The Guide to Writing a Psychology Essay

The Guide to Writing a Psychology Essay

There are different opinions on what type of essay is the hardest one to write. The majority of students agree that the psychology essay is not one of those. However, writing a proper psychology essay demand selecting a good topic, planning, outlining, all the stages of preliminary research and analysis, editing, and proofreading, just like any other type of essay. Besides, this type has some peculiarities of its own. Here, we are going to discuss the similarities and differences between a psychology essay and others. You will find out how to write an excellent psychology essay with minimum effort.

The very first lines of your psychology essay should include ‘a hook.’ Its goal is to make readers read the essay to its end. This is not a persuasive essay, so you don't have to shock anybody with the opening, but it still has to capture attention. To interest your readers in the topic, you are to provide them with some valuable data. You can use any numbers that concern the topic to represent your problem and make your readers eager to find the solution: those who have addictions, those who experience problems with staying focused during their work, those who have family issues influencing their health, etc.

Make a Plan
The Guide to Writing a Psychology Essay

Some students think that planning before starting to write is a simply wasting one’s time. So, they decide to start acting immediately. This, however, has some consequences. It is hard to estimate the time you have to spend on this or that stage of work in the process of writing. Especially, when you have neglected the preliminary work on your topic. You will soon get stuck and may miss your deadline. That is why it is vital to plan everything. Look at your topic. Think of the point of view you are going to analyze it from. If you don't understand something - ask or at least make a list of questions to ask later. Consider the approximate time each stage will take you. You have to be totally prepared and feel like a great commander before the attack.

Choose the Right Sources

Unfortunately, a lot of students limit their research to reading Wikipedia and sources like that. It is great for self-education, but such an approach is NOT university level. You should base your research only on credible academic sources. There are psychology databases at university libraries. Check yours. After that, you may turn to ACADEMIC resources on the Internet.

The Importance of Creating an Outline

If students spent as much time on creating outlines as they spend on thinking whether they are worth creating at all, they would get straight A’s for their papers. Seriously, a lot of people are curious if it is possible not to write an outline. We have a plan, after all. We know already what we are going to write about and have a clue how to do it. But it is essential for you to see the difference between the plan of your work and the outline of your essay. A good outline is a ready-to-go pattern of your psychology essay. And if you give this pattern to a person who knows nothing about your topic, he or she should get the feeling that they read your essay in short. Each part of the essay has to be indicated on your outline with the key ideas, data, sources, etc. The outline should lead you through the essay logically. And if in the middle of your writing you feel so exhausted that you forget what on earth you were leading to, the outline has to help you out and make you go faster.

The Process of Writing

As it has been mentioned, the proper outline dwells the time you spend writing a psychology essay to a minimum. But no matter whether you have an outline or not, or if you want the essay to have subheadings or just to be divided into paragraphs, you must stick to the structure. In most cases, a psychology essay includes the following stages.

A Good Start
The Guide to Writing a Psychology Essay

A paper that starts with anything else but the introduction is hard to find. The introduction is aimed at attracting the reader's attention and states the topic. In other words, as an old saying goes, in this section you will tell readers about what you are going to tell them. You have to underline the relevance of the topic. Besides, mention what new ideas, approaches, and views your essay contains. You may write, for example, that although many neurobiologists today claim that the poses of power don't really increase the level of testosterone. Therefore, there is more to find out about how these poses still work on the psychological level and make a lot of people more confident.

Narrowing Down the Topic

It is now time to narrow down the area of your research to a subject matter. You have to define research question you are going to answer. If your paper is based on quantitative research, there should also be a research hypothesis.

Reviewing Sources

Since researching the literature on the topic is an essential part of essay writing, there is a special section for it. In a literature review, you can't simply enumerate your sources and highlight the main ideas and data that is relevant for your research. Reviewing should be done in the form of critical analysis. This is the only case when you will be able to produce proper references.

Drawing the Conclusion

Traditionally, the conclusion is a summary of your paper. You tell your readers what you have already mentioned. In addition, you give some final remarks and give a perspective on the further research of the subject matter. The conclusion is often the most cliched section of the essay. However, if you do it right, the readers will be convinced that it has been a credible research worth their time and attention.

Format Issues

Pay attention to the format in the very first stages of your writing. If you have any questions about how to format your paper right, you are better to ask them immediately. After that, you can turn to the Purdue website and other sources helping with formatting in accordance with the most common styles. In case of a psychology essay, there is a great chance that it will be the APA format, but it could also be Harvard or MLA, for example. Mind that it only seems that the content of your essay is more important than its form. It may be more valuable, but an essay is an integral work in which each aspect is graded. If you fail to format your text properly, your grade will be much lower than it could have been.

Proofreading and Editing

Different students spend different time on this two aspects. Some don't spend any at all. Handing in the paper which you haven't even reread after writing is a display of total lack of respect to your teacher. Don't be surprised if your grade will get worse because of the abundance of small mistakes and typos. Spell checkers are a great tool but don't trust them blindly. Besides, proofreading is not enough for a psychology essay. You should read each sentence to make sure YOU understand it and OTHERS will be able to do so. A sentence should not be too long or wordy. It can't contain unnecessary terms and excessive cliches.

What Are the Main Differences between a Psychology Essay and Others

We have stated above that a psychology essay has both similarities and differences with other essay types. The stages of writing, sections, formats, and grammar requirements are all the same. Which can seem really different to those who are used to writing essays in other areas is that your opinion really matters when it comes to the literature review. As long as you keep it in the boundaries of the research format, you can give some interpretations of the information given in the sources you use.

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