Three key criteria will be weighted equally in the essay marking: theory, research, and written expression.This page provides some advice with regard to each of these components based on previous experience.
- To what extent has the author identified, understood, and made effective use of the key theoretical literature pertaining to this essay topic?
- Is there a balance of depth and breadth of usage and integration of relevant social psychology theories?
- Is there specific and insightful application of critical and integrative thinking about theories to the question(s) being discussed?
- It is vital that your essay is grounded in relevant social psychological theory.
- Demonstrate familiarity with the broader theoretical categor(ies) which are relevant to your topic but move quickly to explain why this essay has a particular focus on some theor(ies) of interest.
- Aim to cover a small handful of relevant theories. Avoid relying on:
- Too few theories (e.g., deep, but narrow focus on one approach).
- Too many theories, too little depth (e.g., lots of theories, but little depth).
- In other words, show an indepth understanding of some key theories.
- Did you select the most relevant theories for addressing the topic?
- Did you make use of relevant articles available via E-reserve?
- Do you integrate discussion of theory with the research review?
- Lower-quality essays tend to discussion theory and research separately.
- Higher-quality essays tend to integrate discussion of research and theory.
External links 
- Theory (2007)
- To what extent has the author identified, understood, and made effective use of the main research findings related to this essay topic?
- Depth and breadth of usage and integration of relevant social psychology research.
- Critical, analytical thinking applied to research discussed.
- A key, common weakness is that despite the availability of large numbers of refereed journal article research articles, student essays tend to lack evidence of such readings, and a lack of effective use of such reading in developing and supporting academic argument.
- It is vital that you demonstrate evidence of having sought out and applied the most relevant, highest quality academic research pertaining to the topic. This is fundamental to developing a sound understanding and informed treatment of the topic or question.
- Did you identity and use the best 10 to 20 academic research articles that have ever been written on this topic?
- Did you you identify, read, and use the best available research reviews related to this topic?
- Recent research reviews (e.g,. try the Annual Review of Psychology) are vital documents for preparing a solid academic response to a question.
- Did you make use of relevant articles available via e-reserve?
External links 
- Research (2007)
Written expression 
- Answers the question
- Offers an informed, unique voice
- (Smoothness of) structure and flow, especially:
- Linkage between paragraphs
- Uses examples
- APA style
- Targets these audiences:
- Intelligent laypeople
- First year undergraduate students
- Social psychology textbook publishers
- Contains these sections
- Did you provide a meaningful, descriptive essay title?
- Try to provide a descriptive title which clearly communicates the intent of, or findings from, the essay (e.g., put yourself in the position of someone scanning essay or article titles and trying to work out which ones are relevant to your needs, i.e., be as clear and informative as possible)
- Its generally a good idea to include the question on your title page.
- Did you provide a tight, easy to read, understandable abstract?
- Optional, but can enhance readability without adding to the word count.
- Did you use make effective, judicious use of sub-headings in order to improve the flow and readability?
- Optional, but effect use can enhance readability
- Did you analyse and adjust the readability?
- Are important concepts well explained and defined?
- Is paragraph length not too short or too long?
- Is the essay well laid out?
- Is the essay easy on the eye (and easy to read on the screen)?
- Single-spacing (for electronic essays)
- Has the essay been spell-checked?
- Has the essay been proofread?
- Single-spacing is best for electronic documents; double-spacing is best for hard-copy documents (gives room for hand-written comments).
- Is the grammar correct? e.g.,
- Ownership apostrophes e.g., ones -> one's
- Use Australian spelling, e.g., conceptualized -> conceptualised
- western -> Western
- Tables & Figures
- Are complementary tables and figures provided?
- Are links provided if the tables are in other locations?
- Is APA style used to caption tables and figures?
Word processing 
- For paragraphs, use a first line indent paragraph style rather than manually spacing or tabbing (more efficient).
- For the reference list, use a hanging indent paragraph style rather than manual spacing or tabbing (more efficient).
External links 
- Written expression (2007)