How to Approach Your Psychology Assignment for Better Grades
Approaching Psychology Assignment
- Begin with the Most Basic Research and Outline the Entire Process
Just like any other paper, before you begin writing your essay on any psychology assignment, it is imperative to do background research and become familiar with the topic. You must have read and clearly understood the guidelines provided for the project.
While doing this, collect and outline the ideas that emerge. List them down in point form, noting what goes to the introduction, the body, and the conclusion.
With a pen and paper, break them down by starting with the topic, the thesis statement, followed by ideas for the body text. A clear outline bars you from going off-topic. Additionally, you can focus on one particular idea in each paragraph.
Having many ideas in one paragraph shows a lack of coherence and flow.
Do not forget to note down the specific sources that you find authentic and credible for your research topic when collecting information.
- Discuss the Topic Clearly
Here, one introduces the topic by giving out its meaning and essence in the discussion or research.
In psychology, assignments are mostly given to test the student's understanding of the theories taught in class. Knowing what theory applies to your topic is essential to framing the relevance of your subject.
To avoid contradicting yourself in the essay repeatedly and over, ensure that each paragraph focuses only on one idea or argument.
It also is imperative to stick to the topic when handling your assignment. Sticking to the subject shows that you fully understand what you are talking about and vividly present your arguments.
- Use Simple and Comprehendible Language
Submitting an error-free paper is an essential requirement for all assignments.
Before submitting your piece of writing, be sure to proofread, correcting any possible errors like spelling errors as well as misplaced tenses.
To brush on your grammar, you may consider using grammar-checking tools and software such as Grammarly.
- Use Proper Coursework Structure, and Be Sure to Include Credible References
Adhering to the relevant coursework structure is a plus for your essay.
Most importantly, finding credible sources for your research is an indication that you have done your homework and that your arguments are valid and have been presented clearly.
Nonetheless, you must be able to identify credible sources from crappy ones. Authentic sources of reference contain the correct information studied and verified by various experts in the respective fields, and these are scholarly sources.
You may consider using peer-reviewed journals and articles, news articles with reputable backgrounds, and databases from reputable schools for psychology assignments and research work.
Some of the recommended websites for psychology research work include:
- American Psychological Association.
- American Psychological Association – Psychology Help Center.
- Careers in Psychology: Database.
- Careers in Psychology: interviews.
- National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
- Resources for Teaching Social Psychology.
- Encyclopedia of Psychology, among many others.
- American Psychiatric Association
NOTE: Sources do not necessarily have to be scholarly for them to be authentic or credible. There are various ways of determining the credibility of a particular source or website, including:
- Purpose: How does the source present its information? Does it intend to be informative or persuasive?
- Authority: Is the resource's author known, and what are their credentials?
- Accuracy: Does the resource present factually accurate information? And does it consider linking its sources?
- Timeliness: When was the last time it got updated?
- Scope: Is the resource more focused on the subject matter, or does it simplify the information overly?
What Contributes to a Good Essay in Psychology?
There are multiple features imperative features of a good essay in Psychology. They include:
- Global Structure
When writing your essay, ensure that you maintain a perfect flow of ideas from the introduction to the conclusion.
As previously mentioned, you can outline your ideas before you commence your writing process to avoid confusion. Alternatively, you may consider drafting a mind map, a summary table, or noting down the thesis and all as a response to the assignment question.
- Knowledge and Understanding
While writing, remember that essays are argument-based discussions that aim to prove a particular question or topic to be factual or falsifying. As such, it is imperative not to write everything that you know about the topic of your essay.
Instead, you have to approach it with utter precision and articulate your ideas clearly.
Every paragraph must entail a theme or purpose and multiple points supporting the idea and backed up with credible proof.
Psychology, more specifically, is a science and has to be supported by multiple theories. Imperatively, you must showcase your understanding of these theories and keep them by other scholarly work from the past.
Again, the overuse of quotations in the essay is inappropriate. The content has to be original to validate your understanding of the topic and the theories that apply. Instead of copy-pasting quotes in excess, you are advised to paraphrase the content and cite the paraphrase following the assigned citation style.
- Critical Evaluation
Critical Evaluation means assessing and listing the strengths and limitations of a research study or a given theory. This point applies mainly to research paper assignments or work.
Some of the ways through which critical Evaluation include:
- Validity and Reliability Assessment
To check on the authenticity of your theses, argument, or ideas, and research in general, use the research tools' validity and reliability assessment.
However, it is advised that you consider checking the strengths and limitations of the research and do not major only on the weaknesses of the study.
Still, in ensuring that the credibility of your research work is attained, consider contrasting and comparing various theories and the value they add to the study. Approaches used must be based on your topic, for instance, theories of personality, child growth, and memory, among many others.
Imperatively, remember to mention how valuable the theory or the study is.
- Debates and Perspectives
As a psychology assignment, it is advised that you refer to debates relevant to your topic. Some of the discussions that can be considered include reductionism vs. holism or the perspectives in psychology.
- Ethical Issues of Research
Check if your research work has ethical concerns, including physical or psychological harm, privacy issues, and falsification.
For instance, does the study infringe other people's rights in any way? Is there a gender bias? Are the theories used ethnocentric? And does the approach impose particular judgment on various countries based on standards from the west?
As previously discussed, psychology is a science, and the most used citation format for it is the American Psychological Association (APA) Style.
With that stated, it is imperative that you, as a student, understand the assigned citation perfectly even before you start your research.
The table below shows some of the basic APA in-text citations.
Some of the useful links you can check to be at par with the tenets of APA Style are:
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