Risk Perception, Assessment and Communication

The Institute of Risk Management says “Risk perception is a highly personal process of decision making,
based on an individual’s frame of reference developed over a lifetime, among many other factors.”
With regard to this, critically evaluate key socio-psychological factors that can influence people’s
perception of a risk that is appropriate to your programme of study.
The essay should be written in Arial 12 point text with 1.5 spacing between lines (Line spacing in tables
can be spaced as appropriate).
Marking Criteria:
1) Introduction (5%)
2) Identification of socio psychological factors influencing the perception of risk (30%)
3) a. Critical evaluation of key theories that underpin people’s perception of risk, (25%)
b. Developing arguments that highlight the strengths and weaknesses of them (25%)
4) Conclusion (5%)
5) Referencing of sources in Harvard referencing style (5%)
6) Writing (Format, Structure, Language) (5%)
Note: In addition to the above marking criteria students will be assessed with reference to the generic
marking criteria in the Academic Handbook


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An essay has a simple and straightforward format:
Main body – discussion
List of sources (the Reference List)
Another way to describe the structure of an essay is:
Tell them what you’re going to tell them
Tell them
Tell them what you’ve told them (and what was significant about it all)
1. Introduction
What is risk perception? What does the literature say about it? Tell them what you’re going
to tell them.
2. Critical Evaluation of socio psychological factors influencing the perception of risk
3/4 factors or more? Introduce them in turn and then critically evaluate them.
2.1…. What is it? What does the literature say about it?
2.2…. What is it? What does the literature say about it?
3. Critical Evaluation of key theories that underpin people’s perception of risk
Which theories are you going to discuss? Introduce them in turn and then critically
evaluate them.
3.1 Introduce it, what is it? What does the literature say about it?
What are the strengths and weaknesses of it? What does the literature say about its
strengths and weaknesses?
3.2 Introduce it, what is it? What does the literature say about it?
What are the strengths and weaknesses of it? What does the literature say about its
strengths and weaknesses?

4. A Risk Taking Behaviour in Your Field of Study
Introduce it. What is it that people do in your profession that puts either themselves or
others at risk? Illustration of where this has been demonstrated. This should not be a long
couple of paragraphs.
5. Application of Theory Above to Introduced Risk Taking Behaviour
Using the theories above that you have critically evaluated, try to explain why people might
take the risk you have identified.
6. Conclusion
A general discussion of what you have found. Do not introduce anything new that you have
not written above in this section. You are summing up what you have already said.
Reference List
You must use Harvard style for this. If you don’t know what this is, go to the library pages of
the CMU website and look up referencing in the academic skills section. There are lots of
resources that will help you to do this properly.


In General
Several of you failed because you lifted large parts of the writing directly from other people’s
writing. It is what is known as ‘Unfair Academic Practice’ to do this. It is not enough just to
change the odd word here and there and hope you’ll get it through, you won’t. They system
is very sophisticated and picks up everything.
This is helpful for some; read a passage or a paper, then put it down so you can’t see it. Try
to explain what it says to a friend or family member. You are paraphrasing in your own
words and not reading it word for word to another person. That’s what you should do for
your essays.
You must answer the question set; it is not good enough just to write what you want to write
about. This was another reason people failed, because they wrote about something that
didn’t answer the question set.
You must use citation throughout; in general, if you make a statement, you need to cite it. If
you don’t know how to cite, there is further information on the library website of CMU, as
with referencing.

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