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ERIC Number: EJ876469
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 37
ISSN: ISSN-0965-948X
A Pilot Intervention to Improve the Structural Quality of Exam Essay Writing in UK Undergraduate Psychology Students
Connelly, Vincent; Dockrell, Julie E.; Barnett, Jo
Psychology Teaching Review, v12 n1 p43-56 2006
Psychology undergraduates need to produce good quality essays in order to succeed at university. Students find the transition to university writing difficult. Using a rubric, a profile of student weakness in psychology essay writing was described. The students were generally poor at the structural organisation of their essays. A pilot intervention to improve essay structure was designed based on the profile of student weakness. The intervention was trialled with a group of 23 psychology undergraduate students. Those students who took part in the intervention programme had higher exam essay marks with longer and more clearly structured essays after the programme than a matched group of controls. The intervention group students produced essays that linked evidence more clearly to topics and provided better conclusion sections. Psychology tutors were able to show improvement in student writing with a short explicit lesson based on a discipline-specific profile of writing. However, there was no improvement in vocabulary for linking topics and the structure of the introductions remained poor. Ideas for the further development of this intervention are discussed. (Contains 4 tables.)
British Psychological Society, Division for Teachers & Researchers in Psychology. St Andrews House, 48 Princess Road East, Leicester, LE1 7DR, UK. Tel: +44-1162-529551; Fax: +44-1162-271314; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom