t want a showboating critique, talk to me about ideas.
- Two pages of summary followed by “I really liked this article.”
- A “reflection.” In fact, calling it a reflection report will piss me off.