2A2 essays are different from AS essays.At ASAO1: describe, outlineAO2: evaluateEssays are usually 12 marks (6AO1+6AO2)At A2AO1: describe, outlineAO2: evaluate, elaborate your explanationAO3: use issues and debates in psychology (GRENADES) in commentaries andevaluationEssays are usually 24 marks (8AO1+16AO2/AO3)Essay titles at A2Outline: Give a short description of the main points; give the main features or general principles;emphasise the structure, leaving out minor details.Discuss: Discuss Investigate or examine by argument; debate; give reasons for and against; examinethe implications of the topic.Evaluate: weigh up. Appraise the worth of something in the light of its truth or usefulness(application); assess and explain.Timing:It is much the same than AS: 24 marks=30mnWord limit:For 24 marks you are aiming for 1200 words which is an average of 50 words for each point.
3In an essay you are asked to describe, explain, elaborate, compare, contrast and evaluate. Youneed to signpost your essay to show to the marker what you are going to do. To achieve this youneed words and phrases.DescribingAn issue is....A further issue is that ......First, Second, Third, Finally....proposes that ......... argues that ....ElaboratingFurthermore ...Additionally .....For example ....An example of this is ...AlsoAs well as ...An example of this is ....An instance of this is ....This shows that ....This means that ....To illustrate this point ....To show this point ....To demonstrate this point ....MoreoverIn addition ....This suggests that ...This means that ...Indicating a causeConsequentlySinceBecauseBecause of ...Due to ....Accordingly ...As a result ....Therefore
4Compare and contrastSimilarities DifferencesLikewiseSimilarlyThe sameBothAlsoTooLikeWhereasIn comparisonIn contrastAs opposed toHoweverAlthoughOn the other handButYetAs opposed toUnlikeEvaluatingThis supports...... because... or it does not support ....Although ...DespiteThis shows that ....This provides support for .... because ....This contradicts ....HoweverThereforeButThis can be applied to ....This is useful because it explains or this theory cannot explain ...This is a problem because ...YetAn alternative to this theory is ....This has been criticised for ....
5Evaluating a theory/ model1. Evidence supporting the theory2. Evidence against the theoryThen look at the other approaches:It does not take into account…. Depending on the approach you are using it does not takeinto account the other approaches, therefore it is reductionist but you need to explain whatit does not take into account in these approaches.1. Cognitive approach2. Behaviourist approach (classical conditioning, operant conditioning, social learningtheory)3. Biological approach4. Psychodynamic approach5. Social approach (social norms, self-fulfilling prophecy….)6. (Evolutionary approach if relevant)Then consider GRENADESGender biasReductionismEthnocentrismNature/NurtureApproachDeterminismEthicsScientific method ( use this only once for each type of methodology i.e. if you usetwo experiments evaluate the method only once)For each point use the SELBE method:State your argument/pointElaborate/ explainLink it to the questionBack it up with evidenceEvaluate your point/ evidence
6Biological approach –Explainingthrough physiology(e.g. nervoussystem, hormones, genes) orevolution(because adaptive in someway e.g. more advantageous forsurvival orreproduction)(Nat/det/red/sci)Behavioural approach – Explainingthrough learning (classical oroperant conditioning,Sociallearning theory). (Nur/det/red/sci)Cognitive approach – explaining throughhow information is processed e.g.perception, memory, thinking. Comparingto computer systems.(Nur/det/red/sciGRENADESGender biasReductionismEthicsNature/nurtureApproachDeterminism Vs Free willEthnocentrismScientific methodDeterminist or free will? Determinist – behaviour is seen as caused bysomething other than the person’s free will e.g. the environment, theirbiology, genes, evolution, unconscious forces. (+) scientific approachassumes there are causes to be found. (-) is denying free will here takingaway human dignity and the individual’s responsibility for their ownbehaviour?.Does the explanation tend toNature or Nurture?Are there aspects of the behaviour that require taking the otherside into account or possible interactions?Nature due to genes, inheritance, evolution.Nurture due to the environment, learning etc.They usually interact, with nurture working on what natureprovides.Psychology as a scienceobjective (rather than subjective), replicable (can bechecked by others?), falsifiable (can be disproved).Reductionism – idea that the whole is just the sum of its parts and is best understoodby considering those parts. It therefore explains complex behaviour by reducing it to itsmost basic components or processes. (e.g. S-R reflexes or biochemical processes).Explanations can be seen as in a hierarchy from reductionist at one end to holist at theother (e.g. explaining in terms of the individual or society.(?) Are any important aspects of the behaviour neglected by giving a reductionistexplanation?(?) Does a reductionist explanation have advantages for this topic?Psychodynamic approach –Explaining throughunconsciousconflicts, instincts, desires oranxietiesand earlychildhood.(N&N/det/not sci)Use of animals in research.Is it valid? (can you generalise from that species tohumans? Does it allow research difficult/impossiblewith humans?Is it ethical? How much suffering involved? Does thevalue of the research outweigh the costs to animals?Could alternative methods have been used?Bias has implications for the scientific statusof psychology (undermines objectivity), the validityof the research and may have ethical implications ifbeing unfair or neglecting one group.Cultural bias – Is there any systematic distortion relatedto culture? e.g.ethnocentric (researchers using their ownculture as a baseline for judging other cultures),Historical bias (assumptions, conditions etc. of a pastculture distort the application of the research to thecurrent culture)Imposed etic – assuming that a theory or methodrelevant to one culture can be applied in another where itis not relevant. E.g. the Strange Situation.Ethical issues – Are there dilemmas to do with whatis morally acceptable?Is this socially sensitive research? (a taboo topic orsomething with potential negative consequences forsociety or groups within it?)Gender bias – Is there any systematic distortion related togender?e.g. Alpha bias exaggerates differences between malesand females.Beta bias ignores or minimises differences.Androcentric bias gives a male based view.Issues and debates in psychology
7Marking scheme at A2AO1 Mark bands8 - 7 marks SoundKnowledge and understanding are accurate and well detailed.A good range of relevant material has been selected.There is substantial evidence of breadth and depth.Organisation and structure of the answer are coherent.6 - 5 marks ReasonableKnowledge and understanding are generally accurate and reasonably detailed.A range of relevant material has been selected.There is evidence of breadth and/or depth.Organisation and structure of the answer are reasonably coherent.4 - 3 marks BasicKnowledge and understanding are basic/relatively superficial.A restricted range of material has been presented.Organisation and structure of the answer are basic.2 - 1 mark RudimentaryKnowledge and understanding are rudimentary and may be muddled and/or inaccurate.The material presented may be very brief or largely irrelevant.Lacks organisation and structure.0 marksNo creditworthy material.AO2/AO3 = 16 marksCandidates achieve AO2/AO3 credit by evaluating and offering commentary on the issuesthey haveidentified for example considering the consequences arising from the issue.AO2/AO3 Mark bands commentary16 - 13 marks EffectiveCommentary demonstrates sound analysis, understanding and interpretation. The answer iswellfocused and shows coherent elaboration and/or a clear line of argument. Ideas are wellstructured andexpressed clearly and fluently. Consistently effective use of psychologicalterminology. Appropriate useof grammar, punctuation and spelling.12 - 9 marks ReasonableCommentary demonstrates reasonable analysis, understanding. The answer is generallyfocused andshows reasonable elaboration. Most ideas are appropriately structured andexpressed clearly.Appropriate use of psychological terminology. Minor errors of grammar,punctuation and spellingoccasionally compromise meaning.8 - 5 marks BasicIt’s not only what you know it’s the way you say it!Read the marking scheme….They are looking not only for knowledge but also for accuracy (use appropriateterminology), detail. They are also looking if you explain your knowledge coherently(structured, orderly, logical). Finally you need to introduce a good range of material(breadth).
8Commentary demonstrates basic, superficial understanding. The answer is sometimesfocused and shows some evidence of elaboration. Expression of ideas lacks clarity. Limiteduse ofpsychological terminology. Errors of grammar, punctuation and spelling are intrusive.4 - 1 marks RudimentaryCommentary is rudimentary demonstrating a very limited understanding. The answer isweak,muddled and incomplete. Material is not used effectively and may be mainlyirrelevant. Deficiency in expression of ideas results in confusion and ambiguity. The answerlacksstructure often merely a series of unconnected assertions. Errors of grammar,punctuation and spellingare frequent and intrusive.0 marksNo creditworthy material is presented.It’s not only what you know it’s the way you say it!Read the marking scheme….They are looking for analysis (what does it mean and how does it link? why?)andelaboration (develop thoroughly, in detail). Link your points back to the question.Grammar and spelling:“Errors of grammar, punctuation and spelling are frequent and intrusive.” They willnot give you marks if the spelling, grammar or punctuation is so bad that it makesthe understanding of what you write difficult.Furthermore they are looking for “effective use of psychological terminology” solearn the proper terms and use them in your essays.Make sure you do not repeat yourselfIf you have evaluated one sample of a study saying that wecannot generalise the results because the sample isethnocentric. Do not use the same point for another study inthe same essay as you will not get the marks
9Paragraphing:The exam companion advises you to make one paragraph for each point. It feels strangewhen you first do this however in exam it avoids the problems of paragraph marking. Ifyou have more than one point in a paragraph it might get only one mark (examiners arebusy people, they might take short cuts so give them a hint)Evaluating studiesYou can use generic points such as “it is a correlational study therefore it does not showcause and effect relationship between the variables because other factors could beinvolved…" this needs to be developed by mentioning a relevant factor which ties in withthe particular study or you will not get the mark.“Discuss essays”In this type of essays you do not describe in the first part and evaluate in the secondpart you need to describe and evaluate each point (SELBE) so it gives you this sort ofplan.AO1AO2/AO3AO2/AO3AO1AO2/AO3AO2/AO3AO1AO2/AO3AO2/AO3And so on… until you reach the number ofmarks required.Practice by planning your essays using thistype of diagram.