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How to Write A Psychology Essay

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Writing a successful psychology essay can be daunting for both new and seasoned psychology students. Following the appropriate guidelines for psychology writing and using the correct approach will help to ensure your success.

Research your topic thoroughly, using a wide selection of appropriate articles sourced from credible journals. Formulate an argument, and plan the structure of your essay. Some essay writers say that it is important to structure your essay according to the style used by most psychology writers. This style is known as the APA style. 

Follow the below guidelines when writing your psychology essay, and improve your chances of achieving a great grade.

Choose your Psychology Essay Topic

Psychology essay topics are usually set by your professor and are often framed as questions. Sometimes your professor may ask you to choose from a selection of set topics or choose your topic. In these cases be sure to select a relevant topic to the course you are doing, and frame your essay title originally and interestingly.

Be sure to follow the guidelines and requirements your professor has given you. Also ensure that you fully understand what parts of the assignment are required, and clarify any questions you have with your professor. Keep in mind that when writing a psychology essay as an assignment, your professor is your reader so keep to the guidelines they have set.

Decide on an Argument for your Psychological Essay

In a psychology essay, you must present an argument – a concise statement of what you intend to show to be true about your topic. Keep your argument brief and clear, and be sure to have credible sources to back up your statement. Once you have decided on your argument it should be used to guide your entire essay. Review evidence and theories to support your argument. Be sure to also include evidence and theories that oppose your argument, and show why they are not convincing. You should also restate your argument after the essay.

How to Structure your Psychology Essay

The structure of a psychology essay should be broken down into six sections: title, abstract, introduction, body, conclusion, and references.

1. Title

If you have chosen your essay topic, then the title is your initial chance to impress your reader. Be sure that it is a good, concise summary of your essay. It should be an interesting, brief description of your main topic and argument. It should not exceed more than 15 words. The title should be printed on the cover page of your essay.

2. Abstract

Not all psychology essay assignments require an abstract. Be sure to check with your professor if this is required. If required, an abstract should be less than 125 words and provide the reader with an informative summary of your essay. Include the general topic, your argument, a summary of how you show your argument to be true, and your conclusion. Do not indent your paragraphs. The abstract should be the second page of the essay, with the boldfaced, centered heading “Abstract”.

3. Introduction

This is the first paragraph of your essay. Begin it on page 3, and ensure that your title is printed at the top of the page, directly above the introduction. According to the best essay writing service, your introduction should contain fewer than 10% of the words of the essay. Aim to briefly outline your topic, and the issues leading to your argument. Be sure to introduce and state your argument towards the end of this paragraph.

4. Body

The body should contain approximately 70% of the words in your essay. Be sure to organize and integrate your ideas in a logical manner. Depending on what your topic or essay question is, this can be approached in different ways. You may like to trace the development of ideas on the topic, leading to your conclusion. Or you may prefer to outline the similarities and differences between two major theories. If the topic was set out as a problem, you could set out possible solutions and evaluate each one. You could outline current academic opinions on a topic, giving evidence for each one. Or you could concentrate on the procedures of different researchers to determine why opposing results may have been found. Whatever approach you decide on, it is important to write the body of your essay in a precise, clear, and organized manner.

5. Conclusion

This is the last paragraph and should contain fewer than 10% of the words of your essay. Be sure to summarise your main points, show how you have dismissed alternative thoughts, and restate your argument. It is important to only write things in your conclusion that you have previously defended in the body of your essay. Do not introduce any new ideas in your concluding paragraph.

6. References

Your reference list should be the last page of your essay. Ensure that it is on a new page with the centered, boldfaced heading “References”. List your references according to the APA Style.

What Your Marker is Looking For

Usually, in a psychological essay you will be assessed on the following:

  • how relevant your essay is to the topic set
  • the strength of your argument and how it is organized in your essay
  • how original your writing is (using your critical thought about the topic)
  • the depth of your topic research (this is shown in your references/citations)
  • how clear and accurately you express yourself (including spelling, punctuation, and grammar)
  • whether or not you kept in line with the required style rules and word limit
  • using citations/referencing correctly, and according to the APA Style

Keep in mind that the above guidelines are appropriate for most psychology essays, however, sometimes a professor will set certain alternative requirements for an assignment. If you are unsure what approach is required for your assignment, be sure to check with your professor.

About the author: Timothy M. Wilson works as a content provider for He is interested in self-development and spiritual awakening. So he likes keeping up with modern tendencies of personal development. It helps him plan and have time to do everything.