One of the best ways to cement your knowledge of personality psychology is to ap

by | Mar 20, 2022 | Psychology | 0 comments

One of the best ways to cement your knowledge of personality psychology is to apply it to a tangible real-world behaviour or phenomenon. With this in mind your task in this assessment item is to write a 2000 word critical essay on –
Can the five factor taxonomic model of personality predict music preferences.
Introduction – A clear and comprehensive opening to the essay summarises major historical and conceptual issues in the topic. The argument to be presented and its conclusion are summarised briefly, and intentions in the essay are detailed thoroughly. The foregoing are possibly characterised by originality and flair, and a reader is in no doubt whatsoever about what argument is to be pursued in the essay.
Use of relevant Literature – Reference materials used are of high quality and evidence of wide reading through consultation of a range of sources is shown. References include recent publications, and research reviewed is adequate and relevant to the argument.
Quality and consistency of Argument – Some depth of engagement with the literature is demonstrated and evidenced through some dissection and reflection of findings. Reference materials are critically evaluated to provide a compelling argument. Theoretical and empirical perspectives provide a strong support base for the argument, which is sign-posted and cast within a strong, well structured framework. However, sign-posting of the argument could be clearer or theoretical and/or empirical perspectives may need further detail or a stronger and more coherent exposition.
Conclusion – Provide a clear and appropriate summary of the main points of the argument, its logical structure together with supporting and conflicting evidence. Concluding remarks on paths to further research and/or wider implications of the conclusion are articulate, thought provoking with a degree of originality and promise.
In general:
Know what it is you want to say. Make an argument. Before writing, you need to decide what your conclusions are, and then structure your essay so that it constantly supports the conclusions and acknowledges, undermines or refutes opposing views. But remember … asserting an evidence-based argument is not the same thing as expressing your ‘opinion’. The reader has no interest in your opinion … the reader is only interested in evidence based argument.
Be critical! At this level of study, you are expected to be able to critically review and evaluate the psychological literature and use this to form a coherent and compelling argument. Make your material subservient to your ongoing argument, and don’t just present material in its own right, in the hope that the reader will draw the correct inferences for you.
DO NOT simply summarise the claims of others. A recent meta-analysis of research publications in biomedical journals found that in about 84% of cases the researchers mis-represented their own findings (https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.2002173). I doubt the situation is much better in psychology. So when reviewing the core literature, don’t simply summarise from the papers abstract. You need to read the paper and find out what was actually done and what was actually found … only then are you in a position to engage critically with the literature. How is the criterion variable being operationalised? How are the predictor variables being operationalised? What are the typical effect sizes that are being reported (i.e., are the statistically significant associations under discussion of a trivial magnitude or of some real world importance)? Keep in mind though, your job is not to detail every single study … your job is to integrate the literature and bring out the important points. So for instance if we take “what was actually done”. The reader is not interested in hearing about how each and every study operationalised the FFM. However, if some studies have operationalised the FFM in a psychometrically unsound way, then that would be an important point to make in your critique of the literature. It should also inform what literature you focus your conclusions on (i.e., you would be foolish to focus your conclusions on findings from studies that have operationalised constructs in psychometrically unsound ways). Similarly, in terms of “what was actually found” … the reader is not interested in being bombarded with an endless series of effect sizes (e.g., correlation coefficients). You need to be integrating finding for the reader in order to make a case. What are the typical effect sizes in the area: are they small, moderate or large? One way to address this quesiton would be to report meta-analytic effect sizes, if they are available (i.e., meta analyses allow you to summarise findings from a vast number of studies in a very succinct and precise manner). The authors of meta-analyses will sometimes also highlight for you the kinds of methodological issues that separate the good studies from the bad studies. So if there is a meta-analysis relevant to your essay question, then it is probably a good place to start your readings.

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