How to write a psychology essay

Table of Contents

Writing any essay is a big challenge, and when it comes to psychology essay writing everyone agrees that it is one of the most challenging tasks. In our article we will discuss everything it takes to write a good psychology paper.

Why psychology is a science essay?

When people hear the word “Science” they think of such subjects as maths, chemistry, or physics, but did you know that psychology is also a science? According to the The British Psychological Society “Psychology is the scientific study of people, the mind and behavior” and a psychologist’s main role is to understand this behavior, predict and influence it. Its subject lies in between of applied, educational, and theoretical science. So any psychology essay requires not only a detailed writing, but a lot of pre-writing research as well.

How to write a good psychology essay

Some believe that essay is the simplest assignment they can get as it is a short piece of writing on a particular subject or topic. Others believe that it’s one of the most complicated as requires expressing thoughts in a structured and logical way. If you use our professional tips on how to write a good psychology essay, you will never struggle with any essay anymore.

  1. Know your subject. Imagine if you have to write an essay on “social cognition”, but you have no idea what is cognition and how it can be social! Make sure you read enough literature, study all the necessary theories before you start.
  2. Make a proper research. When we say “proper” we mean not just read the information from the yellow pages, but make sure to collect data from authentic and trusted resources, such as science magazines and newspapers, or professional psychology websites.
  3. Analyze the results. When you collected all necessary information filter what is important and necessary for you in your essay.
  4. Logical structure. It is known that without a proper structure any essay will be chaotic. Make the plan pinpointing the main ideas and strictly follow it.
  5. Select a style! Make sure that the language of your essay is proper, without any jargon, clichés, or repetitions.
  6. Edit and Proofread. The last step that can’t be missed is editing and proofreading as it helps to polish the paper, and find any typos.

How to write a psychology essay plan

It is known that a proper planning is a key to high grades. Do you know why? Planning helps to structure your paper! “How should I plan my paper” you might ask.

  1. First of all, start with your argument – think and formulate it, as it is the main part of your introduction. Write it at the top of the page and leave enough space for the introduction part.
  2. When the argument is ready brainstorm of three or four ideas that will support it. Write them on the left side of the paper, so later you can form sentences and they will be your topic sentences.
  3. Next step is to support your ideas with examples. Make sure to include at least 2-3 examples to prove your point. Write them on the right side of the paper, next to the topic sentences.
  4. And finally conclusion. Think of a good and powerful conclusion where you create the main idea that you want your readers to remember.

So now your plan is ready and it’s time to start writing.

How to structure a psychology essay

Like any other paper a psychology essay should be written in a proper way. Creating a professional paper requires a lot of time and effort that is why we prepared some tips that can be valuable for everyone. When you structure a psychology essay you should adhere to the following format:

  1. Introduction. While writing a psychology essay introduction it’s very important to attract reader’s attention with the information that is relevant, interesting and unique. Note that it should be clear and coincide as it lays the path to the main body.
  2. The Main Body is the most crucial and the longest part of your essay. Don’t forget to start it with a topic sentence as it states the main idea of your essay. It is important to start with strong points that have evidence to prove it. Here you introduce the arguments with all supporting evidence. Make sure that each argument logically goes from one to another and has its own paragraph.
  3. Conclusion. This is a very important part as, like we mentioned above, sends the main idea of your essay to readers.

How to start a psychology essay

Many students face the problem not “How to write a psychology essay”, but “How to start it”. We prepared some tips that can be valuable for any psychology essay.

  1. Before you start, first think of an interesting title. Don’t make it too broad like, “Social media and us”, be as specific as possible like “How does social media influence our identities?”
  2. Following the tips from the previous block create a plan of your psychology essay and follow it.
  3. Conduct in-depth research on the topic. Don’t forget to analyze it and highlight the main points that will be shown in your essay.
  4. Thesis statement is one of the vital parts of your psychology essay as it helps to understand “Why?” you chose this particular topic and what is the purpose of your essay.
  5. So now its time to start your Introduction. Remember that it consists of the main 3 parts:
  • an opening statement or so called “hook” is needed to introduce the topic, its accuracy, and formulate the thesis statement as well as attract the reader’s attention. Don’t forget to include some background information about the topic, so readers will have a better understanding about what will be written in your essay;
  • supporting sentences will help to connect the opening statement to your thesis statement;
  • and a thesis statement that is needed for introduction of your ideas and stating the purpose of your assignment.

Only when al these steps are done you are good to start your psychology essay.

But, if you are still struggling with the beginning, don’t worry and start with a draft! You can always get back to it and change the things you don’t like or add information that was missed.

How to write a First-class psychology essay

Before we discuss how to write a first-class psychology essay we have to understand what does this type of an essay look like?

There is no scale or commonly agreed rules on that, but most can pinpoint the following features:

  1. It matches the assignment brief. It might be too obvious and easy, but if you are given the guidance of what should be in the essay, make sure you follow it.
  2. Well structured and formulated thesis statement that can’t be copied from your books.
  3. A logical structure is one of the pillars of a first-class psychology essay. Make sure that all sentences, paragraphs and parts go in sequence. Remember that arguments and supporting evidence should be presented in the order that best suites to its overall goals.
  4. You have an argument – support it. Make sure to use authentic sources to support each and every argument.
  5. Be original in your argument. Don’t just try to sound like others who have already studied the topic. Present your own argument with new and fresh ideas.
  6. Don’t copy! You should be ready “to dig into” sources, select the information that is relevant to the essay you are writing, think of supportive or contradicting points and use the knowledge in your paper.
  7. Write how you speak! Don’t try to use high words and long sentences and use professional language with al necessary terminology.
  8. Make sure that all the parts of your psychology essay papers are just the right length.
  9. Proofread and edit your essay. Make sure to proofread your paper, as even small typos can leave a bad impression about the whole essay.

As you see to write a First-class essay is not an easy task, however if you put your thoughts into it and spend a proper amount of time for research, you will ace it!

How to write a 16 mark psychology essay and how to answer psychology essay question

If you want to get high grades in your A-level it is very important to score as high as possible in this essay. The most difficult and high-value questions you might be asked are 16 mark essay questions.

Before going deeply into how to write a 16-mark essay we have to understand how to answer a psychology essay question.

There are 2 types of essay questions:

  1. “Discuss” questions – this type requires describing and evaluating a theory, a research or a study. Here 6 marks go for AO1 “demonstrate knowledge” skills and 10 marks for AO3 “analysis, interpretation and evaluation” skills.
  2. “Context” questions – also called “creative” questions require you to read a short article or passage about behavior in a real-life situation and describe what psychological theory/research can be applied to it. In this question 6 marks go for AO1 “demonstrate knowledge” skills, 6 marks for AO3 “analysis, interpretation and evaluation” skills, and 4 marks are for AO2 “knowledge application”.

When we talk about a 16 mark psychology essay’s structure it differs from other essays. Do you know why?

  1. First of all, the introduction is smaller and includes the definition of the key word put to the question as well as shows the introduction to the arguments that will be presented later.
  2. AO1 paragraph which is worth 6 marks out of 16 should be less than half a page in length and set the study’s main aim, procedure, results and conclusion.
  3. The rest 10 marks for “discuss” question or 6 marks for “context” question go to AO3 part. Ideally, you should aim to 4-5 evaluation points each following the PEEL structure: Point, Explanation, Elaboration and Link.
  4. If you are writing “context” question the last part that is worth 4 marks and it is application of your knowledge to a particular situation. Don’t try to write it long and complicated, as firstly, your time is limited; secondly, the value of your ideas is more important that the length.

As you see a psychology essay for university is different from the ones you used to write at school. Make sure you follow all the rules and in this case your paper will receive only high grades.

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