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TMA 01 THE ASSIGNMENT
Important: these pages
provide guidance on how to write your assignment. Please ensure you read this
information right through until the checklist at the end.
you start work on this assignment, please ensure that you have read the Assessment
specific to this module and are familiar with the advice in Social
Sciences Assessment Information.
These sources contain support and guidance that you may need in writing your
TMA including, for example, advice on plagiarism, referencing and the marking
system. Note that failure to comply with relevant guidance could result in the
loss of marks or other penalties.
are two parts to this TMA. Please note that you must complete both Part
1 (essay question) and Part 2 (short-answer question).
TMA contributes 9% towards your overall module result.
1: Essay question (60% of the mark for this TMA)
the methods that researchers have used to assess mindreading in children and
explain what the research has revealed about whether mindreading abilities
follow a ‘developmental trajectory’.
limit: 1000 words
2: Short-answer question (40% of the mark for this TMA)
the following short-answer question:
the concept of ‘strong AI’ and outline how Searle’s ‘Chinese room thought
experiment’ has been used to refute it.
limit: 500 words
the following pages you will find:
a list of learning
outcomes addressed by this assignment
student notes for
each part of this assignment
a checklist to
ensure you have done everything required for this assignment.
module learning outcomes assessed by TMA 01 are as follows:
wide range of basic psychological concepts and an appreciation of how they
apply to everyday life.
variety of approaches to psychological research, including different
psychology addresses issues of diversity, difference and social functioning.
describe a range of key concepts in psychology.
construct arguments based on psychological theories and research findings.
identify the strengths and weaknesses of different theories and methodologies in
communicate psychological knowledge in a variety of formats suitable for
traditional academic audiences.
Ability to apply
an appropriate referencing system.
and/or professional skills
Use practical and information
and communication technology (ICT) skills that are highly transferable to the
workplace and other settings.
Student notes for Part 1
focus of this essay question is on the methods used to assess mindreading in
children and, in particular, the evidence that mindreading follows a
‘developmental trajectory’. Make sure you select relevant examples of different
methods and fully explain what these have shown.
command word describe requires you to ‘give a detailed account’, in this
case of some methods that have been used to assess the mindreading abilities of
command word explain requires you to ‘give details about how and why’
the methods described have led to certain conclusions about the development of
mindreading; in other words, what they have revealed about whether mindreading
follows a ‘developmental trajectory’.
this part of the assignment you should aim to write a coherent, clear, concise
essay within the constraints of the short word count (1000 words). To achieve
this, you will need to select carefully from the range of material available.
are asked to produce a descriptive essay (‘describing’ some methods that have
set out to address a particular topic or question). However, you also need to
clearly address the second part of the question, which asks you to ‘explain’
how and why the methods described have led to particular conclusions about the
development of mindreading abilities. Describe the methods that researchers have used to assess mindreading in children and explain what the research has revealed about whether mindreading abilities follow a ‘developmental trajectory’
are likely to want to explain key terms relevant to the question (e.g.
‘mindreading’, ‘developmental trajectory’) before you move on to present
relevant examples. You won’t be able to describe lots of methods in detail
within the word limit. Instead, you might want to describe a few examples in
detail, and mention other relevant examples more succinctly if you have space
to do so. Your examples should be well chosen, so that they demonstrate not
only how researchers have attempted to assess mindreading in children, but also
what the research has revealed about the development of these abilities.
should finish your essay with a suitable conclusion, summing up what your
answer has shown.
Relevant materials for Part 1
this essay question requires you to provide an answer in 1000 words, you will
need to select and present your material carefully.
is a lot of relevant material in Book
1, Chapter 1. It covers developmental
perspectives on mindreading and explains the concept of a ‘developmental
explains what is meant by the term ‘mindreading’ (in the context of ‘theory of
mind’), so may be useful for defining your terms.
Sections 3 and 4
outline a range of studies related to the question, and you may find
appropriate examples to draw on in this section.
considers some theories of mindreading in children, which may also be useful.
will find some of the online material from Week
2 is relevant to this question.
4 has material on the development of mindreading
You may also find
it useful to consult Section
5, which discusses mindreading skills in
Student notes for Part 2
key challenge in a short-answer question is capturing your understanding in a
limited number of words. This involves writing succinctly, and spending the
necessary time editing sentences to stay within the 500-word limit. These are
the key skills that are being assessed here, together with your understanding
of the contribution of key concepts and/or methods in psychology.
Relevant materials for Part 2
short answer question requires you to provide a concise explanation of the
concept of ‘strong AI’ and then outline how Searle’s ‘Chinese room thought experiment’
has been used to refute it. You will find material relevant to this question in
3 of the textbook,
particularly Sections 3.2 and 3.3, and in Week
5, Section 3 of the online material.
No, where can I look for guidance?
Made sure I understand the question?
Look at Getting started in ‘Social Sciences Assessment Information’. See also Understand the
question in ‘Skills for OU Study’.
Read all of the guidance notes for this assignment?
Carefully read through the student notes that accompany your
assignment to check that you have followed all the advice and instructions.
Actively studied the relevant module material and anything else to
which I’ve been directed?
See the booklets Reading and
Taking Notes and Thinking
Reflected on my learning, including feedback received on earlier
assignments, in order to improve my skills?
See Section 2, ‘Active learning’ and section 4, ‘Being reflective’ of
the booklet Develop Effective
Study Strategies. See also Learning from
feedback in ‘Skills for OU Study’.
Thought about how
best to structure my answer and questions of style and language?
Further advice on
structuring answers is available in the relevant sections in ‘Social
Sciences Assessment Information’. See, for example, Skill: Essay
relating to style and language, see the section Presentation and
language in ‘Social Sciences Assessment
Information’. See also Developing
academic English and Writing for
university in ‘Skills for OU Study’; and
Section 7 ‘Choosing a writing style’ and Section 8 ‘Improving your written
English’ of the booklet Preparing
Written in my own words?
Guidance on writing in your own words is available in the sections on Skill:
Understanding plagiarism and Skill: Writing in
your own words in ‘Social Sciences Assessment
Where necessary, used evidence to back my arguments, and referenced
Advice on using
evidence to support your arguments is available in the section on Selecting your
examples‘ in ‘Social Sciences Assessment
Information’. See also Gathering your
materials in ‘Skills for OU Study’.
referencing is available in the section on Referencing in ‘Social Sciences Assessment Information’.
Checked my word count?
The guidance notes tell you the word limit for each part of the TMA.
An answer that is shorter than the word length by more than 10% is likely to
be too short to have fully answered the question. Describe the methods that researchers have used to assess mindreading in children and explain what the research has revealed about whether mindreading abilities follow a ‘developmental trajectory’ An answer that exceeds the
word limit by more than 10% will be penalised. For further information see
the section on Word length in ‘Social Sciences Assessment Information’.
Written the word count at the end of each part of my TMA?
Check the word count and write that figure clearly at the end of each
part of the assignment.
Set out my assignment properly?
See Section 3.4, ‘Conventions for presenting work’ in your module’s ‘Assessment
Guidance’, which you will find under
‘Assessment resources’ on the module website.
Completed each part of the TMA?
Read through these assignment notes carefully to check that you have
completed all the necessary tasks.
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