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Why choose an EPQ?
An EPQ is your opportunity to develop, extend and stretch yourself. To choose an area you are really interested in and spend time exploring that. As well as being an extra qualification that will provide evidence of your commitment to a subject or topic and your ability to work independently, it is an amazing opportunity to take yourself on a journey of inquiry. This is one of the few opportunities you have at school to spend time exploring your interests in depth and to follow them where they lead.
At the very least you will learn valuable inquiry skills that will help you at university and beyond.
At best, an EPQ can be a revealing journey of self-discovery that may be the start of a life-long inquiry journey, and the beginning of a deeper relationship with a particular subject or topic.
What would I need to produce?
Your EPQ will be assessed on three areas:
- Your completed Production Log
- A written report (sometimes referred to in this guide as an essay)
- If your project is solely a research-based written report of any kind (e.g. a science investigation or an essay) it should be approximately 5,000 words long
- You might produce an artefact, such as a piece of art or portfolio, a design product, a website, or a presentation or perfornance. If your product is an artefact, it must be accompanied by a research based written report of a minimum of 1,000 words. For artefacts, you may include photos or other media showing various stages of the production process as well as the final product. You do not need to submit a large artefact as evidence - photographs or other media are fine.
- A presentation on the project process
- Your presentation must be delivered live to a non-specialist audience and might use flipcharts or posters, presentation tools such as PowerPoint or Prezi or short video clips. The evidence for your presentation will include a record in your Production Log of questions your supervisor asked and how you responded.
- If your product was itself a presentation then you still need to deliver another presentation about the process of producing it!
Most students produce an EPQ on their own. It is permitted to work in a group (e.g. to produce a group performance) but every student must produce a separate Production Log and research report, and make their individual role in the group clear.
How do I use this guide?
This guide is designed to support you throughout your EPQ process. You don't need to read the whole guide in one go.
- Once you have explored this Home tab, start by reading through the Inquiry Process tab
- Then use the Planning tab to help you to decide on a subject and topic, and plan your project
- You might then want to start at the end, and visit the Reflecting tab to think about setting up an Inquiry Journal to chart your journey. Reflection is important throughout the inquiry process, not just at the end, and the EPQ process requires you to provide evidence of this reflection at every stage.
- The Developing a line of inquiry tab will help you in the early stages of your investigation, as you are narrowing down your inquiry
- The Finding and selecting sources tab will help you as you gather and work with sources to support your inquiry
- The Working with ideas tab will help you as you make notes from those sources and start to pull all the different ideas you have encountered together into new ideas of your own
- The Expressing your ideas tab will help you as you plan your report and presentation
Who can help me?
You will be supported throughout your EPQ process by:
- Mr Foster, Head of Student Research, who is in charge of the EPQ and delivers the taught component of the course
- Your supervisor (this may also be Mr Foster), who will support you throughout your EPQ, helping you to plan a realistic project and to overcome challenges you meet on the way. Your supervisor will also fill in sections of your Production Log and assess your project.
- The Library staff, who are inquiry experts and can help you to locate and work with the research materials you need
- If your supervisor is not an specialist in your subject, you may also need the support of a subject expert, who may be another member of teaching staff but may equally be someone outside school who has specialist knowledge of your area. Please consult your supervisor and/or Mr Foster before making contact with a subject expert from outside school.
AQA Guide to completing the Production Log introduction
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AQA Production log
The official AQA production log which must be completed at various stages during the EPQ process.
Normal term-time Library opening hours: