Hoose one from the three titles (Critical essay)

The essay will be based primarily upon material covered in weeks 1-4 and should be no more than 2000 words in length. In line with the University regulations (see course handbook), essays which exceed this word limit by more than 10% will be subject to a penalty of 10% (i.e. 10 marks). You must accurately state the word count on the front of the essay cover sheet (and remember that you sign a declaration on the cover sheet to say that you have completed your work within the university guidelines so stating the word count incorrectly is a form of fraud).

You have to base your essay on ONE of the following questions/essay titles:

1. Critically discuss the a?contemporary preoccupation with matters inside peopleas headsa in mainstream psychology (Gough & McFadden, 2001: 22). Use examples to illustrate and justify your points.

You may wish to consider the following:

a? According to critical psychologists (amongst others), what are the problems/limitations of social cognitive explanations of behaviour?
a? Can you think of specific examples to illustrate these problems/limitations (i.e. social cognitive explanations of particular behaviours that do not adequately explain those behaviours)?
a? How can/do more critical approaches address these problems/limitations?

2. Critically discuss realism within psychology.

You may wish to consider the following:

In psychology, where we study people and behaviour rather than objects:
a? What might be the problems/limitations of making realist assumptions?
a? In what ways might making realist assumptions be useful/beneficial?
a? What are the strengths/weaknesses of other sets of epistemological assumptions (e.g. relativist, idealist, critical realist)?

3. Critically discuss the extent to which psychology as a discipline can be considered to be a) scientific and b) objective/value-free. Make sure that you discuss both parts of this essay question and use examples to illustrate and justify your points.

You may wish to consider the following:

a? What makes a discipline, theory or piece of research scientific?
a? Do psychology, psychological theory and/or psychological research meet these criteria?
a? To what extent does psychology as a discipline reflect particular values?
a? In what ways might values shape the production of psychological knowledge and can you think of specific examples?
a? Is value-free research something we should strive for as psychologists?

Referencing Requirements: