Writing A Psychology Paper

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Phynixe, Aug 25, 2016.

  1. Phynixe

    Phynixe I need me some PIE!

    So, I'm a college student, as most of you don't know, and I currently have a paper to write (which is due on november 11th, a.k.a decades from now) but I'm the type of person to finish things the moment they are assigned.
    As the title states, this is a paper on Psychology and is supposed to demonstrate my understanding and application of everything that's been taught in class (Neuroscience, Phrenology; but not necessarily all of them, just to show I know what I'm doing) using only a single source (A movie, an article, etc). I had only just started writing this essay (should be maximized to a 1000 words) and I've written the introduction so far, and would like your opinions/criticism on my style of writing, so here it goes;

    Science, as it stands, has been the predominant source of intelligence for an extended period of time. Every type of science plays a specific role in providing us with knowledge of different sectors of life. One of the many most influential sciences that have shaped the perspective of society towards the concept of human behaviour is actually the study of psychology. Now, psychology itself is a broad word that stands for several other sub-sciences such as neuroscience and phrenology, but nevertheless, represents the general study of the human mind and behaviour. Despite psychology being looked down upon by the more famous sciences such as physics, biology and chemistry, the fact that psychology has had a greater impact on the interaction between humans is undeniably one of the most difficult things that may ever be accomplished due to the vast diversity that lies between humans themselves, be it social or cognitive. Every human varies in their physical and psychological elements; the study of psychology tends to look at both of these concepts and explains them through ever-changing theories, studies and experiments. The mind and body are of complexity, and require thorough analysis of varying experimentation in order to provide an explanation to creations so complex; psychology does just that and can be perfectly demonstrated in (insert source here)

    The ending (Insert Source Here) is basically the block that can be filled up with anything once I find the source I would like to use.
  2. Comissar

    Comissar I need me some PIE!

    First and foremost, and I'm not trying to be rude by asking this, is English your first language? If not, I'd recommend posting it in your native language rather than trying to translate it. If it is, then the below is relevant. My own comments and alterations in red.

    Ok, general comments, you've used an awful lot of words to say very little. You repeat yourself a lot in saying 'Psychology works by constantly coming up with new theories to test things and show how the mind works', but you never dive into specific examples. I get that you're going to use one at the end of the introduction, but in an essay an assertion needs to be backed up by an example whenever it is made for the first time.

    As I said, I question your inclusion of phrenology. I may be wrong, but I've always been under the impression that it's been debunked a long time ago as useless.

    Your grammar is mostly good, but your phrasing is very casual at times. You need to keep the phrasing professional for reports.

    Regardless of personal beliefs, don't use the phrase 'creations' unless you're specifically referring to something a person has made. If you can prove the existence of a deity, then great, publish a paper on that and go claim your nobel prize. If you can't prove it, then it's phrasing that should be kept out of a serious scientific work.
    Phynixe likes this.
  3. Phynixe

    Phynixe I need me some PIE!

    I appreciate it, and the changes you made to it sound so much better. Keep in mind this is a college paper, so they don't expect us to be on spot 100%, rather, they expect us to be able to demonstrate the topic. I'd just written it and I had yet to look over it and correct it. I posted it here in order to get some feedback so I know where I'm lacking.

    Also, as a bonus, the part of phrenology is valid under the class I'm taking. It's all a matter of perspective, but phrenology remains a part of psychology whether or not it is debunked. As mentioned, this essay is to show our understanding of the course and being able to apply it into different sources using its elements.

    I'll keep you posted on the progress I make over the next few weeks.

    Edit: Sidenote, after a semi-colin, the first letter is to remain miniscule.
  4. Comissar

    Comissar I need me some PIE!

    Sure, but accuracy certainly won't hurt. Also, college is a wooly term, means different ages in different places (I've heard it used to refer to anything from 16-21, which encompasses a broad range of expectations). What sort of age are you talking?

    I can only hope that by that you mean you're discussing the history of it, because having just done some cursory looking into it, phrenology is absolutely what I thought it was, and it absolutely doesn't have a place in modern psychology.

    Sure, I'll be willing to give it a look over whenever you're looking for feedback. Can't promise it'll be timely, got my own stuff to be writing, but I don't mind doing it.
    Phynixe likes this.
  5. Phynixe

    Phynixe I need me some PIE!

    1. Age of 17-18.

    2. It is the discussion of its history, I asked the professor the question about whether or not including phrenology would've been okay, and she said considering it's a part of the course material, it is definitely alright. But, I do see where you're coming from in relation to this, so I'll probably make adjustments to that using a different sub-science.

    3. Out of curiosity, what're you writing about?

    Edit: Also, can you be specific as to what you meant by "keeping it professional" and "casual phrasing." I understand the general idea of what you mean, but would you be kind enough to clarify this?
  6. Comissar

    Comissar I need me some PIE!

    Got it.

    Just remember it is pseudo-science. In the same way that Lamarckian Evolution or Astrology are. They may have helped inform the development of modern theories back in the day, but they themselves don't actually contribute anything of worth to their modern equivalents.

    'Environmental Impacts on the Calcification of Planktic Foraminifera'

    It's about as exciting as it sounds.

    Sure. To point to a specific example, you started a sentence with 'Now, psychology itself is a broad word...'. This sounds very conversational, the kind of thing you would say to someone you were chatting with and decided to try and talk about your course. "I'm studying psychology. Now, psychology is quite a broad word, actually it's really a lot of smaller sub-sciences that go together."

    For something you want to be taken seriously, cut out phrasings like that. To rephrase my above example. "My area of expertise is psychology. The field is quite broad, encompassing multiple sub-disciplines, with examples as diverse as neuropsychology through to game theory."

    (Disclaimer, I'm not hot on current psychological theories, but hopefully the example gets the point across anyway).
  7. kalasle

    kalasle Forum Royalty

    Your introduction is too broad and wordy for a 1k essay -- that's like 2 pages. You should probably mention Psychology in your first sentence, not at the end of your third. Entirely cut your first two sentences; you don't need them. Broad, sweeping claims about abstract concepts like "science" best suit a textbook or an academic book, not a short college essay. For comparison here's the first paragraph to an essay I wrote for a class this summer:

    "In 1966, the New York Times ran a series of articles that listed a great spread of covert activities by the Central Intelligence Agency. This exposé, which lasted into 1967 on the backs of other publications such as Ramparts, included among its subjects a supposedly non-governmental organization called the Congress for Cultural Freedom. The Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF) was at the heart of the CIA’s cultural propaganda project. Its outing as a beneficiary of government money shocked the western intellectual community, and highlighted a fundamental divide between the ideals of the intellectuals and the aims of those eager to bolster the United States."

    The essay is about 17-18 pages long, and while the whole introduction covers a bit over 2 pages, that first paragraph should give you a sense of scope. You have the right general idea: begin broadly, and narrow your focus. But, you are beginning much too wide, even for something which intends to demonstrate broad competency in a field. Lay the groundwork directly under your subject, not in the space next to it. Perhaps your first sentence could be something like "Psychology has shaped our societal understanding of human behavior." That's really the most important part of your first three sentences, reworded and shaped into a short, punchy statement. It still introduces a general topic, but it does so in a way that makes clearer your intended direction and subject from the get-go.

    To cut out words throughout your essay, change your sentences from passive voice to the active voice, and alter sentences which hinge on "to be" verbs, such as "is" or "are" or "be." Sometimes it's appropriate to use an existence verb or the passive voice (such as I just did there, in order to place more emphasis on the adjective "appropriate" as the most important word), but when in doubt, use the active voice.
  8. Phynixe

    Phynixe I need me some PIE!

    We're currently reading the first two chapters of the book, and there's alot of comparison between the general sciences and how psychology falls into the category. The goal, once again, is to show my understanding of course material. I started it off with the, how shall I put it, a tie between science and reality, and breaking it down into psychology. But, I do see where you're coming from, but keep in mind, the situation here is slightly different. I attempt to implement course material from head to toe into this essay...well, for the most part. Obviously, I won't be discussing EVERY branch study of psychology, but rather, pick two sub-topics and include them into the essay whilst providing an explanation to the observations I make into the movie, article, etc.

    But once again, I do see where you're coming from.
  9. Boozha

    Boozha I need me some PIE!

    A lot. If you make that mistake in your essay someone is going to be unamused.
  10. Phynixe

    Phynixe I need me some PIE!

    I don't normally write "alot." It's just faster online.
  11. Geressen

    Geressen Forum Royalty

    I am once again going to repeat my sentiment that psychology is not a real science.

    ...and then it makes chronological sense...

    By the time we get to the second paart of that sentence we do know because you just told us you are in the first part. you can switch the parts and make it:

    "as most of you don't know, I'm a college student" ....

    ...and chronologicl sense is important.
  12. Phynixe

    Phynixe I need me some PIE!

    The hate.
  13. Geressen

    Geressen Forum Royalty

    Excellent diagnosis. Surely I too am now a psychologist.

    Real science has explosions, you can't even blow my mind :p

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