Comments blog wythnos 5

Should Psychology be written for the layman or should science be exclusive for scientists?

The topic of my blog this week is in regards to wether or not I believe the field of Psychology should be modified when necessary in order to simplify certain concepts in order to allow the population who do not pursue an interest in social science to obtain a deeper understanding. As a student that’s been studying Psychology for the last year and a half, I now feel like I can read a psychological journal and understand exactly what the study involved and what findings the results section demonstrate. However if I would not have experienced that year and a half of practice I do not believe I would have the slightest idea on how to make sense of the paper due to the complex psychological terms, statistical inferences and the structure in which it would have been written.

Personally I believe that it is important for people who do not necessarily study or expertise in Psychology to have a general understanding of what the field involves. Furthermore I believe that the results that are obtained by some research studies can be generalised to the general population and therefore by obtaining a stronger knowledge about the basic concepts of Psychology, the general public would benefit. For example, Asch (1951) demonstrated an increase in the likelyhood of conformity in an environment where a large number of peers were also present. These findings can be generalised to the vast population and therefore if an ordinary individual was to take the findings of this research experiment into consideration, it could possibly have a positive influence in the sense that the individual would have a deeper understanding of his/her behaviours and actions.

To conclude although I do agree that as a Psychology student, scientific writing and follwing guidelines such as the APA is very important in the sense that it gives every student a structure in which to base research reports upon, I also believe that simplified versions of ground-breaking research studies such as Asch’s study on conformity were to be available in order for the general public to read and fully understand. I believe that understanding and obtaining explanaitions of why different behaviours and actions occur can only be beneficial regardless of wether the individual in question was an aspiring psychologist or not.

Are blogs useful as a teaching and/or learning method?

Some would argue that asking Psychology students at Bangor University to write weekly blogs about an unsystematic Psychological topic can be an effective learning method as students are entailed to consider various specific topics that they perhaps would not be required to think about normally. However, others would criticise that writing casual weekly blogs is not considered to be a very scientific form of teaching. Magg (2005) claimed that the use of blogs is not well documented as an effective educational method in educating nurses, however Krause (2005) declared his beliefs that publishing weekly blogs are beneficial to student education. He claimed that blogs have a significant potential in education as a site to gather discussions and different opinions on a topic and also as a support system for academic conferences. 

Personally being a student in a situation where I am required to write a weekly blog about a Psychological topic, I agree that blog writing can be an effective learning tool in the sense that it requires the student to explore topics that they perhaps would not come across usually. However I believe that there are more successful ways in educating students about behaviour and Psychological matters. For example, Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory demonstrates the importance of learning through observation. This is exhibited in his ”Bobo the doll” experiments in which participants learn and imitate behaviours they have observed in other people. Therefore an example of perhaps an effective method of teaching would be to show a film of an experimental study being conducted and then asking the students to imitate the researchers and participants’ behaviours in small groups.

To conclude, I agree from a teacher’s point of view that asking students to publish weekly blogs about a subject is an effective way of teaching because of the research requirements. However, as a student I find this method of learning to be rather tedious and ineffective yet I do find that reading fellow students’ discussions on points of views that oppose to my personal opinions to be informative and useful as I am then obliged to consider my own beliefs in different aspects.