In General Psychology, you will write several essays throughout the term. These essays will answer a question about the week’s topics and you will write in a way that is engaging and furthers the discussion on the topic. This handout is designed to help you know how to write a good, substantive essay in Psychology. The following are key components of a good essay:
1.Each essay must be at least 400 words.
2. While meeting the word count is important, it is possible to write an essay that is long enough, but not substantive enough to earn full credit. The second criteria of a good essay are including a clear and substantial answer to the prompt. When preparing your essay, ask yourself, Does my essay answer the question or questions being posed? and Does it clearly answer all parts of the question, using the material to support my answer? When answering the essay question, it is important to use concepts, research, and/or theories from the week’s material to support your thoughts. A good essay will offer a thoughtful response to the topic being discussed and will demonstrate a good understanding of the topic by using material from the week in your answer. Using anecdotes or personal experiences is not as substantial or scholarly as using research and/or theory to advance discussion.
3.A good essay offers something new and fresh. Avoid simply answering the question with a simple response or reiteration of what the textbook says. Instead, present information in a way that advances thought on the topic and shows a clear understanding of and reflection on the material. Essay prompts are your opportunity to demonstrate how much you have learned and can apply the topic. This does not mean that you write and write and write, but rather that you present a thought-filled and reflective essay that addresses the question being asked in a way that demonstrates a true depth of understanding of the week’s material.
4.A good essay is written in a scholarly way, free of grammatical and spelling errors. It will also be in the current APA format and use both in-text citations and a reference section. Essays are expected to be written in a scholarly way and with research/references to support your views.
Please review the grading rubric and what is expected in each category prior to preparing your