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10 Great Essay Writing Tips

how to start essay in psychology

Knowing how to write a college essay is a useful skill for anyone who plans to go to college. Most colleges and universities ask you to submit a writing sample with your application. As a student, you’ll also write essays in your courses. Impress your professors with your knowledge and skill by using these great essay writing tips.

Prepare to Answer the Question

Most college essays ask you to answer a question or synthesize information you learned in class. Review notes you have from lectures, read the recommended texts and make sure you understand the topic. You should refer to these sources in your essay.

how to start essay in psychology

Plan Your Essay

Many students see planning as a waste of time, but it actually saves you time. Take a few minutes to think about the topic and what you want to say about it. You can write an outline, draw a chart or use a graphic organizer to arrange your ideas. This gives you a chance to spot problems in your ideas before you spend time writing out the paragraphs.

Choose a Writing Method That Feels Comfortable

You might have to type your essay before turning it in, but that doesn’t mean you have to write it that way. Some people find it easy to write out their ideas by hand. Others prefer typing in a word processor where they can erase and rewrite as needed. Find the one that works best for you and stick with it.

how to start essay in psychology

View It as a Conversation

Writing is a form of communication, so think of your essay as a conversation between you and the reader. Think about your response to the source material and the topic. Decide what you want to tell the reader about the topic. Then, stay focused on your response as you write.

how to start essay in psychology

Provide the Context in the Introduction

If you look at an example of an essay introduction, you’ll see that the best essays give the reader a context. Think of how you introduce two people to each other. You share the details you think they will find most interesting. Do this in your essay by stating what it’s about and then telling readers what the issue is.

how to start essay in psychology

Explain What Needs to be Explained

Sometimes you have to explain concepts or define words to help the reader understand your viewpoint. You also have to explain the reasoning behind your ideas. For example, it’s not enough to write that your greatest achievement is running an ultra marathon. You might need to define ultra marathon and explain why finishing the race is such an accomplishment.

how to start essay in psychology

Answer All the Questions

After you finish writing the first draft of your essay, make sure you’ve answered all the questions you were supposed to answer. For example, essays in compare and contrast format should show the similarities and differences between ideas, objects or events. If you’re writing about a significant achievement, describe what you did and how it affected you.

how to start essay in psychology

Stay Focused as You Write

Writing requires concentration. Find a place where you have few distractions and give yourself time to write without interruptions. Don’t wait until the night before the essay is due to start working on it.

how to start essay in psychology

Read the Essay Aloud to Proofread

When you finish writing your essay, read it aloud. You can do this by yourself or ask someone to listen to you read it. You’ll notice places where the ideas don’t make sense, and your listener can give you feedback about your ideas.

how to start essay in psychology

Avoid Filling the Page with Words

A great essay does more than follow an essay layout. It has something to say. Sometimes students panic and write everything they know about a topic or summarize everything in the source material. Your job as a writer is to show why this information is important.


how to start essay in psychology

Essay Writing Guide for Psychology Students

Saul Mcleod, PhD

Educator, Researcher

BSc (Hons) Psychology, MRes, PhD, University of Manchester

Saul Mcleod, Ph.D., is a qualified psychology teacher with over 18 years experience of working in further and higher education.

Learn about our Editorial Process

Olivia Guy-Evans

Associate Editor for Simply Psychology

BSc (Hons), Psychology, MSc, Psychology of Education

Olivia Guy-Evans is a writer and associate editor for Simply Psychology. She has previously worked in healthcare and educational sectors.

Before you write your essay it’s important to analyse the task and understand exactly what the essay question is asking. It is possible your lecturer will give you some advice – pay attention to this as it will help you plan your answer.

Next conduct preliminary reading based on your lecture notes. At this stage it’s not crucial to have a robust understanding of key theories or studies, but you should at least have a general “gist” of the literature.

After reading, plan a response to the task. This plan could be in the form of a mind map, a summary table, or by writing a core statement (which encompass the entire argument of your essay in just a few sentences).

After writing your plan conduct supplementary reading and refine your plan and make it more detailed.

It is tempting to skip these preliminary steps and just write the first draft while reading at the same time. However, reading and planning will make the essay writing process easier, quicker, and ensure a higher quality essay is produced.

Now let us look at what constitutes a good essay in psychology. There are a number of important features.

Each paragraph should comprise a main theme which are illustrated and developed through a number of points (supported by evidence).

In the main body of the essay every paragraph should demonstrate both knowledge and critical evaluation.

There should also be an appropriate balance between these two essay components. Try to aim for about a 60/40 split if possible. Most students make the mistake of writing too much knowledge and not enough evaluation (which is the difficult bit).

It is best to structure your essay according to key themes. Themes are illustrated and developed through a number of points (supported by evidence). Choose relevant points only, ones that most reveal the theme or help to make a convincing and interesting argument.

essay structure example

Knowledge and Understanding

Remember that an essay is simply a discussion / argument on paper. Don”t make the mistake of writing all the information you know regarding a particular topic.

You need to be concise, and clearly articulate your argument. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences.

Each paragraph should have a purpose / theme, and make a number of points – which need to be support by high quality evidence. Be clear why each point is is relevant to the argument. It would be useful at the beginning of each paragraph if you explicitly outlined the theme being discussed (.e.g. cognitive development, social development etc.).

Try not to overuse quotations in your essays. It is more appropriate to use original content to demonstrate your understanding.

Psychology is a science so you must support your ideas with evidence (not your own personal opinion). If you are discussing a theory or research study make sure you cite the source of the information.

Note this is not the author of a textbook you have read – but the original source / author(s) of the theory or research study.

For example:

Bowlby (1951) claimed that mothering is almost useless if delayed until after two and a half to three years and, for most children, if delayed till after 12 months, i.e. there is a critical period.
Maslow (1943) stated that people are motivated to achieve certain needs. When one need is fulfilled a person seeks to fullfil the next one, and so on.

As a general rule make sure there is at least one citation (i.e. name of psychologist and date of publication) in each paragraph.

Remember to answer the essay question. Underline the key words in the essay title. Don”t make the mistake of simply writing everything you know of a particular topic, be selective. Each paragraph in your essay should contribute to answering the essay question.

Critical Evaluation

In simple terms this means outlining the strengths and limitations of a theory or research study.

There are many ways you can critically evaluate:

Is the study valid / reliable ? Is the sample biased or can we generalize the findings to other populations? What are the strengths and limitations of the method used and data obtained?

Be careful to ensure that any methodological criticisms are justified and not trite. Rather than hunting for weaknesses in every study; only highlight limitations which make you doubt the conclusions that the authors have drawn – e.g. where an alternative explanation might be equally likely because something hasn’t been adequately controlled.

Outline how the theories are similar and how they differ. This could be two (or more) theories of personality / memory / child development etc. Also try to communicate the value of the theory / study.

Refer to debates such as nature or nurture, reductionism vs. holism or the perspectives in psychology . For example, would they agree or disagree with a theory or the findings of the study?

Does a study involve ethical issues such as deception, privacy, psychological and physical harm.

If research is biased towards men or women it does not provide a clear view of the behavior that has been studied. A dominantly male perspective is known as an androcentric bias.

Is the theory / study ethnocentric? Psychology is predominantly a white, Euro-American enterprise. In some texts, over 90% of studies have US participants, who are predominantly white and middle class. Does the theory or study being discussed judge other cultures by Western standards?

This raises the issue of whether it’s morally and/or scientifically right to use animals. The main criterion is that benefits must outweigh costs. But benefits are almost always to humans and costs to animals.

Animal research also raises the issue of extrapolation. Can we generalize from studies on animals to humans as their anatomy & physiology is different from humans?

The PEC System

It is very important to elaborate on your evaluation. Don”t just write a shopping list of brief (one or two sentence) evaluation points. Instead make sure you expand on your points, remember, quality of evaluation is most important than quantity.

When you are writing an evaluation paragraph use the PEC system.

For Example

( Point ) It is argued that psychoanalytic therapy is only of benefit to an articulate, intelligent, affluent minority.

( Explain ) Because psychoanalytic therapy involves talking and gaining insight, and is costly and time-consuming, it is argued that it is only of benefit to an articulate, intelligent, affluent minority. Evidence suggests psychoanalytic therapy works best if the client is motivated and has a positive attitude.

( Consequences ) A depressed client’s apathy, flat emotional state and lack of motivation limit the appropriateness of psychoanalytic therapy for depression. Furthermore, the levels of dependency of depressed clients mean that transference is more likely to develop.

Using Research Studies in your Essays

Research studies can either be knowledge or evaluation.

Writing an Introduction

It is often best to write your introduction when you have finished the main body of the essay, so that you have a good understanding to the topic area.

If there is a word count for your essay try to devote 10% of this to your introduction.

Ideally the introduction should;

Identify the subject of the essay and define the key terms. Highlight the major issues which “lie behind” the question. Let the reader know how you will focus your essay by identifying the main themes to be discussed. “Signpost” the essay’s key argument, (and, if possible, how this argument is structured).

Introductions are very important as first impressions count and they can create a h alo effect in the mind of the lecturer grading your essay. If you start off well then you are more likely to be forgiven for the odd mistake later one.

Writing a Conclusion

So many students either forget to write a conclusion or fail to give it the attention it deserves.

If there is a word count for your essay try to devote 10% of this to your conclusion.

Ideally the conclusion should summarize the key themes / arguments of your essay. State the take home message – don’t sit on the fence, instead weigh up the evidence presented in the essay and make a decision which side of the argument has more support.

Also, you might like to suggest what future research may need to be conducted and why (read the discussion section of journal articles for this).

Don”t include new information / arguments (only information discussed in the main body of the essay).

If you are unsure of what to write read the essay question and answer it in one paragraph.

Points that unite or embrace several themes can be used to great effect as part of your conclusion.

The Importance of Flow

Obviously, what you write is important, but how you communicate your ideas / arguments has a significant influence on your overall grade. Most students may have similar information / content in their essays, but the better students communicate this information concisely and articulately.

When you have finished the first draft of your essay you must check if it “flows”. This is an important feature of quality of communication (along with spelling and grammar).

This means that the paragraphs follow a logical order (like the chapters in a novel). Have a global structure with themes arranged in a way that allows for a logical sequence of ideas. You might want to rearrange (cut and paste) paragraphs to a different position in your essay if they don”t appear to fit in with the essay structure.

To improve the flow of your essay make sure the last sentence of one paragraph links to first sentence of the next paragraph. This will help the essay flow and make it easier to read.

Finally, only repeat citations when it is unclear which study / theory you are discussing. Repeating citations unnecessarily disrupts the flow of an essay.


The reference section is the list of all the sources cited in the essay (in alphabetical order). It is not a bibliography (a list of the books you used).

In simple terms every time you cite/refer to a name (and date) of a psychologist you need to reference the original source of the information.

If you have been using textbooks this is easy as the references are usually at the back of the book and you can just copy them down. If you have been using websites then you may have a problem as they might not provide a reference section for you to copy.

References need to be set out APA style :

Author, A. A. (year). Title of work . Location: Publisher.

Journal Articles

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (year). Article title. Journal Title, volume number (issue number), page numbers

A simple way to write your reference section is use Google scholar . Just type the name and date of the psychologist in the search box and click on the “cite” link.

how to start essay in psychology

Next, copy and paste the APA reference into the reference section of your essay.

apa reference

Once again remember that references need to be in alphabetical order according to surname.

Memory & Education Blog

A blog about education, psychology, and the links between the two.

How to Write a Psychology Essay

how to start essay in psychology

Image source: Unsplash

In most psychology and related courses, learners are expected to write short essays or extended exam-style answers about research studies or theories. I want to share some tips about how to structure this type of essay.

It will be especially useful if you are a student in your final years of school (e.g. A-Level, AP, Higher), as well as for college and university students.


The most common way of structuring an essay is to base it around three parts — an introduction, main body, and conclusion. I suggest that you stick that structure! It works well, and is also what a marker will be expecting to see.

At the same time, you should remember that this structure is only a foundation. Each of the sections will need to be tweaked to fit the needs of each particular essay.

Overall, the introduction sets the scene, and tells the reader (or marker) all of the background that they need to know before you really get started with the topic. The main section is where you really delve into the particular topic, including arguments for or against an idea, while the conclusion is where you sum up this argument and identify issues that rise. I’ll now explain each of these in turn.


There are several things that should be included in a good introduction. It should state the aim of the essay, and provide enough background information to put the main issue into context.

For example, in an essay analysing the Asch (1951) study of conformity , you might begin by explaining the key context around conformity and social psychology at the time, defining some terms (especially what is meant by ‘conformity’) and giving relevant quotes and references. For example, you could point out that social processes at the time were viewed mainly in terms of individuals’ thoughts and feelings, but that Asch and others argued that social behaviour is more than the sum of its (individual) parts.

Your introduction could also give a very brief synopsis of the study itself, without going into lots of methodological details. Finally, your introduction should usually state the goal of the essay, along the lines of: “in this essay, I will argue that the Asch study is flawed.”


The main body of your essay will be the majority of the piece in terms of word count. It is often divided into a further three subsections — for the issue, against the issue, and ‘on balance’ — but this does depend on the essay topic. In a short essay, three paragraphs might work well, but in longer essays, each of these parts will need to be expanded further.

Let’s imagine a short essay evaluating the classic Milgram (1963) study of obedience , for example. Here, your introduction will already have briefly summarised the study. A good structure for the main body might be:

• A paragraph supporting the study. This will give details, but will not be purely descriptive. Instead, you should use facts about the study to support an argument for its strengths. For example, you might point out that this study was the first of its kind, that it has been hugely influential, and that notwithstanding its ethical issues, it appears that the participants took the task seriously and believed in what they were doing, increasing the validity of the findings.

• A paragraph criticising the study. Here, you will present the other side of the argument (weaknesses). Again, you should use facts to build an argument. So don’t say things like, “this was a lab study, and therefore artificial”. That would simply be stating a fact. Instead, explain what this means in terms of the findings. A better comment would be: “Milgram’s study was a lab experiment. This meant that it was artificial, and we have to question how realistic the situation is when compared to everyday life. Granted, there are historical examples of people committing atrocities because they were ordered to do so by an authority figure. But in everyday life, it is very uncommon for a civilian to be ordered to give a deadly shock to a complete stranger. Outside of an experimental situation, it is entirely possible that most people would refuse such an order.”

• A paragraph weighing up the strengths and weaknesses. Taking into account further facts about the study as well as broader research ideas, this section allows you to present counterpoints to some of the arguments raised so far, and try to balance the discussion. It therefore sets up the final conclusion of your essay.


Your essay’s conclusion should re-emphasise the main points you have made so far, and will also reflect back on the original aim of the essay. This allows you to show that what you have been talking about does indeed meet your aims, and that you have successfully answered the question (or fulfilled the task).

For example, an essay discussing the methodology of the research by Pozzulo et al (2011) into eyewitness memory might state something like: “In this essay, I have explained how the experimental methodology of the essay distinguished it from previous research…”

Of course, no essay will completely resolve an ongoing scientific debate. You therefore might choose to raise further issues that are unresolved here, or highlight alternative views, using terms like ‘however’, and ‘on the other hand’, or ‘it shouldn’t be forgotten that…’.

A strong ending will reinforce the main point, linking in to the original stated aim of the essay, e.g. “On the whole, though, the Pozzulo et al (2011) study demonstrates why experimental methodology is so important if we are to understand the processes at work when eyewitnesses try to remember faces that they have seen.”


Overall, the 3-part essay structure is a coherent basis for writing essays, suitable for students at all levels. Even a lengthier essay (for example the 3000-word essays that my Masters students write about theories of learning) is completed in more or less the same way, with each of the three parts proportionally longer, and subdivided where necessary.

In fact, this blog post is following a similar structure, too. The first four paragraphs formed an introduction to what I was talking about. I then had a main body with three subsections (the three sections of the essay), and you have now reached my conclusion section!

The reason that this structure works so well is that the introduction and conclusion serve to put the main information into context and to comment on what it means. They also mirror each other — the end reflects back on what was said at the beginning. A similar format is used in storytelling, and people respond well to writing where everything seems to fit together and make sense.

At the same time, remember that every essay is different. Make sure that you check the guidelines for your own essay carefully. Refer to the marking criteria (if available), and if anything is unclear, discuss the requirements with your teacher/lecturer.

Good luck with your essay writing :)

Originally published on my Medium page here.


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A Guide On Writing a Psychology Essay

The best way to deal with the "how to write an essay for psychology" question is to actually define a narrow area you would want to delve into and research. It is quite a fascinating paper for those students who major in psychology. Of course, you must carry out research before moving to the paper drafting phase. It is called an "essay," however, there can be some slight differences compared to other types of essays.

The most exciting part is that students who attend courses like abnormal psychology may be asked to write a paper on a scenario they once encountered or one that they can think of and recreate in detail. Often, it's better to try getting a thorough understanding of the essay requirements before diving into writing to avoid going off-point.

Psychology Essay Writing Guidelines

Before you sit to write a psychology essay, make sure you read the requirements and a question set thoroughly and understood what is required of you. If you can answer what's asked and required of you, you can start writing a draft. The easy way to gain the understanding is to identify and mark the keywords (such as evaluate, discuss, etc.) as they will guide and continuously remind you as you are writing.

As a student already studying psychology, you probably have knowledge on the subject, but it is essential to expand it through some journal articles, textbooks, news, the Internet, etc.

An essay on psychology presupposes carrying out substantial research on the topic. You should not just gather the relevant information: your task is to read it, assess it and critically evaluate the material to be able to use it in your essay. If psychology isn't your major, it's okay to consider it difficult enough to write an essay on this discipline. You didn't spend much time studying it, so it's essential for you to lack the understanding of the human mind, consciousness, and the way they work.

Essay On Psychology: Structure Guidelines

Whatever essay type you need to write, a standard or core structure should be used in your writing. It consists of the intro, body, and the final part - a conclusion. Following this structure is an excellent way to write a psychology essay: your reader will have a better understanding of your paper's main ideas and thoughts. In addition, it is an order the audience should follow when going through your writing. A five-paragraph structure is the most popular one, however, in this type of paper, you may have even more sections because everything depends on the number of arguments and points you are ready to provide.

Formatting Your Psychology Essay In APA

There are different styles that a student can choose to format the psychology paper. The format used for this type is called APA and is the one that most students should use.

If the essay is five pages or more, the APA format requires it to be divided into the following segments:

The citation should, by all means, follow the set of rules as information that is wrongly referenced may lead to plagiarism and also result in marks lost. The student is to be careful in their writing, and also below are some things to note in APA text citation:

If you are not paraphrasing, it is imperative to write the page number in quotes.

If you are not sure about getting this format correctly, do not go for the APA citation generators, as it will be substandard. Instead, it will be advisable to use the professional writers to check if your work is written accordingly to the required format.

Psychology Essay: Tips On Writing an Introduction

The introduction is the first paragraph of your paper, and its significance is huge. This section lets your readers understand what the paper is about. The task of the writer here is to summarize the background information and help the audience understand the value of the paper.

Remember that the end of your introduction should have a thesis statement - it's often considered the main sentence of the whole paper. It may be two to three sentences that are important to the audience, which will tell the main ideas of your paper.

It could be more meaningful to write the introduction after you finish the body because then you will have your main points clearly written. However, the choice is up to the writer.

Psychology Essay: Tackling Body Paragraphs

Every paragraph should be on a different concept or idea. You begin each by introducing an idea and then explain or develop it with some facts and examples. Remember that if you are actually telling the readers the information they haven't heard before, it shouldn't be your mere opinion but vivid evidence from your research.

The Secret of Crafting a Conclusion For Your Psychology Paper

The ideas and thoughts you mention in the main sections must be summarized in this final part. Note that the thesis statement should be paraphrased and restated to avoid repetition. The conclusion is more or less the same length as the introduction.

Good Psychology Essay Topics

Selecting the winning topic is extremely important because it allows you to maintain proper focus and comply with your professor's instructions. Let's take a look at some interesting ideas for psychology essay topics:

Sometimes, researching a good topic can be even more frustrating than writing a psychology paper itself, especially if you're dealing with a multifaceted discipline like psychology. Students need to decide which psychology branch they would like to focus on, and it's very easy for them to lose their bearings in such a diverse environment. They should invest a lot of time and effort into researching so they don't have any difficulty organizing and structuring information in their research topic. Please, keep in mind that writing a research paper also requires students to do a lot of reading and carry out extensive fieldwork.

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How to Write an Introduction for a Psychology Paper

Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.

how to start essay in psychology

Emily is a board-certified science editor who has worked with top digital publishing brands like Voices for Biodiversity,, GoodTherapy, Vox, and Verywell.

how to start essay in psychology

The purpose of an introduction in a psychology paper is to justify the reasons for writing about your topic. Your goal in this section is to introduce the topic to the reader, provide an overview of previous research on the topic, and identify your own hypothesis . 

Before you begin:

Start Your Psychology Paper Introduction by Researching Your Topic

Search a journal database, such as PsychInfo or ERIC, to find articles on your subject. Once you have located an article, look at the reference section to locate other studies cited in the article. As you take notes from these articles, be sure to write down where you found the information.

A simple note detailing the author's name, journal, and date of publication can help you keep track of sources and avoid plagiarism.

Create a Detailed Outline

This is often one of the most boring and onerous steps, so students tend to skip outlining and go straight to writing. Creating an outline might seem tedious, but it can be an enormous time-saver down the road and will make the writing process much easier. Start by looking over the notes you made during the research process and consider how you want to present all of your ideas and research.

Introduce the Topic

Once you are ready to write your introduction, your first task is to provide a brief description of the research question. What is the experiment or study attempting to demonstrate? What phenomena are you studying? Provide a brief history of your topic and explain how it relates to your current research.

As you are introducing your topic, consider what makes it important. Why should it matter to your reader? The goal of your introduction is not only to let your reader know what your paper is about, but also to justify why it is important for them to learn more.

If your paper tackles a controversial subject and is focused on resolving the issue, it is important to summarize both sides of the controversy in a fair and impartial way. Consider how your paper fits in with the relevant research on the topic.

Summarize Previous Research

The second task of your introduction is to provide a well-rounded summary of previous research that is relevant to your topic. So, before you begin to write this summary, it is important to research your topic thoroughly.

Finding appropriate sources amid thousands of journal articles can be a daunting task, but there are several steps you can take to simplify your research. If you have completed the initial steps of researching and keeping detailed notes, writing your introduction will come much easier.

It is important to give the reader a good overview of the historical context of the issue you are writing about, but do not feel like you have to provide an exhaustive review of the subject. Focus on hitting the main points, and try to include the most relevant studies. You might describe the findings of previous research and then explain how the current study differs or expands upon earlier research.

Provide Your Hypothesis

Once you have summarized the previous research, explain areas where the research is lacking or potentially flawed. What is missing from previous studies on your topic? What research questions have yet to be answered? Your hypothesis should lead to these questions.

At the end of your introduction, offer your hypothesis and describe what you expected to find in your experiment or study.

Tips for Writing Your Psychology Paper Intro

American Psychological Association. Information Recommended for Inclusion in Manuscripts That Report New Data Collections Regardless of Research Design . Published 2020.

By Kendra Cherry Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.

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Writing a Psychology Essay: A Complete Guide

Many college freshmen don’t take essays seriously, associating them with assignments they used to write in high school. However, despite having the same name they are quite different. In high school, you could have gotten by summarizing a chapter from your textbook and throwing in a few original thoughts.

A college essay is as serious a research assignment as a dissertation – just on a smaller scale. You should demonstrate that you have understood the material, analyzed it and reached your own conclusions. In other words, don’t retell someone else’s knowledge but transform it.

In this psychology essay writing guide, we will tell how exactly it is done, step by step.

Pre-Writing Tips

Choice of topic.

If you are assigned with a topic by your professor you will not have to deal with this stage at all. Only in case you are assigned a topic but don’t like it, you should ask your professor if it can be changed or modified. If you provide good reasons the decision may be in your favor; If you are given some freedom, choose a topic that will show your knowledge and abilities in the most favorable light.

As for more specific ideas, try these:

Try a quicker way

Reinterpret the Title/Question

The most important factor in your essay’s grade is whether you’ve managed to answer the question set in the topic. However, this shouldn’t be treated literally. If, for example, your topic is “Common Causes of Bullying in Middle School”, you shouldn’t just enumerate some factors that are commonly considered as such causes. You should evaluate the information available on the subject critically, review and discuss evidence and make your own conclusions. A good rule of a thumb is to rewrite any essay and title adding words “provide critical evaluation of the data” and “with reference to facts and examples”.

Find and Read the Sources

A number of studies suggest a significant correlation between the number of actively used sources and essay grades. When doing your research, make sure that you gather enough sources, but don’t add them purely to bloat your Works Cited page. If a source has no value to your work other than being an extra entry, drop it. Proceed along these lines:

Psychology essays consist of the same parts as any other and follow the same rules. This means that you should let content words from the title/question lead you and organize the material you’ve gathered according to a traditional plan:

Jot down the main points that are to be mentioned in each of body paragraphs and what evidence you will use to support your points.

Psychology Essay Writing Tips


As a student of psychology, you should know about anchoring and adjustment effect: the first impression influences the final assessment. Most markers will form a definite evaluation of your essay after reading the first 1-2 sentences. It is much easier to make a good impression from the get-go than to adjust the first negative impression in positive direction. In other words, if an essay starts off poorly, the marker will be biased against it. And vice versa – if it starts brilliantly, the marker will be more likely to forgive some flaws later on. There is no single right way to write a good introduction, but some practices are universal. It should:

Normally it is best to write the introduction last, when you have the rest of the essay ready.

Body Paragraphs

The main part of the essay where you introduce all the new information, analyze it and try to find out the truth of the matter. This is the part you have most freedom with, but still you have to follow certain principles:

weak body paragraph

When you’re done with body paragraphs, don’t just trail off. Introduction defines the first impression, but it is the conclusion that is fresh in the marker’s memory when he thinks what grade to give you.


Most students write their essays and believe that their job ends there. As a result, their grades often suffer due to mistakes and flaws that could have been corrected through only a superficial revision. Meanwhile, skilled writers spend just as much if not more time rereading, proofreading, correcting and revising their essays than they spent on writing per se. However, it is not the time you spend revising nor the number of revisions but rather how you approach the job.

Unfortunately, most psychology students understand revision as merely checking their writing for grammar and spelling mistakes. However, they mix it up with editing , which is just a part, and the least important one, of revision.

Revision checklist is a list of questions you have to ask yourself when revising the first draft of your essay. Ideally, you should reread your essay at least twice, each time concentrating on different aspects:

Structure and Content Revision

Style Revisions

What Should Be Cut without Hesitation: Our Writers Know for Sure

If you cannot reach your word count with meaningful content, you should do additional research. Filler text not only does a poor job at masking the lack of meaningful content but also can turn into a bad habit that is very hard to break.

And finally – if you find that you don’t like how your essay turns out and still have free time, don’t hesitate to cut entire parts of it or start from scratch. Your purpose here is not to get rid of an assignment but to get the best possible grade – and the more you practice, the more likely you are to impress your tutors!

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How to write a Psychology essay

Info: 1310 words (5 pages) Study Guide Published: 13th May 2020

Reference this

The organisation and process of writing the psychology essay is essentially the same as any other requiring careful planning, comprehensive research, research analysis, and secondary research and analysis before you begin your writing. Once your topic is well researched you can begin outlining and then writing the actual essay. After you write, follow-up steps include review and editing .  

How the psychology essay is different than others

Psychology essays are more likely to query your understanding of a specific reaction or situation your instructor is emphasising; for example the role genetics play when combined with environmental issues related to the two hit theory of schizophrenia by assigning an essay on the neurological antecedents associated with schizophrenia. Psychological essays are also more likely to ask for your interpretation and opinion in addition to citing literature and relating its applicability to the topic than mathematics or physics essays.  

The first paragraph of your essay is an important one. You need to get your reader’s attention and drawn them into the topic you’re writing about. Use of statistics related to a problem, such as the number of people with learning disabilities, the number of people diagnosed with schizophrenia, etc. can help focus the reader and add a sense of urgency.  

1. Plan your strategy

Pre-planning begins with carefully reading your assignment. Don’t make the mistake of quickly glancing at the topic, picking out key words and going from there. For example, if your assignment is to write an essay on the neurological antecedents associated with schizophrenia don’t just focus on schizophrenia and antecedents or you may end up writing an essay that is not focused and targeted to your assignment. This is also the time to plan your method of attacking the essay; how much time will you need for research, how much time to write the paper, etc.

2. Research and analysis

University library based academic databases are a great start for researching your topic. Most universities have access to such academic psychology databases as PSYCHNET or PSYCInfo. Following your library based research, accessing the internet can provide you with a great wealth of information through such academically based websites as or . Both of these provide access to professionally written articles and/or abstracts published in peer reviewed psychology or related professional journals. The internet is also a great source for researching through access to professional association websites that have special sections on their website for publications and/or links to other respective websites of interest with information to offer.

Highlighting pertinent sections or phrases in the actual journal articles you retrieve will make referencing easier during the writing phase. You are more likely to recall information you’ve keyed into with your highlighted when it comes to organising your essay. Additionally, you will have the information readily available with the appropriate reference.

3. Outlining – is it necessary?

If you are a prolific writer, you may decide to skip this phase. However, for the college essay, preparing an outline serves as a method of organising your work and creating a roadmap. It also assures you stay focused on your topic. Careful preparation of the outline will assure all areas related to the topic are covered properly, keeping like information together. The outline also makes it easier to fill in the rest of the essay as your idea generation essentially takes place for each paragraph as you prepare your outline. As a result, all you have to do in the next step is access your references and fill in more detail on the points you’ve outlined.

4. Writing the paper

As stated above, an outline helps speed the actual writing of the essay. However, for those that have not prepared an outline, the essay flow is important. Typically, the following sections are used with or without appropriate subheadings.

Most psychology essays are requested in APA format developed by the American Psychological Association. Other common formats are Harvard. Make sure you pay proper attention to the formatting requested by your instructor as many educators will deduct points if the format requested is not followed. An ‘A’ essay will suddenly become a B or C depending on the number of formatting infractions.

APA Reference Generator

Harvard Reference Generator

5. Proofread and Edit

Even the best writer must proofread their essay. If you are using a computer, it is recommended that you use an up-to-date spell check set for your language, such as UK English rather than US English which will also checks for grammatical errors. Re-read your essay again after your spell check to assure that you’ve said what it is you really want to say. Don’t write just to fill word count requirements. Make each word meaningful.

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An Ultimate Guide On How To Write A Remarkable And Catchy Psychology Essay Introduction

how to start essay in psychology

Mike Russel

How to write a psychology essay introduction.

Some people state that studentship is one of the most memorable times of your life. Undoubtedly, most young people recall their student years with special devotion. Lots of new friends, multiple exciting projects, and unforgettable events. 

Nevertheless, there are some things they don’t like. Students still need to prepare a huge amount of assignments. Some of them are quite easy and can be completed in several hours. Others require special attention and are time-consuming. 

The majority of students wonder how to find balance in their lives. They don’t know how to cope with the preparation of multiple assignments. They want to know if any tips can help create diverse papers rapidly.

Indeed, there are various recommendations on how to write an essay fast . But it is still challenging to find an article on how to prepare an introduction paragraph for a psychology essay. This type of paper has its peculiarities and requires lots of time and effort.

This article is going to describe the main features of such papers. It will also teach you how to complete an outstanding introduction to a psychology essay.

Let’s start with the definition and main features that will help us get an idea of how to start our psychology essay.

What Are The Main Features Of An Introduction Paragraph For Psychology Essay

how to start essay in psychology

Psychology essays are different from other types of papers. Psychology is a relatively new science that covers almost all spheres of our lives. There are diverse psychological spheres and multiple methods of psychology. It is important to consider them all when completing an essay.

The introduction part of each psychological essay should state the importance of the work. It should also convince readers that your paper can contribute to the field of study.

Although this part doesn’t have any limits, it should contain only relevant information. The best idea is to write this paragraph after finishing the whole paper. Basically, this part presents an overview of your work and explains how you plan to solve the research issues stated in the paper.

There are some useful tips that can help you write a remarkable psychology essay introduction.

The Main Steps For Writing A Remarkable Psychology Essay Introduction

how to start essay in psychology

Let’s look and check what students should do to prepare a good introduction paragraph.

Some students prefer to start writing their papers immediately. They suppose that checking samples is a waste of time and decide to skip this part. But, in reality, it helps you: understand the main features of the type of paper you are working on find out relevant examples and evidence used by other students get used to the language, format, and style of such essays come up with more ideas for your future work We recommend checking several samples before working on your project. Don’t hesitate to write down some thoughts and ideas. But try not to copy any information provided.  Create a plan for your future introduction paragraph. 

Even if it seems that your plan is clear, leave it for a while and keep searching for more information about the topic you are working on. Ensure that you have plenty of relevant facts and examples that you will include in the paper. Share a summary of previous research and cite relevant sources. Find out how you can convince readers that your paper is essential for the field of study. Explain why it is vital to continue the study and how your essay can contribute to solving the issue.

Before writing your introduction paragraph, think about how the whole paper will look. Create an outline and mention what you are going to include in each part of your essay. You need to overview the entire work and state the main points at the beginning. There are plenty of successful psychology essays. Those who write them usually state that there is a trick. The best idea is to write an introduction part only after the whole paper is completed. If you still assume that you need to start with this part, create a draft version and make some adjustments after finishing the essay.

how to start essay in psychology

Hypothesis plays an important role in any type of essay. It should be solid and explicit and explain to readers why the paper is worth attention. Ensure that you place it into your introduction part. Basically, it should briefly explain what you expect to get after completing your experiment or study. 

Lots of students wonder why they spend too much time on their essays but still get bad marks. Unfortunately, some of them skip proofreading and editing. They believe that they have already thoroughly checked their papers while working on them. However, the best idea is to reread your essay and check all the information provided. Moreover, it is essential to pay attention to editing as it ensures you that the essay doesn’t have any grammar or punctuation errors. Luckily, there is a solution if students don’t want to lose their time on these steps. They can check works with the use of modern tools. Or, they can ask for professional help. A considerable amount of writing companies are glad to provide such services for relatively low prices.  Do you feel lost when you need to prepare assignments? Don’t worry and ask for professional paper help. Plenty of students have already chosen this option and continue to procrastinate. They do the things they enjoy and still get good grades as professional writers complete remarkable papers of various types for them. 

All in all, writing a good psychology essay introduction is a challenging task. Students always have two options. They can either prepare it by themselves or ask for professional help. In the first case, they will need to spend too much time doing research and reading tons of samples. But, if they pick the second option, they can also come across some difficulties. 

There are plenty of options nowadays. Many companies provide writing services and suggest help with various papers. However, a huge amount of services suggest high prices or offer low-quality content. Not all companies hire professionals with degrees and certificates. 

But how to pick a service that is worth attention? The best idea is to check customer reviews and determine if a company has a good rating on multiple trusted review sources. For instance, some services offer psychology essay writing help. They have many positive reviews and provide guarantees to the customers. Moreover, students can check some useful writing tips in a blog while waiting for their paper to be ready. 

Only you can choose whether you want to prepare your paper on your own or it is better to ask for assistance. If you are ready to complete an essay, use the tips mentioned above. They will help you create a remarkable paper. 

We recommend you take care of your assignment in advance. Otherwise, you will need to pay extra in case you decide to ask for professional help at the last moment. 

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Table of contents, how to write a psychology essay for university classes, types of psychology essay, psychology essay structure, tips for writing a psychology paper.

Even if you don’t major in psychology or a related field, there’s a good chance that you will take at least one, entry-level psychology course. In fact, ‘Psych 101’is often sought out as an undergraduate elective that isn’t too challenging. In addition to this, many education and business degrees require a psych course. This means that you will likely encounter psychology essay writing at least once. This guide will help you along the way.

When people refer to psychology essays, they are thinking of papers that fall into one of two categories. The first category consists of academic papers. These are psychology essays, research papers, and term papers written on the subject of psychology or other related topics.

The second refers to admissions essays for psychology programs. For example, you might write a psychology essay to gain admission into a graduate degree program in that field.

Psychology essay research may be based on previously published works or on research the student is conducting.

Psychology essay structure infographic

A psychology essay for lower-level courses will use the standard introduction, thesis, body, conclusion structure. However, if you write a psych paper based on your own research or as a review or critique of published literature, the structure will change slightly. In that case, you’ll start with the introduction with a hook and some background information. Then you will tell the reader the specific focus of your paper. 

After that, you will present the research question if you are doing qualitative research. If you are focusing on quantitative research, you will pose a hypothesis. This will be followed by a literature review. Finally, your conclusion will offer a recap of the introduction. It is imperative that your conclusion does not add any new information or questions.

Best psychology essay topics

The most important tip for writing a psychology paper is to carefully choose your research sources . Unfortunately, there is an overabundance of outdated and patently false information available. Verify your facts carefully.

The next tip is to ensure your paper is focused. It’s very easy to allow the scope of your paper to become too broad. When this happens, you will often end up with a paper that lacks depth.

Use the tips above to help you construct an academically sound psychology paper. Then, if you need further assistance, feel free to contact us for help with research, writing, editing, and proofreading.

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