Before you write your essay it’s important to analyze 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
For you to write a good psychology essay, ensure:
- 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.
Each paragraph should comprise a main theme which are illustrated and developed through a number of points (supported by evidence).
- Knowledge and Understanding – recognize, recall and show understanding on a range of scientific material that accurately reflects the main theoretical perspectives.
- 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.
- 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.