Assignment 2 requires you to demonstrate your ability to compare and contrast different perspectives within psychology, focusing on two psychological approaches to understanding and researching self-esteem. The theories, research and real-world applications relating to those psychological approaches have been explored in the Week 7 material. The key theoretical approaches to understanding and researching selfesteem that you are asked to compare and contrast approach selfesteem as (a) a cognitive attitude or (b) the product of sociocultural factors via self-objectification. The key to succeeding within this assignment is to focus on selecting materials that identify points of clear similarity and difference between these two approaches. Command words The command words in this essay are compare and contrast. These words direct you to find some points of common ground between the two psychological approaches (compare) and show where or how they differ (contrast). You need to go beyond providing descriptions of each of the approaches and instead focus on explicitly comparing and contrasting them to draw out the key similarities and differences in their concepts, theoretical approaches, assumptions and methods. The other command word is illustrate. This tells you that you will need to select appropriate theories and research examples (e.g. studies) from across the Week 7 material to demonstrate the points you are making. Tips for writing As part of your essay planning, you will first need to assess the two psychological approaches. These are distinct from common-sense or selfhelp approaches. In your answer you need to identify and outline the key similarities and differences between the two psychological approaches to self-esteem that you have been directed to write about. A risk in a ‘compare and contrast’ essay such as this is being too descriptive in outlining the things you are comparing, without explicitly highlighting and explaining their similarities and differences. You should keep in mind that you are being assessed on your ability to ‘compare and contrast’, and this should be the main focus of your essay. While you will need to briefly outline each psychological approach, you should not spend too much time on description. You may find it useful to start by providing a brief, more general definition or description of ‘self-esteem’ before going on to cover points of similarity and difference between the two psychological approaches to understanding and researching it. You should conclude your essay with a summary of your discussion, and a final statement in relation to the question set. Relevant materials Chapter 4, ‘Self-Esteem You are introduced to the RSES in Section 2.1 and psychological definitions of self-esteem can be found in Section 3.1 of Chapter 4. You may find both these sections helpful when setting out your terms in the introduction of your essay. You will also, of course, find the main content sections of Chapter 4 useful. Chapter 4, Section 3.3 covers psychological explanations of self-esteem as a cognitive attitude. It discusses Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale and shows how this approach has contributed to an understanding of cognitive bias. Chapter 4, Section 5 offers a sociocultural psychological explanation. It relates self-esteem to self-objectification. The section includes discussion of several empirical studies including the work of Calogero. The Week 7 online material is also likely to support the development of your essay. In particular, Section 2.1 examines Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale, which is used to measure self-esteem as a cognitive attitude. Finally Week 7, Section 5.1 offers some critique of the RSES. The discussion of self-report questionnaires (including the RSES) in Week 7, Section 6 may also be useful for this essay