Journal Article Critique Chapter 2 Article: Discussing animal rights and animal research in the classroom Essay

Chapter 2 Article: Discussing animal rights and animal research in the classroom

Research Question or Problem: Even though the research question is not clearly stated in the article, the author makes it clear that the research question is whether it is right or ethical to use animals in behavioral and biomedical research. For this purpose, the researcher reviews two major philosophical positions used by animal activists and tries to stimulate a discussion in the classroom on the debate (Herzog, 1990, p. 90).

Introduction: The article has a very comprehensive introduction which tells the reader of the significance of the issue and the rational for the present study. The introductory part of the article reviews a large number of literatures to highlight the cruel and unjust practice of using animals for behavioral and biomedical research purposes. The introduction also deals with the efforts made by animal rights groups and movements, depicts animal rights controversy as a social issue, pinpoints the reformers’ versus animal liberators’ debates, and summarizes the two most influential perspectives used by animal rights activists to protect animals from such cruelties-the Utilitarian argument and the Rights argument (Herzog, 1990, p. 90-91). Both the groups consider animal research as immoral: while the Utilitarian proponents argue for ‘equal consideration of interests’ to animals, the Rights argument holds that animals’ rights should be preserved (Herzog, 1990, p. 90).

Methodology: The methodology used in the paper is quite innovative and interesting. The author divided the students in the class room into groups of five or seven and each group had to engage in role-play participation on an ACUC (Animal Care and Use Committee). Each group was assigned a research proposal on animal research; each group had to evaluate and either approve or reject the research proposal submitted to them based on the information provided in the proposal (Herzog, 1990, p. 91-92). For the purpose of the study, the author provided the class with four animal research cases where each group had to make the final verdict on whether the research is to be permitted or not. The author used this exercise with 150 students in five classes and the conclusions of the study are drawn based on the student responses to the exercises (Herzog, 1990, p.93).

Results: The results of the study are dealt with in the paper in terms of student responses after the classroom exercises. Each student who participated in the exercise was asked to make an anonymous evaluation of it (Herzog, 1990, p. 93). The author claims that the responses were extremely positive and out of the 150 students only two had negative responses (Herzog, 1990, p. 93). Most of the participants admitted that the exercise offered them a unique opportunity to develop their thoughts on the cruelties shown to animals in terms of animal researches and that it offered them life time valuable lessons (Herzog, 1990, p. 93).

Discussion/Conclusions: The study has got great relevance as it deals with a very controversial topic in scientific research and it has got great implications in the modern era where a lot of animals are being used for research purposes. The exercise is not just a matter of logic; on the other hand, it needs to take into account such factors as the animal’s similarity to humans, their perceived intelligence, and ethical considerations (Burghardt & Herzog, 1980; Herzog, 1988, as cited in Herzog, 1990, p. 93). While psychologists and animal rights activists argue for ethical treatment of animals there are many others who support the right of researchers and scientists to use animals for scientific research and advancements. Thus, the exercise makes the learners become equipped to grasp animal rights and it is the responsibility of psychologists to convince the students of both the sides of the issue (Herzog, 1990, p. 93).

List of references: The researcher has employed a large variety of references all throughout the paper and all those references are listed in the reference list at the end of the paper. Almost all the sources used in the paper are very recent studies as all of them are dated after the 1970s.

Personal Reaction: For me, the paper proved to be highly beneficial as it made me to think of animal rights and the cruelties man show towards animals in the name of research. The paper deals with a very contemporary and controversial issue and no doubt such an exercise is sure to provide valuable lessons to the learners. In many parts of the article, one can find the author providing necessary guidelines to the reader for further researches on various points. In any research article, it is quite desirable for the reader to have a list of the references and a mention of the authors to be read for further understanding of the topic. Similarly, the researcher has taken special efforts to provide clear cut instructions both to the students who participate in the committee and to the instructors who carry out the study. One of the limitations of the study is the limited number of participants used in it. The study is limited to the class room and as such the findings of the study lack a universal appeal.


Herzog, H. A. (1990). Discussing animal rights and animal research in the classroom. Teaching of Psychology, 17(2), 90-94. doi:10.1207/s15328023top1702_3

Journal Article Critique

Chapter 1 Article: An empirical analysis of trends in psychology

Chapter 1 Article: An empirical analysis of trends in psychology

Research Question or Problem: The authors make their research question clear at the very outset of the article. The paper tries to answer the research question as to which of the schools in scientific psychology (psychoanalysis, behaviourism, cognitive psychology, and neuroscience) is most prominent (Robins, Gosling, & Craik, 1999, p. 117).

Introduction: The authors make a concise and matter-of-fact discussion on the current debate over the prominence of the four schools in scientific psychology. Many researchers have claimed that the cognitive perspectives have dominated over both psychoanalysis and behaviourism (Baars, 1986; Gardner, 1985; Hunt, 1993; Sperry, 1988; as cited in Robins, Gosling, & Craik, 1999, p. 117) whereas another group of researchers do not believe in such a cognitive revolution (Friman, Allen, Kerwin, & Larzelere, 1993, as cited in Robins, Gosling, & Craik, 1999, p. 117). However, the authors believe that the behavioural stream of psychology is very much prominent today. Thus, the authors purport that the aim of this present study is to put an end to these debates over prominence claimed by each of these four schools of scientific psychology.

Methodology: The authors admit that prominence is difficult to measure and therefore they decided to measure the prominence of the four schools of psychology by examining their three indexes of prominence. The three indexes included the number of flagship publications, the subject matter of dissertations and the amount of scientific products of each of the four schools (Robins, Gosling, & Craik, 1999, p. 118). The selection of flagship psychology publications included The American Psychologist, Annual Review of Psychology, Psychological Bulletin, and Psychological Review; and the subject matter index of psychology’s flagship publications was determined using the psycINFO data base (Robins, Gosling, & Craik, 1999, p. 118). Similarly, the subject-matter index of psychology dissertations were measured using the psycINFO data base from 1967 to 1994 and the citation index was measured using representative journals for each school. (Robins, Gosling, & Craik, 1999, p. 119).

Results: The researchers employed keyword analysis to derive the results of the study. The average flagship publications published over the period concerning cognitive psychology was 9.7 , for behavioural articles 5.8 , for psychoanalytic publications 1.3 and for neuro-scientific articles 1.1 (Robins, Gosling, & Craik, 1999, p. 120). With regard to the subject matter of psychology dissertations the trends were almost similar to the publications. The percentage of dissertations varied from 8.9 (cognitive psychology), behavioural dissertations (4.3 ), psychoanalytic (0.5 ) to neuroscience (0.6 ). The findings from the citation analysis also showed that the cognitive journals were cited the most (M=294), followed by behavioral journals (M=138), and neuroscience journals whereas the psychoanalytic journals (M=2) were very much minimal (Robins, Gosling, & Craik, 1999, p. 121).

Discussion/Conclusions: The conclusions drawn from the study are quite noteworthy. The four major conclusions derived out of the study are as follows. Firstly, the study showed that the number of psychoanalytic journals, dissertations and flagship articles have decreased considerably. Similarly, the prominence of behavioural psychology could not also be established. On the other hand, it is clear that cognitive psychology has established itself as the most prominent of the four schools. Similarly, even the supplementary studies failed to notice prominent trends in the filed of neuroscience (Robins, Gosling, & Craik, 1999, p. 124-125). The conclusions of the study also pointed out the need to conduct further researches regarding the prominence of neuroscience using other indicators as well.

List of references: The paper makes use of a wide range of references most of which are recently published. The researcher has taken special efforts to include all those sources in the reference list that are cited in the paper.

Personal Reaction: No doubt, the paper fills some of the gaps in literature as to which of the scientific schools of psychology is most prominent. The results of the study are quite informative and these findings are most likely to benefit any student of psychology. The researchers are shocked to notice that neuroscience has not figured the expected prominence and so they have recommended further researches using other indicators as well. The study lacks complete authenticity as it has taken into account only three indexes and there can be differences in the findings as and when more indicators are also examined. Similarly, the findings of the study regarding neuroscience, one of the most developing fields of psychology, have raised a lot of speculation in the mind of the reader.


Robins, R. W., Gosling, S. D., & Craik, K. H. (1999). An empirical analysis of trends in psychology. American Psychologist, 54(2), 117-128. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.54.2.117