Essay writing in psychology

Essay writing in psychology states that essay writing in psychology includes the principles of exactness, precise wording, and accuracy that facilitate the smooth flow of information from the writer to the reader. It is a scientific form of writing which helps create a thesis and supports it with quality arguments as stated by the APA (American Psychological Association).1)

Features of a good quality psychology essay

Features of a good quality psychology essay

  1. Well-structured arguments. They should be clear and structured supporting the writer’s point of view.

  2. Evidence and citations to back up the argument2)


    Example is taken from Writing for Psychology, A Guide for Psychology Concentrators, | Chapter One: How to Read Sources Critically, page 8

    A group of researchers has come to the conclusion that when men tend to behave violently, the level of their testosterone hormone is very likely to increase. To test that suggestion, thirty men have been chosen. The researchers gave them toy guns that could be used to cause damage in real settings. The results of the test have demonstrated that the level of testosterone increased as men became more involved in playing with toy guns3) .
    This experiment proved the argument of the researchers’ right and they could conduct their study further.

  3. Critical analysis and evaluation. An Ap psychology question has to undergo few steps to evaluate evidence and relevance. It includes:

    • Dividing the core subject into smaller parts to study their correlations and key facts.
    • To weigh the various theories attached to the evidence and bring different points of view together and finally, consider the evidence on the basis of the arguments.4)

  4. Excellent communication skills in writing. The grammar, structure, and formation of sentences and paragraphs, should follow a formal style of writing. The usage of slangs should be avoided, and unnecessary quotes should not be added to the content.5)

The steps involved in drafting a high-quality essay question:

  • Analysis of the task
  • Preliminary reading to understand the fundamental question
  • Write a plan on how to tackle the problem
  • Read the plan for further clarity and amendments
  • Refine and detail the thesis6)

    Example of a psychology essay topic sample question

    Is marijuana a dangerous drug?
    In the above question, we will analyze and break the question into smaller parts.

    • What would be the effect of marijuana on the brain and its impact on the behavioral aspects?
    • And are there any medicinal uses of marijuana?
    • The molecular composition of the herb.

Read the above questions several times and then group them into various parts. Identify the correlation among the different parts. Plan a rough outline. Read further to refine the outline and then write down the final answer in a detailed yet clear format.7)

The steps involved in answering an AP psychology essay question:

  • Analyze the question and take a few minutes to think how to organize the answer.
  • Write a rough outline or make a grid for understanding what is expected out of the question.
  • Write a format that explains all the aspects of the question using rubrics. Rubrics are a set of tools used by teachers to grade an assignment.
  • Write the essay in proper paragraphs and complete sentences. Do not write in an outline format.8)9)

Examples of AP psychology essay questions 10)

This psychology essay example is taken from
Dwell on the way both biological and social factors influence the following characteristics of the individual:

  • The amount and habits of alcohol drinking
  • Personal perception of the world
  • Mental condition such as schizophrenia
  • Being extrovert 11)

In this psychology essay question example, the students are required to follow the methodology by analyzing the psychological concepts and theoretical aspects. Each and every point has to be studied, analyzed, broken into subparts and roughly redesigned.12)
The various arguments have to be considered upon, the theories have to be cited and critically evaluated to answer an AP psychology question.

Types of Writing in Psychology:

Learning different forms of writing is essential to summarize, synthesize, and interpret the information from various sources and present the findings in a research journal format to write on various psychology essay topics.13)

The types of psychology essays are

  • Report
  • Review
  • Literature review
  • Lab report/empirical journal article. The format of a lab report is as follows
    • Title page
    • Abstract
    • Introduction
    • Methods
    • Results
    • Discussions
    • References14)

Psychology extended essay:

An extended essay (EE) in psychology is a requisite of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program, which requires detailed study and investigations in the area of the psychology essay topic. The students are supported and guided by supervisors/teachers in the process of researching and writing.15) After conducting the research, the students should focus on the evaluation and analysis of the data to bring out a reasoned argument, which will help them in writing an extended essay paper.16)

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