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Sample essay psychology a level

Apr 25, 2018

Research Paper on the Perceptual Biases in the Cases of “Affirmative Action at the University of Selkirk” and “Portrait of a Canadian Advisor”

Historically, perceptual biases played an extremely important role in the complicated relationship of human beings. In fact, perceptual biases are typical for practically all organizations and social structures and often they affect the functioning of such organizations and structures dramatically, Nowadays, in modern organizations, it is getting to be particularly important to cope with such biases since they produce the negative impact on the internal atmosphere within the organization, its public imaged and decreases the effectiveness of its work. However, often it is quite difficult to clearly define perceptual biases an organization can potentially face since, as a rule, they are hidden and may be clearly perceived only on the profound analysis of the current situation within the organization. What is meant here is the necessity to analyze the situation from internal and external viewpoints since it will provide the possibility to make a really objective judgment and take essential steps to ameliorate the situation. In this respect, the analysis of two case studies, namely the Affirmative Action at the University of Selkirk and the Portrait of a Canadian Advisor, can be really helpful in a deep understanding of the significance of perceptual biases and the necessity to cope with them. Continue reading →

Interpersonal Communication Processes. Research Paper on Homosexuality: “Self Disclosure: Being Gay and Coming Out”

As we all live in the cultural environment that intends the common heterosexuality, the realising of one’s homosexuality occurs gradually. Every man or woman has his/her own story of becoming homosexual. You can be of any age and of any social position, when you suddenly realise it, but in general this long and hard process begins in early youth. Continue reading →

Adolescent Behavior Essay

Adolescence is a period of psychological and physical passing from childhood to adulthood. “Adolescence is roughly considered to be the period between 13 and 19 years of age. The adolescent experiences not only physical growth and change but also emotional, psychological, social, and mental change and growth. During this period, adolescents are expected to become capable of adult behavior and response.” (Medical Encyclopedia). This is a difficult period, which results fundamental changes in the structure of personality, behavioral patterns, habits and life goals. Along with inner changes the person goes through the period of puberty or sexual development. These changes do not always go smoothly and children have to pass through the crises before they become grown-ups. Continue reading →

Great Contributors in Educational Psychology: Essay on G. Stanley Hall

Granville Stanley Hall was one of the most prominent psychologists in the United States in the years before and after the turn of the 19th century.

Stanley Hall is known as the first organizer and administrator in American psychology. He made his great contribution to psychological research and theory. Continue reading →

Research Paper on Social-Psychological Approach to Work Stress

Nowadays work plays a significant role in human lives and influences people’s well-being. However, employment became a considerable challenge for a great number of people. It resulted in tremendous source of stress. The problem of work stress is often related with psychological ill health. Numerous interventions must be implemented to prevent or at least to reduce psychological problems. Continue reading →

Essay on Psychobiological Approach to Work Stress

There are a great number of sources which affect human species like danger, threat, violent death and other stressful results. The biological reaction to stressors is considerable for many individuals. People are very sensitive to the social, familial environment. Numerous conflicts concerning individual safety can cause excessive stressors, dismay, immense bodily reactions and threatening emotions. Continue reading →

Developmental Stages Essay

Adolescence is probably the most difficult period in life of every individual since it is a transitional stage between childhood and adulthood. In this period adolescent undergo significant changes in physiological, psychological and social aspects. Naturally, these changes produce a significant impact on their lifestyle, behaviour, psychology, etc. Continue reading →

Essay Writing Guide for Psychology Students

Saul McLeod published 2014

Before you write your essay it's important to analyse the task and understand exactly what the essay question is asking. It is possible your lecturer will give you some advice - pay attention to this as it will help you plan your answer.

Next conduct preliminary reading based on your lecture notes. At this stage it's not crucial to have a robust understanding of key theories or studies, but you should at least have a general 'gist' of the literature.

After reading, plan a response to the task. This plan could be in the form of a mind map, a summary table, or by writing a core statement (which encompass the entire argument of your essay in just a few sentences).

After writing your plan conduct supplementary reading and refine your plan and make it more detailed.

It is tempting to skip these preliminary steps and just write the first draft while reading at the same time. However, reading and planning will make the essay writing process easier, quicker, and ensure a higher quality essay is produced.

Now let us look at what constitutes a good essay in psychology. There are a number of important features.

  1. A Global Structure - structure the material in a way that allows for a logical sequence of ideas. Each paragraph / statement should follow sensibly from its predecessor. The essay should 'flow'. The introduction, main body and conclusion should all be linked.
  2. Each paragraph should comprise a main theme which are illustrated and developed through a number of points (supported by evidence).

  3. Knowledge and Understanding - recognise, recall and show understanding on a range of scientific material that accurately reflects the main theoretical perspectives.
  4. Critical Evaluation - arguments should be supported by appropriate evidence and/or theory from the literature. Evidence of independent thinking, insight and evaluation of the evidence.
  5. Quality of Written Communication - writing clearly and succinctly with appropriate use of paragraphs, spelling and grammar. All sources referenced accurately and in line with APA guidelines.

In the main body of the essay every paragraph should demonstrate both knowledge and critical evaluation.

There should also be an appropriate balance between these two essay components. Try to aim for about a 60/40 split if possible. Most students make the mistake of writing too much knowledge and not enough evaluation (which is the difficult bit).

It is best to structure your essay according to key themes. Themes are illustrated and developed through a number of points (supported by evidence). Choose relevant points only, ones that most reveal the theme or help to make a convincing and interesting argument.

essay structure example

Knowledge and Understanding

Remember that an essay is simply a discussion / argument on paper. Don't make the mistake of writing all the information you know regarding a particular topic.

You need to be concise, and clearly articulate your argument. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences.

Each paragraph should have a purpose / theme, and make a number of points - which need to be support by high quality evidence. Be clear why each point is is relevant to the argument. It would be useful at the beginning of each paragraph if you explicitly outlined the theme being discussed (.e.g. cognitive development, social development etc.).

Try not to overuse quotations in your essays. It is more appropriate to use original content to demonstrate your understanding.

Psychology is a science so you must support your ideas with evidence (not your own personal opinion). If you are discussing a theory or research study make sure you cite the source of the information.

Note this is not the author of a textbook you have read - but the original source / author(s) of the theory or research study.

For example:

Bowlby (1951) claimed that mothering is almost useless if delayed until after two and a half to three years and, for most children, if delayed till after 12 months, i.e. there is a critical period.

Or

Maslow (1943) stated that people are motivated to achieve certain needs. When one need is fulfilled a person seeks to fullfil the next one, and so on.

As a general rule make sure there is at least one citation (i.e. name of psychologist and date of publication) in each paragraph.

Remember to answer the essay question. Underline the key words in the essay title. Don't make the mistake of simply writing everything you know of a particular topic, be selective. Each paragraph in your essay should contribute to answering the essay question.

Critical Evaluation

In simple terms this means outlining the strengths and limitations of a theory or research study.

There are many ways you can critically evaluate:

The PEC System

It is very important to elaborate on your evaluation. Don't just write a shopping list of brief (one or two sentence) evaluation points. Instead make sure you expand on your points, remember, quality of evaluation is most important than quantity.

When you are writing an evaluation paragraph use the PEC system.

For Example

Using Research Studies in your Essays

Research studies can either be knowledge or evaluation.

Writing an Introduction

It is often best to write your introduction when you have finished the main body of the essay, so that you have a good understanding to the topic area.

If there is a word count for your essay try to devote 10% of this to your introduction.

Ideally the introduction should;

  1. Identify the subject of the essay and define the key terms.

  2. Highlight the major issues which “lie behind” the question. Let the reader know how you will focus your essay by identifying the main themes to be discussed.

  3. “Signpost” the essay’s key argument, (and, if possible, how this argument is structured).

Introductions are very important as first impressions count and they can create a halo effect in the mind of the lecturer grading your essay. If you start off well then you are more likely to be forgiven for the odd mistake later one.

Writing a Conclusion

So many students either forget to write a conclusion or fail to give it the attention it deserves. If there is a word count for your essay try to devote 10% of this to your conclusion.

Ideally the conclusion should summarize the key themes / arguments of your essay. State the take home message – don’t sit on the fence, instead weigh up the evidence presented in the essay and make a decision which side of the argument has more support.

Also, you might like to suggest what future research may need to be conducted and why (read the discussion section of journal articles for this).

Also, you might like to suggest what future research may need to be conducted and why (read the discussion section of journal articles for this).

Don't include new information / arguments (only information discussed in the main body of the essay).

If you are unsure of what to write read the essay question and answer it in one paragraph.

Points that unite or embrace several themes can be used to great effect as part of your conclusion.

The Importance of Flow

Obviously, what you write is important, but how you communicate your ideas / arguments has a significant influence on your overall grade. Most students may have similar information / content in their essays, but the better students communicate this information concisely and articulately.

When you have finished the first draft of your essay you must check if it 'flows'. This is an important feature of quality of communication (along with spelling and grammar).

This means that the paragraphs follow a logical order (like the chapters in a novel). Have a global structure with themes arranged in a way that allows for a logical sequence of ideas. You might want to rearrange (cut and paste) paragraphs to a different position in your essay if they don't appear to fit in with the essay structure.

To improve the flow of your essay make sure the last sentence of one paragraph links to first sentence of the next paragraph. This will help the essay flow and make it easier to read.

Finally, only repeat citations when it is unclear which study / theory you are discussing. Repeating citations unnecessarily disrupts the flow of an essay.

Referencing

The reference section is the list of all the sources cited in the essay (in alphabetical order). It is not a bibliography (a list of the books you used).

In simple terms every time you cite/refer to a name (and date) of a psychologist you need to reference the original source of the information.

If you have been using textbooks this is easy as the references are usually at the back of the book and you can just copy them down. If you have been using websites then you may have a problem as they might not provide a reference section for you to copy.

References need to be set out APA style:

Books

Author, A. A. (year). Title of work. Location: Publisher.

Journal Articles

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (year). Article title. Journal Title, volume number(issue number), page numbers

A simple way to write your reference section is use Google scholar. Just type the name and date of the psychologist in the search box and click on the 'cite' link.

google scholar search results

Next, copy and paste the APA reference into the reference section of your essay.

apa reference

Once again remember that references need to be in alphabetical order according to surname.

Further Information

Writing Skills for Psychologists

Study Skills

Essay Writing Guide

How to reference this article:

McLeod, S. A. (2014). Essay writing guide for psychology students. Retrieved from www.simplypsychology.org/psychology-essay.html

We have to go see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what's happening. We have to talk to them, maybe in certain areas, closing that Internet up in some way. Somebody will say, 'Oh, freedom of speech, freedom of speech.' These are foolish people. We have a lot of foolish people. Donald Trump

Custom Student

Mr.

Teacher

ENG

1001-04

23 March 2016

Martin Seligman is considered the father of positive psychology (Friedman & Schustack, 2012). Positive psychology pertains to helping people live happier and healthier lives (Friedman & Schustack, 2012). Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi states that “positive psychology at the subjective level is about valued [sic] subjective experiences,” such as “well-being, contentment, satisfaction (in the past), hope and optimism (for the future) and flow and happiness (in the present)” (McNulty & Fincham, 2011, p. 101). Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi are also states that the “individual level is about positive individual traits” and the capability “for love and vocation, courage, interpersonal skill, aesthetic sensibility, perseverance, forgiveness, originality, future mindedness, spirituality, high talent and wisdom” (McNulty & Fincham, 2011, p. 101). Finally, Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi state that positive psychology “at the group level is about the civic virtue’s” and” the institutions that move” individual’s “toward better citizenship” and the “responsibility, nurturance, altruism, civility, moderation, tolerance and work ethic” (McNulty & Fincham, 2011, p. 101).

The chosen article states that the “field of positive psychology” believes that people have specific “psychology traits” that are inherited of the individual’s positive mental health (McNulty & Fincham, 2011, p. 101). Studies show that “forgiveness, optimistic, positive thoughts and kindness” can “benefit or harm” individuals (McNulty & Fincham, 2011, p. 101). The researchers state that the psychologist should move forward and examine the individual’s traits that may support well-being. The researchers show three approaches to search for a better understanding to positive psychology. First, psychologist need to examine the process of happiness and factors (McNulty & Fincham, 2011). Second, psychologist need to understand, prevent, relieve and understand people who suffer (McNulty & Fincham, 2011). And finally, to study shows that “short term” and “long term” effects of psychological traits characteristics (McNulty & Fincham, 2011, p. 107).

References

Friedman, H. S., & Schustack, M. W. (2012). Personality Classic theories and modern research (5th ed.). [Vital source ebook]. Retrieved from Vital Book file

McNulty, J. K., & Fincham, F. D. (2011). Beyond positive psychology? Toward a contextual view of psychological processes and well-being. American Psychologist, 67(2), 101-110. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0024572

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