Group Dynamics - National University of Ireland, Galway

advertisement
Writing
&
Memory Techniques
Dr. Chris Dwyer
School of Psychology
National University of Ireland, Galway
[email protected]
What is an Essay?

An essay refers to a piece of prose-based
writing that presents an argument.

An argument is the presentation of a
claim or some point of view, along with
reasons and/or objections that either
support or refute the claim.

Consists of at least 12-15 points.
Remember, an Essay is an argument!

All arguments share the characteristics of being
composed of a network of propositions, prose-based or
otherwise, that are structured via logical, inferential
relationships:

A central claim

Reasons for why the central claim is true

Objections to the central claim

Rebuttals that object to objections
Aggression is a serious problem in society. It is commonplace to hear of events involving violence, verbal abuse and other forms
of aggression. Many factors influence aggressive behaviour. For years, psychologists have sought to understand whether an
individual’s behaviour emerges as a result of nature (i.e. their biology) or nurture (i.e. their environment). Aggressive behaviour
falls into this argument. Is aggressive behaviour a by product of nature or nurture?
Ethologists have shown that aggression in members of a species can aid survival of that species. They have shown, for
example, that intra-specific aggression has several biological advantages. When accompanied by rivalry among males for
mating opportunities, intraspecific aggression tends to perpetuate the genes of the healthier, more vigorous animals. Freud
theorised that thanatos (the death instinct) and libido (the sexual drive) help to form personality by virtue of the way sexuality
and aggression were channelled. However, Freud’s ideas are merely theoretical and little scientific findings support these ideas.
This is because psychoanalytic ideas (e.g. the death instinct) cannot be adequately tested or falsified in an empirical fashion.
One piece of evidence to suggest that biology causes aggression is the fact that testosterone is correlated with
aggression. For example, there is evidence that high levels of testosterone are correlated with aggression, as are depleted
levels of serotonin. Men have higher levels of testosterone and are generally more aggressive than women (Knight et al., 1996).
The role testosterone plays in aggression was exemplified when Dabbs et al. (1988) found that female prison inmates who
displayed unprovoked violence and who had received several other convictions also showed high levels of testosterone.
Genetic factors play a major role in aggression (e.g. in the breed of dogs). Inbreeding can create unstable
temperaments, and hormones can contribute to aggressive tendencies in intact male dogs. However, an individual’s
environment can affect his or her testosterone level. For example, increases in testosterone have been found in Brazilian
supporters who saw their team win the 1994 World Cup on television (Fielden et al., 1994).
On the nurture side of things, various environmental factors may also influence aggression. For example, when parents
habitually resort to aggression, their children are likely to do the same. In extreme cases of child abuse, parents who beat their
children usually turn out to have been victims of child abuse themselves (Parke & Collmer, 1975). This can also be seen in work
done by Bandura (1977) found that, after watching an adult interact with a ‘Bobo Doll’, children tended to imitate the observed
behaviour. For example, if the adult beat the doll with a stick, children often did the same.
Longitudinal studies tracing development from childhood to adolescence have found that long- term viewing of violence on
television is associated with an increase in boys’ violent behaviour as adults (Lefkowitz et al., 1977). However, Feshbach &
Singer (1971) found that being subjected to consistent violent television programmes, over six months, as a teenager, didn’t
increase levels of aggression and found that in some cases individuals were less aggressive.
Displacement of responsibility is an important factor in aggressive behaviour. When people feel less responsibility for
their behaviour (e.g., in mob situations), they are more likely to act aggressively. Aggression tends to increase in groups, which
is a result of group polarization. Group attitudes often polarize (i.e., become more extreme) when individuals with similar
attitudes get together. One outcome is extreme aggression.
Dollard et al. (1939) proposed that aggressive behaviour results from frustration in attempts to achieve personal goals.
Dollard said that ‘aggression is always a consequence of frustration’ and ‘frustration always leads to some form of aggression’.
However, experimental evidence for the frustration-aggression theory is mixed. According to Berkowitz (1962), frustration yields
anger and anger only leads to aggression when a person is exposed to an aggressive cue, e.g. a gun.
In conclusion, one acknowledges that aggression is a serious problem in society. It is commonplace to hear of events
involving violence, verbal abuse and other forms of aggression. There are many influences on aggressive behaviour, such as
various biological and environmental factors. For years, psychologists have argued about whether or not human behaviour is
the result of nature or nurture. Aggressive behaviour falls into this argument. There is no 'clear-cut' answer here, as both
environmental and biological factors influence aggression.

An argument map is a visual representation of that logically
structured network of reasoning, in which the argument is
made unambiguous and explicit.

That is, there is no need for attention switching from
paragraph to paragraph or from page to page in search of
reasons and objections to the central claim around which
the argument map is constructed.

Argument maps use a ‘box and arrow’ design in which the boxes
represent propositions (i.e. the central claim, reasons, objections
and rebuttals) and the ‘arrows’ among propositions indicate the
inferential relationships linking the propositions together.

Thus, the provision of an arrow between two propositions
indicates that one is evidence for or against another.
Why would Argument Maps be able to
facilitate improved learning?

Maps are organised in a hierarchical structure, where
propositions are identified as either reasons or objections.

Colour (a Gestalt Grouping Principle of Similarity) allows the
reader to easily differentiate reasons from objections.

Argument Mapping removes the cognitive load (Sweller &
Chandler, 1991) from thinking as the maps naturally chunk
(Miller,1956) the propositions together in a close proximity,
as opposed to text.

Research suggests that argument maps not only improve
memory (Dwyer, Hogan & Stewart, 2010; Dwyer, 2011), they
also improve critical thinking (Alvarez-Ortiz, 2007; Butchart
et al., 2009; Dwyer, 2011; van Gelder, 2000; 2001).
House Metaphor
Aggression is a serious problem in society. It is commonplace to hear of events involving violence, verbal abuse and other forms
of aggression. Many factors influence aggressive behaviour. For years, psychologists have sought to understand whether an
individual’s behaviour emerges as a result of nature (i.e. their biology) or nurture (i.e. their environment). Aggressive behaviour
falls into this argument. Is aggressive behaviour a by product of nature or nurture?
Ethologists have shown that aggression in members of a species can aid survival of that species. They have shown, for
example, that intra-specific aggression has several biological advantages. When accompanied by rivalry among males for
mating opportunities, intraspecific aggression tends to perpetuate the genes of the healthier, more vigorous animals. Freud
theorised that thanatos (the death instinct) and libido (the sexual drive) help to form personality by virtue of the way sexuality
and aggression were channelled. However, Freud’s ideas are merely theoretical and little scientific findings support these ideas.
This is because psychoanalytic ideas (e.g. the death instinct) cannot be adequately tested or falsified in an empirical fashion.
One piece of evidence to suggest that biology causes aggression is the fact that testosterone is correlated with
aggression. For example, there is evidence that high levels of testosterone are correlated with aggression, as are depleted
levels of serotonin. Men have higher levels of testosterone and are generally more aggressive than women (Knight et al., 1996).
The role testosterone plays in aggression was exemplified when Dabbs et al. (1988) found that female prison inmates who
displayed unprovoked violence and who had received several other convictions also showed high levels of testosterone.
Genetic factors play a major role in aggression (e.g. in the breed of dogs). Inbreeding can create unstable temperaments, and
hormones can contribute to aggressive tendencies in intact male dogs. However, an individual’s environment can affect his or
her testosterone level. For example, increases in testosterone have been found in Brazilian supporters who saw their team win
the 1994 World Cup on television (Fielden et al., 1994).
On the nurture side of things, various environmental factors may also influence aggression. For example, when parents
habitually resort to aggression, their children are likely to do the same. In extreme cases of child abuse, parents who beat their
children usually turn out to have been victims of child abuse themselves (Parke & Collmer, 1975). This can also be seen in work
done by Bandura (1977) found that, after watching an adult interact with a ‘Bobo Doll’, children tended to imitate the observed
behaviour. For example, if the adult beat the doll with a stick, children often did the same.
Longitudinal studies tracing development from childhood to adolescence have found that long- term viewing of violence on
television is associated with an increase in boys’ violent behaviour as adults (Lefkowitz et al., 1977). However, Feshbach &
Singer (1971) found that being subjected to consistent violent television programmes, over six months, as a teenager, didn’t
increase levels of aggression and found that in some cases individuals were less aggressive.
Displacement of responsibility is an important factor in aggressive behaviour. When people feel less responsibility for
their behaviour (e.g., in mob situations), they are more likely to act aggressively. Aggression tends to increase in groups, which
is a result of group polarization. Group attitudes often polarize (i.e., become more extreme) when individuals with similar
attitudes get together. One outcome is extreme aggression.
Dollard et al. (1939) proposed that aggressive behaviour results from frustration in attempts to achieve personal goals.
Dollard said that ‘aggression is always a consequence of frustration’ and ‘frustration always leads to some form of aggression’.
However, experimental evidence for the frustration-aggression theory is mixed. According to Berkowitz (1962), frustration yields
anger and anger only leads to aggression when a person is exposed to an aggressive cue, e.g. a gun.
In conclusion, one acknowledges that aggression is a serious problem in society. It is commonplace to hear of events
involving violence, verbal abuse and other forms of aggression. There are many influences on aggressive behaviour, such as
various biological and environmental factors. For years, psychologists have argued about whether or not human behaviour is
the result of nature or nurture. Aggressive behaviour falls into this argument. There is no 'clear-cut' answer here, as both
environmental and biological factors influence aggression.
Aggression is a serious problem in society. It is commonplace to hear of events involving violence, verbal abuse and other forms
of aggression. Many factors influence aggressive behaviour. For years, psychologists have sought to understand whether an
individual’s behaviour emerges as a result of nature (i.e. their biology) or nurture (i.e. their environment). Aggressive behaviour
falls into this argument. Is aggressive behaviour a by product of nature or nurture?
Ethologists have shown that aggression in members of a species can aid survival of that species. They have shown, for
example, that intra-specific aggression has several biological advantages. When accompanied by rivalry among males for
mating opportunities, intraspecific aggression tends to perpetuate the genes of the healthier, more vigorous animals. Freud
theorised that thanatos (the death instinct) and libido (the sexual drive) help to form personality by virtue of the way sexuality
and aggression were channelled. However, Freud’s ideas are merely theoretical and little scientific findings support these ideas.
This is because psychoanalytic ideas (e.g. the death instinct) cannot be adequately tested or falsified in an empirical fashion.
One piece of evidence to suggest that biology causes aggression is the fact that testosterone is correlated with
aggression. For example, there is evidence that high levels of testosterone are correlated with aggression, as are depleted
levels of serotonin. Men have higher levels of testosterone and are generally more aggressive than women (Knight et al., 1996).
The role testosterone plays in aggression was exemplified when Dabbs et al. (1988) found that female prison inmates who
displayed unprovoked violence and who had received several other convictions also showed high levels of testosterone.
Genetic factors play a major role in aggression (e.g. in the breed of dogs). Inbreeding can create unstable temperaments, and
hormones can contribute to aggressive tendencies in intact male dogs. However, an individual’s environment can affect his or
her testosterone level. For example, increases in testosterone have been found in Brazilian supporters who saw their team win
the 1994 World Cup on television (Fielden et al., 1994).
On the nurture side of things, various environmental factors may also influence aggression. For example, when parents
habitually resort to aggression, their children are likely to do the same. In extreme cases of child abuse, parents who beat their
children usually turn out to have been victims of child abuse themselves (Parke & Collmer, 1975). This can also be seen in work
done by Bandura (1977) found that, after watching an adult interact with a ‘Bobo Doll’, children tended to imitate the observed
behaviour. For example, if the adult beat the doll with a stick, children often did the same.
Longitudinal studies tracing development from childhood to adolescence have found that long- term viewing of violence
on television is associated with an increase in boys’ violent behaviour as adults (Lefkowitz et al., 1977). However, Feshbach &
Singer (1971) found that being subjected to consistent violent television programmes, over six months, as a teenager, didn’t
increase levels of aggression and found that in some cases individuals were less aggressive.
Displacement of responsibility is an important factor in aggressive behaviour. When people feel less responsibility
for their behaviour (e.g., in mob situations), they are more likely to act aggressively. Aggression tends to increase in groups,
which is a result of group polarization. Group attitudes often polarize (i.e., become more extreme) when individuals with similar
attitudes get together. One outcome is extreme aggression.
Dollard et al. (1939) proposed that aggressive behaviour results from frustration in attempts to achieve personal goals.
Dollard said that ‘aggression is always a consequence of frustration’ and ‘frustration always leads to some form of aggression’.
However, experimental evidence for the frustration-aggression theory is mixed. According to Berkowitz (1962), frustration
yields anger and anger only leads to aggression when a person is exposed to an aggressive cue, e.g. a gun.
In conclusion, one acknowledges that aggression is a serious problem in society. It is commonplace to hear of events
involving violence, verbal abuse and other forms of aggression. There are many influences on aggressive behaviour, such as
various biological and environmental factors. For years, psychologists have argued about whether or not human behaviour is
the result of nature or nurture. Aggressive behaviour falls into this argument. There is no 'clear-cut' answer here, as both
environmental and biological factors influence aggression.
1. Nature or nurture
2. Biological advantages
3. Testosterone
4. ‘Bobo Doll’
5. Violent television programmes
6. Displacement of responsibility
7. Frustration-aggression theory
Memory Capacity:
How Much Information?

7 ± 2 items of information (Miller, 1956)

For example, words and numbers

Chunking (De Groot, 1946; 1978; Miller, 1956)
refers to the cognitive act of combining a number of
items into a single ‘chunk’ or ‘chunks’
Let’s try a little experiment based on research
conducted by Severin & Rigby (1963).
8026471824
081 - 468 - 1753
What’s your
number?

Magical Number 7 ± 2 (Miller, 1956)
4681753
468 - 17 - 53
46 - 81 - 753
46 - 817 - 53
Make it Meaningful!
e (Growth) and Andrew Jackson
e = 2.718281828459045
e = 2.718281828459045
1. Nature or nurture
2. Biological advantages
3. Testosterone
4. ‘Bobo Doll’
5. Violent television programmes
6. Displacement of responsibility
7. Frustration-aggression theory
Nature or Nurture
Biological
advantages
Testosterone
‘Bobo Doll’
Violent television
programmes
Displacement of
responsibility
Frustration-aggression
theory
Mnemonics

Techniques used to assist memory, such as
using pictures, rhymes or figures of speech.

For example, Word Mnemonics
Word Mnemonics
The categories in the classification of life are:
Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus,
Species, Variety
Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus,
Species, Variety =
Kings Play Cards On Fairly Good Soft
Velvet.
Acronyms

The use of acronyms is a very common
mnemoncic technique.

An acronym is a word formed from the initial
letters of a name or by combining initial letters
of a series of words.

For example,
NATO = North Atlantic Treaty Organization

All theses and essays consist of 3 parts:
1.
Introduction
2.
Body
3.
Conclusion
Tell them what you’re
going to tell them.
Tell them.
Tell them again.
Tell them what you’re going to tell them.
“If you don’t start with a quote, start with
something quotable.”
1.
Thesis Statement or Central Claim
 What is this piece trying to argue?
2. So
what? What’s your point?
 Why is this concept important?
Tell them what you’re going to tell them.

Why do you believe this? Better yet, why do
you want me to believe this?
 Present at least 3-5 core reasons.

In an essay, one paragraph is all that is
necessary. In a thesis, you might devote an
entire chapter to the Intro.
Tell them.
• Within the body, you will present, in detail, each of
your 3-5 reasons for why you believe the central
claim.
• Each reason is important and thus, deserves its own
paragraph.
• One paragraph = One idea unit
• A good rule of thumb is that each paragraph should
contain no less than three sentences.
Tell them.
• Present at least 3-5 more reasons to support each of your
3-5 core reasons.
• If and ONLY if related, these 3-5 reasons should follow
one another in the same paragraph in an effort to support
one of you core reasons.
• If they are not directly related, then they should be placed
in separate paragraphs.
• Remember, one paragraph = one idea unit
AND
related ideas = one idea unit
Tell them.

Are there reasons why I shouldn’t believe this?
 Consider objections to your:
○ Central claim,
○ Core reasons, and
○ Reasons to support you core reasons

If there are objections, then present them where relevant (i.e.
next to the idea it is objecting to).

Don’t go overboard with objections – you don’t want to persuade
the reader to disbelieve your initial claim! So, try to refute
objections as well!
Then why bother?
 Presenting objections shows that you have:

 Considered both sides of the argument
 Critically evaluated the topic
Tell them again.
 Reiterate
the central claim.
 Explain
why you believe your central claim with a
little more specificity than in the introduction.
 N.B. This can come from the body (e.g. reasons for your
reasons).
 What
do your findings mean? What are their
implications? Were there any limitations? What
should future research look at? Again, why is this
important?
Introduction
I.
I.
II.
III.
IV.
Something Quotable
Central claim
Why is it important?
Core Reasons
Body
II.
Core Reason 1
I.
I.
II.
III.
Core Reason 2
II.
I.
II.
III.
III.
IV.
Supporting Reason 1
Supporting Reason 2
Supporting Reason 3
Core Reason 3
I.
II.
III.
Supporting Reason 1
Supporting Reason 2
Supporting Reason 3
Core Reason 4
I.
II.
III.
Supporting Reason 1
Supporting Reason 2
Supporting Reason 3
 Your weakest reason should go in
the middle.
 Weakest , in this context, would
refer to the least amount of support
or the most easily criticised. In
which case, you might consider
providing an objection.
 Your strongest reasons should go
first and last in the body.
Core Reason 5
V.
I.
II.
III.
III.
Supporting Reason 1
Supporting Reason 2
Supporting Reason 3
STRUCTURE
Supporting Reason 1
Supporting Reason 2
Supporting Reason 3
Conclusion
I.
II.
III.
IV.
Restatement of Central Claim, Importance & Core Reasons
Summarise
Implications, Limitations & Future Research
Concluding Points

Know what you’re going to argue.
 Know why you’re arguing that way.
 Know the alternatives.

Develop an essay structure in order
to provide yourself a visual
representation of what the essay will
look like before you even write it.

This will allow you to adapt and cope
with the potential ‘surprises’ that may
be encountered during the writing
process.
Where do I get my Reasons and
Objections?
GOOGLE
SCHOLAR!

Use the 12-15 points rule as an anchor in essays.

What is the Word limit?
 Perhaps, the word limit does not permit discussion of 12-15
separate points.
 Maybe 9 points is more feasible?

Do you have 12-15 points?
 If not, do more research.
 If you still don’t have 12-15 points after research, that’s fine
– make a greater effort to critically evaluate the points you
have.

Common Mistakes


Writing down everything you know (including additional
research) and:
○ Submitting without revision
○ Realising you’ve more than doubled the word limit
What should I do?
 Write down everything you know (including additional
research) and:
1. Group related concepts together
2. Rework vague ideas in order to provide clarity
3. Remove weak ideas and reasons
4. Organise these ideas (e.g. through an outline or an
argument map)

How? Restate the question.

Critically evaluate the role of Daisy Buchanan
in the Great Gatsby.

“Daisy Buchanan plays a major role in the Great
Gatsby for a number of reasons, including…”

Discuss the concept of growth and its role in
macro-economics.

“The concept of growth is a vital factor to
consider when evaluating macro-economics due
to…”

Critically evaluate…
 Provide reasons, objections, limits and strengths.

Discuss…
 Provide information learned in your lecture and
describe the related concepts in greater detail
(e.g. through outside reading).

Evaluation is a CT skill that is used in the assessment of
propositions and claims, in which we:
1.
2.
3.
4.

Assess the credibility of arguments
Assess the relevance of arguments
Assess the logical strength of an argument structure
Assess the balance and bias of evidence in the argument
During evaluation, our objective is to arrive at some conclusions
about the overall strengths and weakness of an argument.

You weren’t born knowledgeable!
 References allow you to use the knowledge of others
without plagiarising.

References provide you with a source to argue
against – a good place to start critically
evaluating!

References allow you to exhibit the fact that
you did the research!

There are many referencing styles.
 Generally consist of:
○ Author, Year, Title, Place and Publisher (Book)
○ Author, Year, Title, Publication, Vol./Iss. and Pages
(Journal)

Referencing within the text: (Surname[s], Year)

After you have inferred a logical conclusion, you will
want to explain and present it clearly.

Txt tlk isnt gr8 4 SAs or T-sez

Write as if your Granny was reading.

Use Headings and Sub-Headings
 Shows the reader that you have a structure and that your
understanding of the topic is organised.

This is the 21st Century




Type and Print
Black ink
Times New Roman
Size 12 font
 Remove unnecessary words.
 Re-evaluate words that end in ‘ly’.
REMOVE UNNECESSARY VERBIAGE
 The question as to whether
 There is no doubt that
 He is a man who
 This is a subject that
 His story is a strange one
whether
no doubt
he
this subject
His story is strange.

Don’t blindly use a thesaurus

Know the difference between e.g. and i.e.
 e.g. = For example
 i.e. = That is
Presentation: Common Errors

There, Their and They’re

Firstly


Proved
Between / Among

Data

Criteria

Comma after introductory element



In conclusion,
For example,
Thus,
Enclose parenthetic expressions between commas.


The best way to see a country, unless you are pressed
for time, is to travel on foot.
Presentation: Common Errors
Apostrophes indicate possession, not plurality.


John’s dog jumped…
Students’ feelings towards continuous assessment…

NOT feelings towards CA’s (i.e. it should be CAs)


It’s / Its

Semi-colons are useful for writing; thus, it is important we use them.

Don’t use conjunctions in academic/technical writing…
I mean, do not use conjunctions in academic/technical writing.

Do not end a sentence with a preposition.
Presentation
• Pictures are cute, but don’t belong in an essay
– If you think a diagram or chart might help elaborate
or clarify, include it as a figure.
– Tables might also be included.
Table 1: Critical Thinking skills taught to students
1.Identifying arguments
Figure 1: A system of cognitive processes for educational objectives
1.
Standardizing arguments
1.
Necessary and sufficient conditions
1.
Language (definitions and fallacies of language)
1.
Accepting premises
1.
Accepting relevance
1.
Arguments from analogy
1.
Arguments from experience
1.
Causal arguments
What is Expected of Me?

Research

Evidence & Referencing

Answer the Question!

Quality, not quantity.

Critically evaluate!
 Describe
 Exemplify
 Evaluate
 Implications?
Report Writing
Developing a Research Question

Research Questions ‘define’ an empirical
investigation.

They set boundaries for the study.

They provide direction to the researcher on
how best to conduct the study and how to
tease out other important elements.

They act as a frame of reference for you to
assess your work. Always make sure that you
are actually answering the research question!
Theory

Theory has been described as ‘an
explanation of observed regularities’.

How do you think theories are
developed?
Literature Review

Provides the ‘bones’ of the study as it helps
you to ‘ground’ certain concepts in light of past
research – enabling you to expand your
research questions.

Allows you to justify your theory!

What should it include?
 Literature that is relevant to your research aims
 Literature that is relevant to your data
 Literature that is relevant to your methodology

Hypotheses!!!
Merits of the Literature Review

Exhibit ORGANISED knowledge

Exhibit Critical Thinking

Exhibit your ability to identify relevant information

Exhibit main theoretical debates
Sources of Literature
GOOGLE
SCHOLAR!
Methodology: What was
done?

Data Analysis

Participants

Materials & Measures

Procedure
Findings

State your findings in a Results section.
For example:

Results revealed that undergraduate
students exhibited significantly more
positive attitudes towards X-Factor than
post-graduate students.

In the Discussion section, interpret this
finding, that is: Why is this the case and
what does it mean?
Download