What makes a good answer to an essay or an exam question?
It is important that you adhere to the word limit for the essay, and meet the
deadline, and type it (preferably double-spaced). We expect essays and
exam answers to be grammatically correct. Please proof read your work for
typing and spelling mistakes. Spelling and grammatical errors will lower
your grade. If you struggle with writing, do get support from ILRS,
Language and Learning Support and the other services available to you.
It is important for you to understand that there is not one  position , or a
 party line to which you must adhere to get a good grade in an essay or an
exam. Rather we are looking for your ability to critically discuss the issues,
and develop an argument in a lucid and concise way. Furthermore, to gain a
good grade you should demonstrate familiarity with the key issues raised in
the module, and evidence of wide reading around the subject.
Higher grades will be awarded if you demonstrate the use of a wide range of
relevant literature to justify your arguments. Students who use up-to-date
references and show evidence of appropriate background reading will be
rewarded. Please ensure that you reference your work using a consistent and
accepted format, such as we use in this handbook. It is essential that you
reference work cited in your essay. The authors surnames and the year of
the publication should appear in your essay. For example, if you have drawn
on something that is in the Kring, Davison, Neale & Johnson textbook, you
should put the following in your actual answer: (Kring, Davison, Neale &
Johnson, 2007). The full reference, i.e. Kring A.M., Davison G.C., Neale
J.M. & Johnson S.L. (2007). Abnormal Psychology (10th edition). New
York: Wiley, should go at the end of your essay in your list of references.
Full details of references used must be included at the end of your work.
The way the references are written will vary according to the type of
material used, e.g. journal articles are referenced in a different way to
books. If you consult our reference lists in this handbook you will find many
examples. Incorrect referencing may affect your grades.
In keeping with university policy we cannot condone any form of plagiarism
and this will be followed up as soon as it is detected. Please do not be
inhibited about using journal articles, just ensure that if you paraphrase or
directly quote from an article or book that you acknowledge this
appropriately. Marks will be awarded for those who consider complex and
sensitive issues of gender, ethnicity and culture in their construction of an
argument. It will not be possible to read drafts of your essays but you can
discuss your essays in the duty hour of the tutor for this module.
Please use non-racist, non-sexist language in your written material.
Psychologists have made a substantial contribution to documenting sexism and
racism in the structure and use of the English language. Language may be
interpreted as sexist and/or ethnically biased. Styles and preferences for nouns
referring to ethnic groups constantly change over time. Everyone belongs to an
ethnic group whether they are, in a given context, members of an ethnic
majority or an ethnic minority. In some cases, even members of a group
disagree about the preferred name at a specific time (Psychologist 2001). You
should try to find out the most acceptable current terms and use them. For
example it is generally preferable to refer to  black people , not  blacks .
These terms are not fixed and vary between countries, but this does not mean
that we should not be sensitive to the issues.  Black people can refer to people
of African, Afro/African-American, Afro-Caribbean or South Asian etc.
Research has refuted the belief that gender-specific terms are invariably
interpreted by the reader as generic, and in particular, that the male form
includes the female. These and other conventions have been shown to reflect
and reinforce sex-role stereotypes, and the weight of the evidence is sufficient
to justify the effort entailed in writing in a gender-neutral way. Please avoid
using sex-specific forms generically (as recommended by the BPS). While it
is usually easy to substitute nouns, pronouns are more difficult because of the
absence of neutral terms. Possible strategies for coping with this include using
plurals, e.g. he/they; his/their, him/them; using both male and female
pronouns, e.g. he/she, him/her. Pronouns can sometimes be deleted, e.g. the
participant completed his task/the participant completed the task. Sentences
can be rephrased, e.g.  when the subject arrived he was asked to  on arrival
the participant was asked to .
(i) Try to avoid making sex-stereotyped assumptions about people, their
abilities, attitudes and relationships.
(ii) Try to avoid specifying the sex of the referent unless it is relevant.
Reading and research
The library may not have copies of all the key journal articles, so it is a good
idea to put your request in for inter-library loans in good time. You may
want to form small study groups and share articles and books between you.
Make it a habit to browse through relevant journals which are held in the
library, such as:
1. British Journal of Clinical Psychology
2. British Journal of Medical Psychology (section on counselling
3. British Journal of Psychiatry
4. British Journal of Psychotherapy
5. International Journal of Psychoanalysis
6. Journal of Abnormal Psychology
7. Journal of Child Psychotherapy
8. Journal of Family Therapy
9. Current Opinion in Psychiatry
10. Journal of Family Therapy
11. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
12. Journal of Mental Health UK
Written work is always enhanced by reference to papers published in the
last five years. In order to achieve high grades you will need to show
evidence of extensive and up-to-date research. The easiest way to do this is
to get into an electronic database such as PsycINFO on a Middlesex
computer. If you go to the learning resources link on the Middlesex
university homepage (http://ac.uk), this will give you the links
to electronic resources which provide you with a list of the databases
including PsycINFO. You will need your user name and Athens password to
access PsycINFO.
If you do not know how to access these resources please ask one of your
peers or a librarian to help you.
To maximise your learning and enjoyment of this module, we expect each
student to do a minimum of a good half-day (4 hours) of solid reading
around the subject every week. It is essential to read the case study and
article at the back of this handbook before going into a seminar, so that you
can have a chance to think about it and prepare for it.
We do not recommend one book for this module, as there is not one book that
covers the module fully. We appreciate the high costs of buying books, and
recommend that you get as much of your reading as you can from the library. If
you want to buy only one book, we recommend you buy either Kring A.M.,
Davison G.C., Neale J.M. & Johnson S.L. (2007). Abnormal Psychology (10th
edition). New York: Wiley or Bennett, P. (2003). Abnormal and Clinical
Psychology. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Barlow, D.H. & Durand, M.V. (2002). Abnormal Psychology. An Integrative
Approach (3rd edition). Belmont: Wadsworth.
Bateman, A. & Holmes, J. (1995). Introduction to Psychoanalysis:
Contemporary Theory and Practice. London: Routledge.
Bennett, P. (2003). Abnormal and Clinical Psychology. Maidenhead: Open
University Press.
Freud, S. (1991). Two Short Accounts of Psycho-Analysis. Five
Lectures on Psychoanalysis. The Question of Lay Analysis. London:
Penguin. (read the Five Lectures)
Kring A.M., Davison G.C., Neale J.M. & Johnson S.L. (2007). Abnormal
Psychology (10th edition). New York: Wiley.
Beck, A.T. (1989). Cognitive Therapy and the Emotional Disorders. London: Penguin.
Beck, A., Rush, J., Shaw, B. & Emery, E. (1987