Write an essay drawing on material from Chapter 1 Critical, creative and credible and Chapter 2 Investigating memory: experimental and clinical investigations of remembering and forgetting, critically evaluate the contribution of experimentation to our understanding of how we retrieve memories.
Word limit: 1500 words (excluding references, the title and any appendices). Write the word count at the end of your essay.As highlighted in the question, the key resources you will need to draw on for this essay are Chapters 1 and 2. While both chapters explore the experimental method, Chapter 2 is particularly relevant because it covers experimentation in the context of different types of memory and how memory works in relation to memory recall and recognition.
For example, Section 3 of Chapter 2 reviews what types of memory-testing paradigms are used in lab-based experimental research, and Section 4 explores how evidence is used to develop and challenge two models of memory. You may find it useful to refer directly to some of the primary source material referred to in Chapter 2, or indeed other relevant papers/journal articles. Information about how to find relevant primary source material can be found in the Week 1 library activities referred to in the Study Guide.
While your essay should mainly draw on material from Chapter 2, you should also draw on material from Chapter 1. Section 2 of Chapter 1 is particularly relevant to the question as it focuses explicitly on experimentation. However, as the material in this section is not specific to memory or remembering, you will need to give some thought to how you can make this information directly relevant to the question as set. Perhaps focusing on the methodological issues highlighted in this section and exploring their broader implications would be helpful.
Chapters 1 and 2 include numerous references to (and discussions about) experiments, so they should provide you with plenty of material to address the TMA question as set. Keep in mind however that you only have 1500 words to work with, so you will not be able to cover every issue in the depth that it is covered in the textbook.When writing this TMA, it is important that you integrate the chapters’ material in a coherent and logical manner, and in a way that explicitly addresses the set question. Simply summarising the chapters’ content is unlikely to gain high marks. Paying particular attention to the process words for this question should help you with this.
In this case you are being asked to ‘critically evaluate’, which means you need to make a judgement about the contribution of the presented experimental evidence to our understanding of how we retrieve memories. Therefore, the arguments you make must be based on evidence and reasoning. This will require you to assess whether a given piece of experimental evidence actually supports the conclusions arrived at by the authors of the study you are describing.
For example, are other interpretations of the evidence possible? Does the use of experimental methodology limit or shape the type of findings produced? Are there weaknesses in the design of the study which allow these alternative interpretations to creep in? A good area of consideration might be found in relation to ecological validity; a concept that is covered in depth across the qualification (including in DE100 and DE200).
Do keep in mind, however, when you are writing your essay, that a ‘critical evaluation’ should give consideration to both the pros and the cons associated with the topic being explored; so try to ensure your essay does not simply aim to find faults with experimental methodology – rather make sure your essay considers the advantages and limitations in a balanced and well-evidenced manner.
Write an essay drawing on material from Chapter 1 Critical, creative and credible and Chapter 2 Investigating memory
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