2 Aims Develops employability skills, including project management. Specifically designed to aid transition to higher education and the world of work by stretching and challenging you.Also equips you with the research, reflection and independent study skills they will need to succeed at university.
3 Employability skillsStudents can also gain valuable project management skillsthat companies are really looking for when recruiting.Indeed the skills of planning, self management of learning,collecting and analysing data, reviewing and evaluating willenhance your personal aspirations and careerdevelopment.Skills are what universities and employers are looking forand what some students lack. The emphasis is onskills should prepare you for a better future.
4 What are you required to do? Select a topic / area of interestIdentify and draft aims of your project and justify their choices of projectPlan, research and carry out your projectProvide evidence of all stages of the projectDeliver a presentation to a specified audience
5 What should the written report contain? The written report or record is likely to contain the following:• sources of and range of information accessed.• details of the range of skills used including, whereappropriate, new technologies and/or access to e-learningmaterials.• historical or other research.• details of the design, knowledge, understanding and skillsused to complete the tasks or activities of the project, eg anexperiment, a construction, a performance or researchinterviews .• a conclusion to include an evaluation of the outcomes ofthe project, an evaluation of own performance of learning anddecision-making.
6 Can I include supporting material with my project? Depending on the subject area or topic chosen, a variety ofevidence may be submitted for assessment. Evidence can beprovided in any form appropriate to the type of project chosen, andmay include:• an artefact, model or construction• a CD/video/DVD of performances or activities• an audiotape/multimedia presentation• a journal of activities or events• a slide or PowerPoint presentation• a photographic record of the project.
7 • All students must submit a written report for assessment of between 1000 and 5000 words. The exact length of each writtenreport will depend on the nature of the project, the subject areaor topic chosen and the other evidence provided.• A project which consists solely of written work should beapproximately 5000 words, for example an investigation,exploration of a hypothesis or extended essay or academicreport. Projects where the majority of the evidence is provided inother formats should include a report or record of workundertaken which is at least 1000 words.
8 What will you be assessed on? MANAGEIdentify, design, plan and complete the taskapply organisational skills and strategiesUSE RESOURCESObtain and select informationUse a range of sourcesAnalyse dataDemonstrate any connections
9 What will you be assessed on? DEVELOP AND REALISEUse a range of skills including new technologiesSolve problemsTake decisionsAchieve planned outcomesREVIEWEvaluate outcomesEvaluate your own learning and performanceUse a range of communication skills and media to present outcomes and conclusions
12 A dissertationThis should be about 5,000 words, but do notworry if it is slightly over or under this number.It may contain maps, diagrams, data andillustrations if necessary. You may have appendicesif you wish, but they should be of real importance and should not formmore than 20 per cent of the total. Do not use appendices to show off alist of facts you have discovered which do not add anything to the projectin terms of your skills.A dissertation should contain:■ an introduction■ a table of contents with page references■ the main body of the dissertation■ any works cited listed in a bibliography (which may have comments onthe value of the resources used. They need not necessarily only bewritten sources, as interviews could be an equally important resource).
13 Factors which lead to successful dissertations Do not treat the project as a conventional piece of coursework.Remember, content itself is not marked. The project will be judged onyour ability to do the following successfully:■ Manage a project, thinking of a broad topic and a title (in that order),planning and preparing for the project, acquiring new skills (research,data use, etc.) (20 per cent of the marks).■ Use sensibly and think critically about a wide rangeof resources – not just a couple of text books andWikipedia (20 per cent of the marks).■ Develop and realise: this means writing thedissertation after you have completed the research,checking it carefully and submitting it on time. Youmust give your school/college time to assess it properly (40 per centof the marks).■ Review the whole project. Demonstrate clearly that you havecontinuously reflected on what you have done. Did you change title?Did you change format? Did you change the focus of the project? If so,why? On reflection was it a good idea? What would you do better nexttime? What have you learned to do or avoid doing? (20 per cent of themarks).You should keep good records of all aspects of the project, not just notestaken for the ‘content’ part. Remember that the content itself is not themost important thing; marks are awarded for demonstrating skills.
14 Successful dissertations ■ are based on something that interests you personally■ are based on a hypothesis or question, e.g. ‘How successful was WinstonChurchill as Chancellor of the Exchequer?’, rather than ‘The cause of13Project formatsModerator’s hintYou may do a project on some aspect ofPhysics if you are doing Physics A Level,but it must clearly be an ‘extension’ ofyour A Level studies.Moderators are lookingfor evidence of a widerange of resources.14the collapse of Northern Rock’. The latter type can end up as tediouslists which do not demonstrate your skills■ are not done because they might be useful for your A Level/Diplomaand were suggested by someone else. They are done because you wantto work on that topic■ demonstrate your own enterprise and initiative, planning and projectmanagement skills, not just your willingness to sit in a library and readbooks.Less successful dissertations■ are weighed down in detail and focused on content – like coursework■ provide little evidence of the skills for which marks are awarded, such asplanning■ are obviously reworked parts of the A Level course■ have a limited range of resources used:just a couple of textbooks and Wikipedia■ are done in the wrong format; adissertation instead of a report■ have no review/evaluation.
15 With Dissertations, the best way of focusing the objective of the project is to put it in the form ofa question. Learners are more likely to progress if they can identify a specific question within abroad field of learning. For example, if learners are interested in contemporary art, they mightchoose to focus on the work of a particular artist, such as Tracey Emin, and aska specific question(‘Does Tracey Emin’s work show that art is more about ideas than beauty?’).
16 Artefacts might be produced in response to a design brief: a specification of the role or function the Artefact has to fulfil (eg ‘Design and build a portable high chair for children’, ‘Produce apiece of graphic communication to support the aims of a charity or campaign’)OR - a self-generated brief or a commission (eg ‘Design a mural or piece of public sculpture tocelebrate an event or achievement related to a specific site’).
17 An artefactThis could be something you have made or designed. The possible rangeis vast: it could be artwork, a costume for a play, a working model, aneducational game. It could be a design or a series of designs; the wholeidea is to give you the maximum scope possible. If in any doubt about theformat, contact your awarding body about it. There have been caseswhere the student was discouraged from doing an artefact because theirschool or college was worried about the student going into areas beyondthe experience/expertise of the supervisors and the college. Usually theseworries were totally unnecessary.
18 Successful artefacts have included the following: ■ a dress■ sculpture■ computer programs■ building designs■ steam engines.You will need to submit a written report with your artefact, at about1,500 words. Some of those words may be in the form of a commentaryon different parts of the designs. No one is going to count the wordscarefully if you are clearly meeting the assessment criteria. You can use thisreport to meet the AO1, AO2 and AO4 criteria, demonstrating thefollowing skills:1 Planning: for example, how you anticipated problems, obtained theright resources at the right time.2 Critically using the ‘wide range of resources’.3 Reviewing and evaluating.
19 AO3 should be covered by the artefact itself. Your artefact will be judged on your ability to do the following:■ Manage the whole project, from the initial idea stage through tocompletion. Strong evidence of your planning will be critical here.■ Use a wide range of resources critically. The resources could range frominterviews through to the designs of other artefacts, or secondary andprimary sources. The potential list is vast and the type of resources willdepend very largely on the nature of the project.■ Complete the artefact in a specified time. There have been cases wherethe actual artefact has not been completed but there was enoughevidence (such as photographic) of the processfor marks to be gained.■ Review and evaluate the whole process. Whatworked? Why? What did not? Why not? Whatwas learned? What would or would not berepeated next time?
20 Successful artefact-based projects: ■ are well planned (good planning is perhaps more important and agreater challenge in this format than in the others)■ involve the anticipation and learning of necessary skills (for example, arcwelding, reading French)■ demonstrate the individuality and enterprise of the student■ reach outside the conventional educational ‘box’■ have a high level of review and evaluation.Less successful artefact-based projects:■ have bright ideas but bad planning■ do not achieve the timescale■ discover too late that the acquisition of a certain skill is vital to completethe project■ do not think through the transition from the bright idea to actualartefact■ expect too much help from others.
21 Performances may also be produced in response to a stimulus question (eg ‘How far can people with a mental illness be held responsible for their actions?’), where the question focuses andguides the development of performer research, development of script ideas, selection oftheatrical techniques and choice of stage setting and publicity materials.
22 A productionAs with the other formats, there is ahuge range of possibilities here. It couldbe a play, a film, a concert, a DVD, an event. Again, if you are not sure,contact OCR for advice. Remember what it is being assessed: if your planning, researching,evaluation, etc. is perfect, but you forget your lines in the performance ofa play which you have written and in which you have the lead role, markswill not necessarily be deducted (although you might want to reflect onyour line-learning skills and how to deal with pressure for AO4!).This project format will be judged on your ability to do the following:■ Plan the production: did you allow sufficient time to rehearse?■ Use a wide range of resources critically.■ Deliver the production.■ Reflect and evaluate on the whole process. What went well, and why?What did not, and why? What would you do better next time?
23 Successful productions: ■ manage to translate the bright idea into an actual production withoutharming the essential ‘creativity’ behind it■ are realistic, downsizing as necessary■ remember the assessment criteria: a stunning piece of film-making ormusic-writing will not achieve an A grade without the productiondemonstrating your planning, investigation and evaluation skills■ take the written report seriously. It should not be a rushed afterthoughtwhich neglects evidence of your skills. The production itself does notalways display the skills required, particularly to a lay audience.Less successful productions:■ do not actually happen: the idea simply does not translate into practice■ forget what is being assessed. You might be the next Steven Spielberg,but if there is no evidence of planning or no report you will not gainhigh marks■ lack evidence of planning and resource use. If you are writing a playthen you must still demonstrate your research and evaluation skills■ become the vehicle for one person’s ego, or disintegrate over personalityclashes■ do not provide evidence of individual contributions and skills within agroup production.
24 Section Number of words Total word countDissertation60005000Performance3000Artefact1500/3000Abstract/ summary /100Introduction /400Research Review /900Discussion/Development/Analysis/1350Conclusion /250Bibliography NorecommendationNoAppendices (PPF, activityrecords, raw data)
27 Mentoring Can be held as regularly as necessary for the student Mentors do not have to be subject-specialistsMentors act as supervisors and guide students but do NOT spoon-feed them. Students need to take risks, make decisions and solve problems by themselves
29 What to do first?• What areas are you interested in doing your Extended Projecton?• Can you put together a title that will allow you to investigateand to access the higher-level concepts and skills in the learningoutcomes and assessment objectives, i.e. plan, research, analyse,evaluate and explain, rather than simply describe and narrate?• Are the title and proposed action clear and focused on anissue which can be managed within the timescale, availableresources and word total?• Do the title and proposed action indicate that you will becapable of investigating and researching the topic or carrying outthe activity or task independently?• Is there a danger that you will be unable to approach theproject impartially and in a balanced way?
32 What makes a good title? Personal Interest The choice of the title for an Extended Project is important as it sets the scene foreverything that follows. The first thing to bear in mind is that the Extended ProjectQualification (EPQ) is designed to provide students with an opportunity to select aproject which genuinely interests them. It could be that the topic they want towork on has a link to their plans for future work or study, or it could be a personalinterest or hobby that provides the rationale for the project. A good first question,for students who have no idea at all, is to ask them what they are thinking of doingafter their project is complete, then suggest that they choose something whichlinks to this. If, for example, they hope to go on to study a course in psychology atuniversity, it would make sense for them to work on a research question which hasa psychological aspect. Or if they hope to go on to train to be an engineer, anengineering artefact would be a sensible choice. This may seem obvious, but itisn’t always clear to students that it is worth making a connection to theirpotential future areas of work or study.
33 Thinking about the Outcome In thinking about whether or not a title is a good one it is important to consider thesort of project which it is likely to lead to. Whatever the outcome, all projectshave to involve a process of planning, researching, developing and reviewing. Theemphasis in the assessment criteria is very much on the fact that a project is aprocess. That process, at Level 3, should occupy around 80 guided learning hours oftime, and should include ideas, techniques, theories and vocabulary which are ofLevel 3 standard. There should be some sophistication to the work. So, someimmediate questions to ask of a student when they first come up with an idea for atitle are as follows:
34 Is this something which will lead to a project taking around 80 hours worth of work?Some projects are simply too ambitious; more commonly, students chose taskswhich can be done in much less time.Is it something which will need to be carefully planned?Sometimes, students choose projects which are essentially nothing more than tasks(e.g. “ I want to find out what I need to do to become a nurse”; “ I want to learnto play a new song on my guitar”; “ I will make some posters for our school trip”).The EPQ is designed to challenge students to develop their skills in managing timeand resources. They should choose projects which require significant planning,leading to a process of research and development, rather than simply being tasks.Is the project something for which research is going to be necessary?In all units of the qualification, the research base is central. It is the platform fromwhich successful project development work can be launched. As with therequirement for planning, if a student opts to do a straight-forward task, there willbe nothing to research, and it will be hard to meet the requirement to use researchresources. Suppose that a student decides that her project will be to record herselfplaying some rock music. This would be a poor choice of objective, since noresearch will be involved.Will the project involve substantial development work in order that the chosenobjectives are met?AO3 (the development and realisation criterion) is worth 44% of the marks. Interms of time allocation, that corresponds to around 35 hours worth of work. If astudent has chosen as their title a question which could be answered by writing ashort essay, it will not constitute a worthwhile Extended Project.
35 Will the student be able to evaluate their project once complete? The evaluation, or review, involves asking how successful the project has been.One part of this involves discussing the extent to which the initial objectives havebeen met. This means that the objectives need to be clear and specific. If thechosen objectives are vague, it will not be possible at the end to enter into ameaningful discussion of the extent to which they have been met. Suppose astudent chooses to ‘design an advert’. This objective is too vague; there is nospecification of what is to be advertised, or where the advert will be used, orwhom the target audience is. It will therefore be impossible to evaluate thesuccess of the advert. By contrast, consider a student who chooses to ‘design aseries of short documentary-style advertisements to heighten awareness of therequirements that employers face under the Disability Discrimination Act’. This is ahighly specific, focused design brief containing within itself the criteria forevaluation (Were the advertisements made? Were they in an appropriate format?Were they suitable for the target audience? Did they have the desired effect whenshown to a test audience? etc)
37 Sample project titles“Is it ethical to genetically engineer babies for designer purposes?”“Can you believe in God and the Big Bang?”“What role does comedy have in serious culture?”“Is the only aim of business to make maximum profit?”“What are the long term health effects of binge drinking?”“Is wi-fi safe?”“How useful is Feminist interpretation of fairy tales?”“Is Marxism still relevant in this post-modern world?”“Have reality TV programmes spawned a generation obsessed with fame?”“Are soap operas an accurate reflection of the way we live?”“Would the vote be beneficial for year olds?”“Can music influence crime rates?”“How do role models influence out body image?”“Has globalisation led to an increase on the exploitation of female workers?”“Is censorship justified?”“Is Shakespeare still relevant?”“Is freedom of speech a fundamental human right?”“Does anyone have the right to have children?”“Is it ethical to have a child for the purpose of saving another child’s life?”
38 Project Proposal Form• The student’s choice of question/hypothesis/commission or brief• A rationale for the project• Identification of skills• Objectives• Activities• Resources
39 Once you have worked through the above stages, complete page 4 of you Production Log (copy on school website) andarrange a meeting with your supervisor to discuss it.After this meeting you will be able to complete pages 5 and8 of the
40 Hints• Keep you Extended Project under control – don’t get sidetrackedor think ‘I’ll put it off until next week’.• Keep your topic/ research question manageable – within thetime available and your skills.• Keep it in perspective – the Extended Project is worth thesame UCAS point score as any AS Level – this can and will helpyour future education/career.• It should be approximately 5000 words – this may seem long,but in fact is only about 12 sides A4.• You are unlikely to change the world with your EP – you arenot expected to write something totally original, just something newto you.• It should be on a topic that interests you, and that you want tofind out more about.• Follow the guidelines in the learning Log – remember thisforms part of the assessment.• Keep checking the assessment criteria to make sure that yourproject will fulfil the requirements.• Stick to deadlines – they are there to help you – promise!
42 Step one – Action plan Use the SMARTER code to help you: Specific -What exactly will you do?Measurable -how will you know you’vesucceeded?Achievable -is it realistic?Resourced -have you allocated enoughtime? Have you enoughinformation?Timetabled -by when will you achieve eachstep?Evaluated -keep checking if you are ontrackReviewed -sometimes changedcircumstances mean amodification in the goal isnecessary
43 Step two - Research Scan reading: • First flick through a textbook/article – scanning• Look at the index• Look at the headlines• Look at the pictures• Look at any summaries at the beginning or end of chapters• Stop and glance at anything that interests youJot down anything you already know – key words.Produce a mind map to develop ideas further.Always make notes and ask yourself questions.Analysis -Interrogate the author – ask questions as you arereading:• How do I know this is true?• If it is true, what else follows?• Is the conclusion justified?• What assumptions are being made?• Is this fact or opinion?• What’s the evidence? If it’s fact, is it always true? If it’sopinion, can I trust the source?• Can I think of any (better) examples to illustrate theargument?• Is this logical?• What personal opinion or conclusion can I draw from this? Is itjustified?• What are the unique and new points?• What is essential to know and what is just padding?
44 Step three – Organising the Project The average professional writer spends 40% of his time onresearch and planning, only 20% on actual writing and 40% onrevision and re-writing.Writing tips:1. Keep to the topic – what exactly is the question or issue thatyou are addressing?2. If it’s a topic or problem for which you are proposing ananswer, define the issue in the first paragraph, and keepchecking back to see if you are sticking to the point.3. Gather together the information you need – notes from books,sources from the internet. When you have your notes together trymind mapping the key ideas.4. Now start to add to the mind map – putting ideas together ingroups5. Check back – do the points answer the question or suggest asolution to the problem?6. Decide what will be in the beginning, middle and end of thereport.The middle develops your arguments and ideas with example,facts, quotations and evidence to back up the argument.The end – a clever summary answer to the origina lquestion, andties up any loose ends.
45 Step four Step four – Draft it Start with the middle: • Start to write with your organised plan in front of you.• Start with the middle – where you will be developing yourarguments. Once the middle is complete then you can finish offby writing a punchy opening and a clever summary ending.• Decide what is the best order for your main points –remember to give each new idea its own paragraph.• All work should be done on a computer so its easy to cutand paste and move text around if necessary.• Write up each of the ideas from your mind map
46 Step fourWriting the conclusion • Look back at the draft of the middle. Jot down the 10 mostimportant key words.• Find the shortest way to link them together – that’s yourending.• Check that your ending sums up your answer to the questionor the issue you are addressing.• Remember this is the last thing to be read before decidingyour grade!Writingthe beginning:• Now draft the beginning – this will give the reader the ‘bigpicture’ of what you’re going to say.• Remember the beginning is the first thing your reader (orexaminer) will see.• A punchy beginning will put them in a good mood expectingto agree with your argument.What next?• Sleep on it. When you read it again you will see pointsyou missed or things you could have explained better.
47 Step five -Edit it• Is the meaning clear? Have you used the words that describeexactly what you mean?• Read your report out loud. Does it sound good?• Have you used sub-headings that make it easy to read?• Have you used short paragraphs that the reader will want toread, rather than long boring ones?• Have you given examples to bring your ideas to life?• Pay attention to the beginning – does it start with a bang?• Does it make the reader want to read more?• Keep your sentences short – long sentences are difficult tounderstand
48 Referencing/ Bibliography It is crucial that as you are researching your project that youmake a note of the following information for every source youuse:Title or publication or address of the websiteName of the author or editor Page numberPublishers name Date or publication Placeor publicationThis information will go into your bibliography, and will prevent youbeing accused on plagiarism.• Footnotes – these are a way of allowing your reader tocheck your sources for themselves. They are notes that appear atthe foot of the page. Footnotes should be used whenever you referto the work of another person. Everything that is not your own workmust be referenced.• Endnotes have the same purpose as footnotes; they simplyappear at the end of a document or at the end of a section of adocument.Both footnotes and endnotes can be used in one of two ways,either:1. Parenthetical in text system -in other words putting your sourcein brackets within the text.2. Number system -simply using the insert tool on Word to insert anumber which refers the reader to your footnote or endnote.Bibliography -the list of all sources that you have used,referred to or consulted during the course of compiling yourExtended Essay.For example:Power, J. A History of the Extended Project at MTGS. Crosby,England: Whatever Books, 2010When citing a website you must specify Site name, HomepageURL, date viewed -for example:The BBC WebsiteJanuary2010Useful Links:A very thorough and easy to understand webpage onbibliographies and referencing from the University of Dundee.A very thorough pdf on the Harvard style of referencing andbibliography from the library of The University of Queensland,Australia.
49 The Formal presentation • The presentation should be for a non-specialist audience anduse media appropriate to the type of project.• The presentation could take the form of a verbal or writtenpresentation or may involve the use of flipcharts, posters, OHPtransparencies, PowerPoint or short excerpts of video material.• This could take the form of a group presentation, in the case ofa group project, or a one-to-one presentation to the supervisor.• The presentation should be supported by answers to anyquestions from supervisors.
50 Questioning learners after the presentation is useful, partly as a way of authenticating the originality of their work and partly as a way of giving them a chance to demonstrate the extent oftheir understanding further. The question and answer session can provide evidence for AO4(Review).Suitable questions include:• ‘which of the resources used proved to be the most useful to you and why?’• ‘what factors influenced your choice of presentation style?’• ‘looking back at your project, are there any processes you would change? If so, why?’• ‘did you anticipate any particular difficulties when approaching this subject and how didyou/would you have dealt with them?’• ‘what areas of your subject do you think provide opportunities for further exploration andwhy?’A check sheet for different aspects of the presentation is given in Annexe A. This may help inmaking decisions about the award of marks for the presentation in AO4 against the specificationassessment criteria.