Psychology is the science of our inner world, and this makes it a difficult discipline to write a critical essay. Each person subconsciously transfers his personal experience to paper, so in order for your essay to be as objective as possible, you need to partially turn off your inner world and turn on a researcher, critic, and analyst. In this article we tell how to cope with this task, observing the canons of academic writing, the requirements for critical thinking essays, plus the correct argumentation of your thoughts.
In fact, a critical essay represents three types of student papers combined into one. And yes, this, unfortunately, does not facilitate this task, and you will also have to work in three stages to get the best result. As for the subject of critical thinking essay in psychology, in 90% of cases, it will be a certain psychological theory that you will need to study, analyze and then criticize.
Here are some interesting theories to choose from:
Well, if your professor gave you the right to study psychology in the direction that you like, this is a good chance to deepen your knowledge on a certain topic. However, you should still be wary of choosing a theory or concept for your criticism. Try not to choose something too controversial and having a lot of pain points – to analyze and criticize such theories, you need to have very strong critical thinking skills and be very careful with the choice of words so that your criticism does not sound too harsh. Try to choose something neutral, but interesting and giving opportunities for thought. Let this topic be interesting to you, but it should not cause any painful associations for you personally – otherwise, you risk making your critical thinking essay on psychology too subjective and personal.
So, we have already said that work on a critical essay should be carried out in three stages, and the first stage is a study.
Obviously, in order to be able to evaluate the theory critically, you need to thoroughly study and understand it. To do this, you need to take a few steps.
Now, before you begin to study the opinions of other scientists regarding this theory, try to honestly answer questions about the strengths and weaknesses of this theory from your point of view. For now, let it be your personal opinion – but you still need to formulate it, firstly, so that your essay resonates with your inner perception, and secondly so that you can accurately understand what arguments you need to look for to reinforce your opinion.
Important! Do not be alarmed if at the next stage, when we move on to additional scientific sources, your opinion will change. It is a normal practice to start looking at things differently under the influence of other people’s arguments. Your task in this essay is to do the same. Moreover, the quality of your essay will not change in any way depending on the opinion you will justify – most importantly, adhere to the rules of scientific criticism and back up your words with reliable sources and evidence.
And now let’s move on to these sources, with the help of which you will further shape your vision of a certain theory. If you have chosen a well-known psychological theory for criticism and analysis, then most likely many scientists before you also worked with this task. However, the views of scientific minds tend to change under the influence of current realities, so in this case, it definitely makes sense to filter out your scientific sources of information and leave only the most recent and relevant ones.
Working with fresh information, you will receive many new insights about a certain theory that will be dictated by modern reality. This will allow you to talk about the applicability of the psychological theory in a given era and will provide even better opportunities for criticism. For example, you can say about the strong point of the theory if it is applicable in modern reality, or vice versa, indicate that the author could not take into account something while developing his theory.
So, suppose you choose a specific article with which you want to start your research. Now proceed according to the following algorithm.
Important! Organize your notes very carefully. Write down the title of the article and the name of the author, year of publication, and the pages on which you found the most valuable thoughts. Also, add the article URL to your favorite pages. So you get quick access to them when you draw up a reference list. And by the way, as soon as you work through several articles in this way, you will get a very strong skeleton for criticism. All that remains for you is to choose the most suitable arguments and develop your own unique thesis based on them.
Now you have a complete picture of information. On this basis, you need to conduct your own analysis and find strengths and weaknesses in the complex – based both on the theory itself and on the development of other scientists on its basis. Here you need to make a small comparison between the theory itself and its interpretation by other scientists. Here’s how to do it.
Once you answer these questions, you will have room for your own criticism based on the most complex data.
If you have taken all the steps from the previous stages, now you already understand what exactly you will criticize and how. So, it’s time to start writing the essay itself, or rather its first version.
We are sure that now you already know what you will write about, and we just once again will walk you through the structure that you need to follow. By the way, you can start writing from anywhere, and then just fill in the blanks.
Most likely, the theory that you will criticize is based on a key phrase that forms the foundation for its further evolution. If this phrase causes contradictions in itself, then your theory is an excellent object for criticism. Feel free to start your introduction with this phrase and further develop your thought in the thesis statement.
The thesis is your personal opinion that you have developed based on your personal research, analysis, and critical thinking. The thesis should not occupy more than two sentences and look like a positive statement that you will argue.
Important! Do not forget to fill out the quote correctly, according to the academic style of which you need to follow.
And one more important point! If you find several strengths of the theory, describe them in separate paragraphs. Do not mix everything in one pan. The “one paragraph, one complete thought” rule continues to apply to your critical thinking essay in psychology. Therefore, you will have as many paragraphs as many strengths you will find.
This is the easiest part of your job, especially since you have already managed 90% of your work. Just write down briefly everything you talked about above, and make sure that the volume of your conclusion does not exceed the volume of paragraphs of the main part.
Set aside your essay and let it mature. Return to it in a few days if time allows you to do this. If the deadline for essay delivery is tomorrow, then just return to it in a few hours, and for now, allow yourself to relax. You did a great job!