General Psychology Writing Rules & Common Mistakes

Limit your use of direct quotes...

Direct quotes do not demonstrate that you understand the material - they are not used much at all in scientific writing. Paraphrase (put into your own words) rather than quote, unless you simply cannot think of another way to express the idea, or wish to actually discuss the wording of the quote. As a rough rule-of-thumb, if you must include direct quotes keep them short and don't include more than 1-2 direct quotes for every 1000 words.

Check for spelling errors...

Spelling mistakes will simply lower your marker's opinion of your work and make your report/essay harder to read. All word processors nowadays have built-in spelling checkers - there is simply no excuse for multiple spelling errors in your assignments.

Keep in mind that spelling checkers do miss some words so it is advisable to get someone to proof read your assignment before you hand it in (note that tutors/lecturers are not allowed to proof-read your work).

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