The essay is designed to reflect learning objectives 1, 2, and 4. Thus, the essay should be written to demonstrate your functional and critical knowledge of major facets of forensic psychology. This requires you to demonstrate a capacity to engage in research that develops your understanding of the theories and applications that are presented in the forensic psychology literature.
Below is a list of potential films to review for your essay. It is not an exhaustive list of feature films in the area of courtroom drama, criminal activity or forensic psychology, yet it represents a number of films that deal with major themes in the forensic psychology course. You are required to watch ONE film from this list and discuss how the theories and applications of forensic psychology covered during the course have been applied within the movie. To potentially receive a high grade, the focus of your paper will be on the observed practices and issues relevant to forensic psychology rather than on the characters, plot or theme of the movie. Your essay must address a specific set of questions relating to aspects of criminal behaviours, the victims, and the police and courtroom procedures within the film. These questions are listed below.
You must address each question bellow (questions 1 – 6), but not every sub-item within each question. The sub-items are provided as things to think about only – it’s better to focus on the most relevant elements of each question as these will vary depending on the chosen film.
1. Was there a forensic psychologist or other psychologist in the film?
If so, what was this person’s role (in the case, not in the film) and how effective were they? If not, discuss how a forensic psychologist might have contributed to the legal proceedings beyond that portrayed in the film (if at all). Were there any other expert witnesses? What were their roles?
2. What is the role of the police or law enforcement in the film?
Were the police effective in their role? What forensic psychology factors can be applied to the police training, procedures, or other factors? If there is no obvious role of the police or law enforcement in the film, discuss how forensic psychology might be applied to the role of the police or law enforcement in the case (for the purposes of this assignment, you should consider military police or other investigators where relevant, including investigations carried out by the legal team).
3. Discuss forensic psychology factors relating to any investigation that was conducted.
For example, was there an interrogation? Was a confession obtained? How was any deception detected (if there was any)? What more could (or should) have been done and how could forensic psychology have contributed to this process? What kind of evidence was relied upon and how reliable or valid was this evidence? How reliable were any eye-witness testimonies that were presented? What kind of identification protocols were used and how could they have been improved?
4. What was the role of the Judge or Jury in the proceedings?
Discuss any factors relevant to forensic psychology that might have impacted upon Judge or Juror selection or decision making.
5. Where there any competency or mental illness issues that needed to be considered?
If so, how were these handled? If not, what kinds of considerations could the court or investigators have made?
6. Who were the victims and the accused?
Discuss any psychological factors regarding the victim(s) and the accused (defendants) that may have contributed to the crime, to the proceedings, or to the verdict. Was justice served? Was truth served?
FILMS FOR REVIEW (select one only)
Primal Fear (1996)
A time to kill (1996)
to kill a mockingbird (1962)
A movie or tv series of student’s choice. Course Coordinator’s approval MUST be sought for this option, with a clear outline of the relevance of the movie.
Ensure any statements you make in answer to each question are supported by references from peer reviewed literature.
Clearly indicate, using subheadings, where each question has been answered. Answer the questions in order.
Conciseness and brevity are preferred over verboseness.
Note that 3000 words is the maximum upper limit for this assignment. Content exceeding this word limit will not be read or considered towards your final grade, with no exceptions.
·Title. A concise yet informative title must be given to your essay. For the purpose of this assignment, you may simply choose to identify the film you have reviewed and the character – e.g., 12 Angry Men: A Review of Forensic Psychology in Jury Decisions. You need a Title Page following APA guidelines as your first page (but no university cover page is required due to the electronic submission).
·Abstract. An abstract is required for this assignment and its length is expected to be around 150-300 words. The same principles of writing an abstract for a research report apply. The aim or purpose of the essay is stated; the major theme and main arguments or points are to be highlighted; and the conclusions could also be summarised. The abstract should be on a separate page after the title page (part of the essay), headed as Abstract.
·Introduction. A brief description of the area to be discussed along with clearly stated themes / aims of the essay and possibly your main arguments and, if necessary, specific terms or concepts, are to be provided in this section. The essence is to provide sufficient information for the readers to grasp what this essay is about and what they can expect to read throughout the body of your essay. In essence, you should outline the intention of your argument. A heading as such (Introduction) is not necessary. This section should contain a couple of paragraphs only.
·Body. This is the main part of an essay following the introduction. For the purpose of this piece of assessment, the body of your essay should be a clear presentation of responses to the questions stated above. The most important structural concern is the organisation of the materials. All relevant materials shall be systematically organised into a coherent, logical, and integrated presentation. Whichever specific strategy you use, if the readers could be convinced that your themes have been well articulated and arguments well grounded whether they agree or disagree with your viewpoint, then your essay would be a successful one. Please note, in general a smooth flow through appropriate arrangement of paragraphs is helpful to achieve that goal. While it is expected that your essay will have a logical, cohesive structure with clear links between paragraphs, it is required that you use subheadings to identify your responses to each set question.
·Conclusion. Now that you have presented the body of the essay to convey to the readers the thesis of your essay, you should make a summary of the main points to conclude your work. This usually consists of no more than two paragraphs.
·References. Be aware that in psychology assignment, the term ‘References’, not Bibliography, is used. This is a required section. The list of references reflects the extent of your readings. An essay with only one reference (such as just your textbook) is not sufficient in most cases, yet, an extremely lengthy references list with many irrelevant sources is not appropriate either. There is no set number of references required. However, it is unlikely that a very convincing argument can be made with fewer that around 6-10 supporting citations.
·Style. Use APA style (6th edition). This includes reference citation format, language usage, grammatical rules, and so on. Please check with your APA Manual if you have any doubts.
Essay grading weighting
Title/Abstract, Introduction, Conclusion
6 questions, 10% per question
Style and presentation
References in Text
References in Reference List
Grammar and Spelling
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