Critiquing a Comparative Expository Essay
This (slightly abridged) essay was written as a stand-alone literature review essay, but exhibits the main qualities of a good comparative essay, which sets out both to inform and to evaluate. It is not argumentative, but neither is it purely informative or explanatory.
Task: Read through the essay and
1. Fill in the key blanks in the introduction (do this by reading the next 3 paragraphs)
2. Evaluate the essay for its structure and its organisation
[Extracts: "Etc." shows where the text was cut]
Introduction (all): Psychologists have long been interested in the topics of buying and shopping behaviour. Some major perspectives in psychology such as behaviourism and cognitivism have formulated different theories to explain buying motivation and behaviour. The _____________ stress the process of operant conditioning and individuals history of reinforcement, while the _______________ approach puts its accent on individuals free will and intentional, voluntary action. The views of these two perspectives can be examined in terms of the _______ ___ _________ ________ and the _________ ___ __________.
Para. 2 With regard to the nature of buying behaviour, the behaviourists consider it as a response to a reinforcer. One of the famous behaviourists, Alhadeff (1982), represents buying behaviour as the outcome of the relative strengths of conflicting approach and escape behaviours, each of which is determined by its own reinforcers. Etc. On the other hand, the cognitive perspective views buying behaviour as more voluntary, rational and intentional in nature rather than mere response to the environment. People buy what they want to buy and their reasons for buying embrace "whatever consideration induced, inclined, weighed with or decided them to buy" (Beck, 1975). Etc.
Para. 3: Based on their different conception about the nature of buying behaviour, the behaviourist and the cognitive theorists have different views on the process of choice when buying. The behaviourists propose that consumer choice begins with an external stimulus such as an advertising message or word-of-mouth communication. Etc. However, the cognitive psychologists adopt a different approach to explain the process of choice. They consider the choice of buying as a rule-following behaviour Etc.
Para. 4 (all): To the behaviourists, therefore, choice of buying is simply a behaviour, the only way of acting in a given set of circumstances defined in terms of controlling contingencies. On the other hand, the cognitive theorists present choice of buying as an outcome of internal, mental deliberation and psychological decision. Actually, although the behaviourists and the cognitive theorists have different ideas of the content of choice, they do share similar view on the unconscious feature of choice (rather involuntary response to discriminative stimulus and the following of rules).
Conclusion (all) : To conclude, the behaviouristic and cognitive perspectives may have certain strengths as well as weaknesses in their arguments. The behavioural perspective gives a clear and concrete picture of consumer behaviour, with the manifest account of reinforcement contingencies and the effects of environmental factors. However, it attributes buying behaviour solely to environmental stimuli and finds no explanation of consumers perceptions, curiosity, attitudes and intentions which we do observe to exist in real life. The cognitive approach, on the contrary, places a strong emphasis on individuals free will, intention and purpose. However, the explanation of the choice of purchase is criticized to be too mechanistic since the decision to buy is described to undergo consideration of many reasons and social factors and the actual decision may not be so complex every time. On the whole, the two perspectives can be studied in complement (relation?) to each other and their different claims have contributed much to our understanding of buying behaviour.
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