A2 ESSAY STRUCTURE
Start by READING THE QUESTION!
The 3 most common types need you to:
1. Discuss … (this means describe and evaluate)…
2. Describe … (no evaluation needed here) and evaluate …
3. Outline … (no evaluation needed here) and evaluate …
ESSAY: “Discuss the biological explanation for Schizophrenia.”
As there are 2 explanations for this question, your essay length should reflect
this. Each explanation (genes/biochemisty) should take up half of the words in the
essay – with genes having 100 A01 and 200 A02; and biochemistry having 100 A01
and 200 A02 (around 50 words per point).
Next, think of an argument
This should relate to the question and introduce an IDA point that will be
discussed in the essay, e.g. “There are two main biological explanations for
Schizophrenia – biochemical explanations and genetic explanations. However,
considering this approach alone may be reductionist (IDA). This essay will discuss
the evidence for a biological explanation for Schizophrenia.
Then make an AO1 (describe) point/s e.g.
The genetic explanation assumes that… use family studies, adoption/twin studies
A01, talk about concordance
Then clearly state a study and/ or an approach that supports the above AO1
e.g. THIS IS WHERE YOUR AO2/A03/IDA BEGINS AND YOU GET HIGHER
A study that supports the idea of the involvement of genetics was carried out by
Joseph (2004). He found that [insert results here]. This would suggest that genes
are more likely to influence the development of Schizophrenia rather than the
environment a person is raised in. (AO2) These findings have been shown again in
more recent studies using blind diagnoses, showing a certain level of reliability
(AO3); these studies found lower overall concordance rates, although MZ twins
still show a much higher concordance than DZ twins (AO2).
Next, state a limitation of the support or approach you have just detailed e.g.
Adoption studies assume that children are not selectively placed [expand on the
point], this reduces the validity of the research (IDA).
Then offer an additional/ other/ better explanation for the points you have
made and start again with AO1 e.g.
The role of dopamine outline the A01
Next, make your AO2/ AO3/ IDA points as the first time round e.g.
Key role highlighted in drugs which deplete/increase dopamine levels
However, Haracz - cause or effect
Are there any A03/IDAs you could pick up on here??
Then offer implications of the research, along with another possible approach.
A focus on biological research into the development of schizophrenia is important
as it provides possible treatments, for example, anti-psychotics [give a statistic
here on their effectiveness!] (IDA). The purely biological approach is
reductionist, however, as it ignores the role of psychological e.g. mood and
social/cultural/religious factors (IDA). There is a lot of research which suggests
that the family environment or life events may be a cause for a schizophrenic
episode [brief summary of a research study here] .
Conclusion – link this back to the question e.g.
It is evident from research that biology does have a role in explaining
schizophrenia. However, it is important to consider the role of other factors such
as family environment or life events, in order to provide a fuller explanation for
schizophrenia. The diathesis-stress model [explain!]