Understanding what you are going to write
There are two basic types of psychology papers. These are the academic psychology essay and the scientific report.
A psychology essay normally consists of a relatively short piece of writing, while a psychology research report involves scientific writing.
It is important to understand this difference because these different writing types have different requirements, formats and purposes.
Briefly, a psychology essay can be a review, explanation or critical analysis of one personís work or a broader topic. These can include an accurate summary of work written by someone else, an analysis of work written by another person or a report on a psychology topic. In both types of analysis, the writer is expected to have an opinion supported by a logical written discussion. A critical analysis can be a literature review or research paper and you will be expected to use more than one work written by someone else on a topic.
Scientific writing in psychology can include a research proposal, a research report or a lab report. A research proposal is a tentative design of a future research project. A research report is an extension of a research proposal and presents the results of research. A lab report is a report of one experiment and usually has an assigned format.
One way to ensure that you understand the requirements of your brief is to take the assignment given one word or phrase at a time. Underline key words and phrases. Another method of ensuring an understanding of the paper in hand is to examine the criteria being given for the assignment. Usually, there is a 'rubric' or set of criteria of exactly what is expected.
Let's get planning your psychology essay
Before you start, you need to understand what you're going to be writing...