Lower Sixth pupils enter the world of academic research

The ‘Extended Project Qualification’ (or EPQ for short) is not for the faint-hearted. It is a project that sixth-form students undertake independently, alongside their taught subjects, which is worth the equivalent of half an A Level. The final project and accompanying ‘Project Log’ submitted by each student represents around 100 hours of work.

On Monday and Tuesday this week, 28 Lower Sixth students following the programme at St Edmund’s joined forces with PhD ambassadors from the University of Kent in order to start in-depth research on their chosen topic.  Considering this topic cannot overlap with anything a student studies at A Level, this is perhaps not as easy as it sounds.

For many, this has been their first experience of a university library and finding resources in such a massive building as Kent’s Templeman Library takes some getting used to. Our PhD ambassadors, as well as offering individual advice on refining project ideas, also led seminars on key skills, including: correct referencing and bibliographies; broadening search parameters on both internet and library search engines (and not expecting Google to have a definitive answer…); gathering primary and secondary research and mapping out a plan of action for a long-term project.

Progress has definitely been made on some unique and inspiring topics (from skateboarding to schizophrenia and from medical ethics to migratory birds) and several pupils are already planning a return visit to the Templeman in the near future.  Thanks must go to Addy, Luisa and Luke from the University of Kent for their expertise and for initiating our students into the world of academic research so successfully.

Dr Victoria Rowcroft (EPQ Coordinator)

Dr Cathy Sotillo (Head of Sixth-form Academic Enrichment)