The Rough Guide to Writing the Assignment

The assignment is split into three separate parts: issues; evidence and suggestions. Within each section you will have three paragraphs: one relating to each of your three issues.

Some general tips for the assignment coursework:

  • Are the issues actually explicitly raised by the source?
  • Is the study / research / theory that you’re applying apposite to the issue or just forced to fit?
  • Include the original source or you will receive 0 marks for Issues.
  • Remember to research apposite (really, really relevant) issues – there’s loads of psychology research specific search engines.

Issues (200-250 words)
Each paragraph will have the following in it:

  • Identify the issue;
  • Outline the issue;
  • Why is it an issue (relate to the article);
  • Quote to support this;
  • The research you are going to use to relate to it.

To get full marks you will need to show a range of appropriate psychological issues from at least two different areas of psychology and raised by the source. Each of these will needs to be clearly and concisely identified, justified n related to appropriate psychology.

The first issue that can be raised in my article is that of Social Learning Theory and domestic violence. SLT suggests that we learn behaviours through the observation and imitation of role models. This can be seen in the article as Peter saw his father assault his mother over a long period of time and it could be suggested that Peter learned his violent behaviour which then caused him to assault his school friend. This can be seen in the quote “Before the fight Peter said ‘I know what I’m doing: I’ve seen my daddy do it’” Davies and Holah (2006) conducted research into the effects of domestic violence on children’s later behaviour.

Evidence (500 words)
Each paragraph will have the following in it:

  • Identify the research / theory / study you are using;
  • Outline what they found in the context of your article;
  • Why does this relate to your issue?

To get full marks you will have to show that apposite and detailed psychological evidence s presented clearly, concisely and accurately and this is explicitly related to the source. This evidence must also demonstrate an understanding of different areas of psychology.

Davies and Holah (2006) conducted research into the effect of being exposed to domestic violence in the home on later behaviour in children aged 5-to-10. Using a longitudinal case-study method they followed 24 children who were found to have been living in a home where domestic violence had occurred towards one of the parents. The children were interviewed and also guardians and teachers were questioned about the child’s behaviour and relationships to peers. They discovered that there was a positive correlation between the duration of the exposure to the domestic violence and the self-reported and teacher reports of aggressive behaviour to peers. Therefore, this can be applied to Peter in the article. He was exposed to violence for a long period of time (about 3 years) in the home and this could have had a negative effect on him. When the opportunity to imitate the aggressive behaviour he did and assaulted his school friend.

Suggestions (200-250 words)
Each paragraph should contain:

  • A suggestion to improve, change, alter, make better, get involved with what’s going on in the issue. It could be a way of helping, providing support, stopping it happen again … etc.
  • Show how this suggestion links to the issue.
  • Psychological evidence to support your suggestion.
  • Brief evaluation of your suggestion.

To get full marks you will have to show that all your suggestions apply apposite psychological knowledge explicitly to the issues raised. The suggestions should be from at least two different areas of psychology and show perspective, understanding and evaluation of the issue in question.

One way to help Peter move away from his aggressive behaviour might be to use cognitive behavioural treatment which could reinforce positive behaviour and show the negative consequences of aggressive behaviour. Belcher, Higgins and Ogley’s (2001) research provided support for the idea that CBT can be an effective remedy to learned aggressive behaviour. By providing Peter with CBT we can ensure that the he realises that the violent behaviour isn’t ‘normal’ or accepted. It could also give the children alternative ways of dealing with anger and aggression. However, there are massive individual differences in the effectiveness of CBT and the patient has to be co-operative for it to be successful.

Remember: the total word count (excluding references) is 1,000. Don’t go over this – it is very hard not to so you will have to be concise and summarise down your ideas well.

Any study that you talk about in the study will need to be put in the references so make sure that you write down, print out or just keep a record of where you get all the studies from.

It’s difficult but the most important thing is that you need to FIND a study that fits – don’t just MAKE a study fit.

6 Responses to “The Rough Guide to Writing the Assignment”

  1. Kelly Barrow July 23, 2008 at 9:05 pm #

    This was really helpful!
    i didnt understand the assignment at all until i read this an now i feel i know what im doing
    x x x

  2. Sara K January 13, 2009 at 6:11 pm #

    OMG this actually saved my life!
    thank you x

  3. H P February 25, 2009 at 3:26 pm #


  4. Clowance March 5, 2009 at 9:36 pm #

    This was really useful and a great base to start writing my assignment. It was better than many other sites as it gave an example of exactly what we have to do. Absolutely Brilliant =] Thank you


  5. Alec Coleman March 9, 2009 at 12:52 pm #

    this was great,
    do you think you could post the references as i am using “Belcher, Higgins and Ogley’s (2001) research” and cannot find the reference. That would be a great help. cheers .

  6. Hayley March 18, 2009 at 2:21 pm #

    im still struggling!! can any1 email me nd help?? im doing the article about the 8yr old boy who shot his dad and his friend from ABC news website, i need help!!!

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