ILMAPSYN-Academic Writing for Psychology

Module Provider: International Study and Language Institute
Number of credits: 0 [0 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Summer term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2022/3

Module Convenor: Ms Emily Salvesen

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module focuses on the academic language and writing skills needed to more effectively manage coursework assignments on Psychology master’s programmes and is primarily designed for postgraduate students in Psychology whose first language is not English. In autumn term, the main focus is on key Psychology coursework assignment genres such as the Essay and Critical Review. In summer term, the focus is on Dissertation writing skills. 

The module is non-credit-bearing and designed to support students’ disciplinary study, the expectation being that students will apply the skills they have learnt on ILMAPSYN in their credit-bearing work. Therefore, for the module itself there is no assessment or expectation of independent study hours.


This module aims to support MSc Psychology students whose first language is not English with their transition to the UK HE context and academic culture, focusing on the key academic language and skills needed to successfully complete master’s level Psychology writing assignments.

By the end of the module, students will be better able to:

  • recognise and respond to the expectations of the key written coursework assignment genres in Psychology, e.g. the Essay and Critical Review

  • accurately interpret coursework assignment instructions/briefs

  • employ task-appropriate organisational patterns at paragraph, section and whole-text level

  • use a variety of techniques to incorporate and comment on the views of others in their writing

  • accurately apply the referencing conventions for their discipline

  • employ task-appropriate language (grammar and lexis)

  • critically evaluate their own and others’ writing

  • distinguish between what is expected, structurally and linguistically, in the different elements of a Dissertation text, i.e. the Abstract, Introduction, Literature Review, Method, Results, Discussion & Conclusion

  • write a clear, focused and effective Psychology Dissertation text

Assessable learning outcomes:


Additional outcomes:


Outline content:

Classes will have the following foci:

  • The key coursework assignment genres in Psychology, e.g. the Essay and Critical Review, including:

    • expected structural & argumentation patterns and how these differ according to task type 

    • reading-to-write and source use and synthesis processes

    • how ‘voice’ and ‘stance’ are realised linguistically within target genres

  • Key skills useful to all academic writing within Psychology:

    • incorporating and citing sources appropriately

    • ‘information flow’ in English-language texts

    • employing linguistic features of textual cohesion to clearly signal relationships between parts of a text

    • Grammar for academic communication, including verb tense and form, nominalisation, clause and sentence structure. 

  • Dissertation Writing Skills:

    • Writing the Introduction: establishing the relevance of your research focus, identifying your research niche, and outlining the purpose and structure of your thesis.

    • Reviewing the literature: comparing/contrasting and synthesising the ideas of other scholars and establishing your own stance within an ongoing academic debate.

    • Writing about methods: explaining and justifying methodological choices and describing research tools and processes.

    • Writing about results: describing and analysing research findings.

    • Discussion in a Dissertation: interpreting and evaluating results and engaging with the wider scholarly debates related to your research project.

    • Writing your conclusion: identifying key research outcomes, and talking about implications, limitations, and potential future research

    • Writing the Abstract: succinctly and accurately summarising the key points of your dissertation text

Global context:

This module supports internationalisation at Reading by facilitating successful and equal inclusion of students whose first language is not English in UK degree programme study.  

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module will adopt an overall ‘genre’ approach, taking the social purpose of texts as the starting point to explicate organisation/structure and key discourse and language features.

It takes a discipline-specific approach to language and literacy development using example student texts and published Psychology-specific sources in classroom tasks. 

Teaching will be learner-centred, taking a task-based approach to analysis of example t exts from the target genres, guided ‘noticing’ of key organisational and linguistic features in context, and exercises practicing use of relevant lexical/grammatical items. 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 8 8
Guided independent study: 0 0 0
Total hours by term 8 0 8
Total hours for module 16

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage

Summative assessment- Examinations:


Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:


Formative assessment methods:


Penalties for late submission:


Assessment requirements for a pass:


Reassessment arrangements:


Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

1) Required text books: 

2) Specialist equipment or materials: 

3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear: 

4) Printing and binding: 

5) Computers and devices with a particular specification: 

6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence: 

Last updated: 22 September 2022


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