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RESE1171 Academic and Personal Development


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School of Human Sciences

Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences

Summative Essay

Module titleAcademic and Personal Development
Module codeRESE1171
Module leaderDr Rosemary Lobban
Coursework TitleEssay
Weighting (%)100
Submission detailsMoodle
Submission deadline13.12.2021
Return date15 working days after submission date

Coursework Assessment Guidance


1.   Learning outcomes of the assessment

Demonstrate writing skills, literature search and critical thinking appropriate to Level 4.

2.   Rationale for assessment

  • Literature searches and finding articles in paper and electronic journals
  • Scientific communication and writing
  • Referencing and citation skills
  • Evaluating the quality of literature and understanding the contribution made by different sources of knowledge, distinguishing between media-related articles, primary and secondary research sources of knowledge

3.   Instructions

Word length: 1500 words

Your essay should include the following sections (but no subheadings):

  1. Introduction: Provide a brief definition of modern Psychology and how it emerged as an empirical science. Mention the first known laboratory experiments in the field of

Psychology in the 19th century, their authors, and how these experiments contributed to Psychology being acknowledged as an empirical science.

  • Overview of the contribution of behaviourism to modern Psychology: Provide an historical and theoretical overview of behaviourism, considering how it built upon and/or departed from what had come before (outlined in the introduction). Introduce the contributions of key behaviourists in the early 20th century (e.g., Ivan Pavlov, Edward Thorndike, John B. Watson and B. F. Skinner) and indicate how their work contributed to Psychology being acknowledged as an empirical science.
  • Empirical evidence: Describe the experiments conducted by these authors, their main findings, and the theorical approaches that emerged from that evidence. Provide information about what these authors tested (hypotheses), how they tested it (methods), what they found (results), what their conclusions were, and what the limitations and strengths of their studies were.
  • Contribution to the field: Now explain how these authors advanced the empirical field of Psychology from its roots in the 19th century and reflect upon the continuing influence of their work.
  • Conclusion: In relation to the essay question, briefly summarise the aim of your essay and what you conclude with regards to the theory and empirical evidence discussed.


You should include an absolute minimum of six references. At least four of your references need to be from peer-reviewed journals.

Additional guidance


You may find it useful to review your PSYC1031 Introduction to Psychology lectures and lecture notes (particularly Lecture 1: What is Psychology? And Lecture 3: Learning and Conditioning).

Review vs empirical articles

There are two types of articles:

  • review articles summarising many studies for one topic (e.g., relating to a theory)
  • empirical articles that describe studies (e.g., cited in the review article).

Primary vs secondary sources

What’s the difference?

A textbook (secondary source) is a starting point to give you an overview and point you to the original (i.e. primary) sources for theories and studies that you’ll find via the library databases (e.g., PsychINFO) or GoogleScholar. You’ll need to read beyond what you find in textbooks, searching for the original articles.

What is a theory?

Textbooks usually have a section on what a theory is: i.e. an organised set of principles used to explain observed phenomena. Hypotheses based on the theory are testable predictions about the conditions under which an event will occur. Sometimes there are competing theories to explain the same phenomenon.

APA style

Difference between reference list and bibliography: difference.html

Use Google to search for APA blogs, e.g.: e/general_format.html

APA manual via the library: h

4. Recommended reading

Danziger, K. (1994). Constructing the subject: Historical origins of psychological research.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Friedman, B. (2010). Feelings and the body: The Jamesian perspective on autonomic specificity of emotion. Biology Psychology, 84, 383-393.

Gross, R. (2010). Psychology: The science of mind and behaviour (Chapters 2, 3 and 11).

London: Hodder Education Group.

Holt, N., Bremner, A., Sutherland, M.V., Passer, M., & Smith, R. (2019). Psychology: The science of mind and behaviour (Chapters 1, 2 and 7). London: McGraw-Hill Education.

Pavlov, I. P. (1932). The reply of a physiologist to psychologists. Psychological Review, 39(2), 91-127.

Sternberg, R. J., & Pickren, W. E. (Eds.) (2019). The Cambridge handbook of the intellectual history of psychology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Windholz, G. (1992). Pavlov’s conceptualization of learning. American Journal of Psychology, 105, 459-469.