Wesleyan Digital Archive of Psychology

A digital archive of material related to an American Psychological Association questionnaire on research ethics issued between 1968 and 1970 has been launched online. This resource, the Wesleyan Digital Archive of Psychology has been put together under the leadership of Jill Morawski and Laura Stark, both of Wesleyan University. Although the material for the digital archive is still under development, several sample surveys are currently available on the site, both as transcriptions and as digital images (as pictured at left). The Wesleyan Digital Archive of Psychology is described as follows:

Between 1968 and 1970, more than 3,000 psychologists wrote to leaders of the American Psychological Association and described instances of ethically questionable research. The psychologists were responding to a questionnaire that the APA mailed to two-thirds of its members—19,000 psychologists in all. The organization used psychologists’ stories to update its ethics code in 1973.

The stories offer a vivid, panoramic view of American psychology in the decades after World War II from the perspectives of students, practitioners, and human subjects of research. The Wesleyan Digital Archive of Psychology is creating an electronic repository of the responses in two formats: as transcribed text documents, and as digital images. As of October 2010, transcription of the first wave of the questionnaire responses (comprising 1,000 responses) is complete.

The aims of the project are threefold:

  • To improve access to the archival materials. The original documents are physically held at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC within the APA collection. The WesDAP electronic repository enables researchers to see, search, and analyze the materials online.
  • To encourage collaboration among researchers. By sharing transcriptions and images of the materials, WesDAP aspires to promote research on the materials, and allow scholars who study a range of topics to connect across this common resource.
  • To provide a pedagogical tool for courses in history, ethics, research methods, and a range of other areas. Instructors can use the materials to incorporate examples and classroom exercises into their curricula.

About Jacy Young

Jacy Young is a professor at Quest University Canada. A critical feminist psychologist and historian of psychology, she is committed to critical pedagogy and public engagement with feminist psychology and the history of the discipline.