Essay Instructions

Essay Instructions


In General Psychology, you will write several essays throughout the term.  For each essay you will answer a question about the week’s topic(s), writing in a way that is engaging and furthers discussion on the topic. Use the guidelines below to write a substantive essay:


  1. Each essay must include at least 400 words. 


  1. While meeting the word count is important, it is possible to write an essay that is long enough, but not substantive enough to earn full credit.  The second criteria of a good essay is including a clear and substantial answer to the prompt.  When preparing your essay, ask yourself, 
  • Does my essay answer the question or questions being posed? 
  • Does it clearly answer all parts of the question, supported by course materials?


  1. When answering the essay question, it is important to use concepts, research, and/or theories from the week’s material to support your thoughts.  A good essay will:
    • Offer a thoughtful response on the topic being discussed, and 
    • Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the topic by using material from the resources provided for that week in your answer. Using anecdotes or personal experiences are not as substantial or scholarly as using research and/or theory to advance the discussion.


  1. A good essay offers something new and fresh.  
    • Avoid simply answering the question with a simple response or reiteration of what the textbook says. 
    • Present information in a way that advances thought on the topic and shows a clear understanding of and reflection on the material.  
    • Demonstrate your knowledge by presenting facts.
    • Demonstrate your understanding by providing practical application.
    • This does not mean that you write and write and write, but rather that you present a thought-filled and reflective essay that addresses the question being asked in a way that demonstrates a true depth of understanding of the week’s material.  


  1. A good essay is written in a scholarly way. Each essay:
  • Is free of grammatical and spelling errors,
  • Uses current APA format (Student Standards),
  • Includes in-text citations and a reference section,
  • Includes an APA-formatted title page,
  • Demonstrates a solid understanding of course concepts by using scholarly sources rather than personal experience or anecdotes.


Please review the grading rubric prior to writing your first essay to determine what is expected.


Each essay is due by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Monday of the assigned module/week.

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