Core Studies 2 (part a question)


Unit 2541: Core Studies 2 (1 hour)


The core studies 2 paper covers the same 20 core studies as Core studies 1 but tests your understanding of research methods, themes and perspectives. You have one hour to answer one question from section A and one question from section B.

Part A

In this section you will be given a choice of two questions – you must only answer one.  Below is an example of a Part A essay question. 


One way in which psychologists carry out research is by gathering a great deal of data about one individual.  This method is known as the case study.



Choose one of the core studies listed below and answer the following questions.



Freud (Little Hans)
Thigpen and Cleckley (multiple personality disorder)
Gardner and Gardner (Project Washoe)






Describe how the case study method was used in your chosen study






Using examples, give two strengths and two weaknesses of the case study as used in your chosen study






Suggest one alternative way your study could have been investigated and say how you think this might affect the results









For the three parts of the question, you need to refer to one of the studies mentioned (you must refer to the same question in each of the parts).


The distribution of marks is as follows:


Part A (6 Marks): Asks you to describe the method, sample, etc. To gain the full 6 marks, you need to demonstrate a substantial understanding, good written standards and appropriate use of psychological terminology.


Part B (12 Marks): Asks you for two strengths and two weaknesses OR four problems. These should be directly relevant to the chosen study, and illustrated with examples. You can gain a total of three marks for each point – 1 mark for identifying a relevant point, 1 mark for an example and 1 mark for an evaluation or comment.   (point example comment)


Part C (8 Marks): Asks you to suggest alternative methods, samples, etc and to comment on the effect of this change.  You can gain a total of 4 marks for the alternative approach and 4 marks for your discussion of the effect.


         Make sure you read the three sub-questions and ensure you can answer them with your chosen study before you start writing.

         Make sure you think about what you are going to write before each paragraph – top mark-bands require a good written standard.

         You need to subtitle each section to show whether you are answering part A, B or C.

         A good tactic is to start a new paragraph for each block of marks (for instance, start a new paragraph for each strength and weakness) – this will show the examiner where you are gaining marks.





More Stuff

More pages.

And A Bit More Stuff

Some more pages.

















How to do PEC


P - A general point (positive or negative) that can apply to any study.


E - An example to illustrate the point from the chosen study (section A) or from the four studies (section B).


C - A comment, implication or evaluative point. A ‘so what’.


As you are required to discuss, the point must be explained not merely identified;

the example must be explained and not just stated;

the comment must be explained to show understanding and not just stated.