Psychology 8 mark and 12 mark essays help?

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starmilk
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I do AQA AS Psychology and I seem to have trouble with the essays? I'm losing a lot of marks because I can outline and describe studies but I have no idea how to evaluate? I did a mock the other day and it included a 12 essay on evaluating social learning theory as an explanation of attachment and my "evaluation" was giving supporting and contradicting studies but apparently I focused too much on that until my teacher said I lost focus on the whole question.

So, what I'm asking is how do I evaluate on psychology essays? For example, if I did an essay on evaluating Asch and Zimbardo exp. Do I look at strengths and weaknesses of the experiments I'm talking about (e.g. ecological validity and generalisability) and then add contradicting/supporting evidence from other studies? Or do I not mention contradicting/supporting studies at all and just focus on the points about the actual experiments?

Not sure if this makes sense, I'm sorry if it doesn't I just can't seem to word my frustration properly...
Thanks!!
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kirstybecs
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(Original post by starmilk)
I do AQA AS Psychology and I seem to have trouble with the essays? I'm losing a lot of marks because I can outline and describe studies but I have no idea how to evaluate? I did a mock the other day and it included a 12 essay on evaluating social learning theory as an explanation of attachment and my "evaluation" was giving supporting and contradicting studies but apparently I focused too much on that until my teacher said I lost focus on the whole question.

So, what I'm asking is how do I evaluate on psychology essays? For example, if I did an essay on evaluating Asch and Zimbardo exp. Do I look at strengths and weaknesses of the experiments I'm talking about (e.g. ecological validity and generalisability) and then add contradicting/supporting evidence from other studies? Or do I not mention contradicting/supporting studies at all and just focus on the points about the actual experiments?

Not sure if this makes sense, I'm sorry if it doesn't I just can't seem to word my frustration properly...
Thanks!!
What my teachers have taught me to do is just PEEL paragraphs (which seems pretty dumb since they're so basic but they work so well!)

So for Zimbardo one PEEL would be:
P - Supposed lack of realism
E - Banuazizi and Mohavedi argued participants were play-acting, not participating and relied on stereotypes. This was shown through the Cool Hand Luke character portrayal and explains why prisoners rioted.
E - Zimbardo disagreed and pointed out 90% of prisoners' conversations were about prison life. Prisoner 416 expressed the opinion it seemed like a real prison, just run by psychologists instead of the government.
L - The situation therefore seemed real to participants, so has high internal validity

It's always best to give research to back up evaluation where possible but don't focus hugely on the details, and remember to relate back to the experiment! I hope this helps!
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