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F3 Individual Project: Pupil Material

What is the Individual Project?

The Individual Project is a guided inquiry into a topic of your choice resulting in fully completed investigative journals and a formally presented essay of about 1500 words which includes:

  • an introduction stating what you have chosen to investigate and why;
  • a body outlining your investigation;
  • a conclusion answering the question you set at the start of the essay;
  • a bibliography including a reputable website, a subscription database and a book.


In other words, it is the chance for you to decide on, explore and write about whatever interests you, as long as you can do so within the guidelines of the project.

Inspiration. [Fine Art]. Retrieved from Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest.

You should ideally now be at Stage 5: Express

Stage 1: Connect - Deciding on a topic

What do I have to do?

Your first task is to decide what topic you are going to read and write about.  The good news is that you have a free choice over your topic BUT you need to be able to:

  • say something informative about it;
  • discuss something interesting about it that is open to interpretation;
  • reach a reasoned conclusion.

In other words, you need to be able to ask a question about your topic that could be answered differently by someone else.  It must require you to give a considered opinion not just lots of facts you have found.

So, what are you interested in?

Whether you have some ideas already or not, have a look at the mind-map below, answer the questions it is asking you honestly, and then hopefully you'll be heading in the right direction.

Once you have decided on your topic area - not a question at this stage - complete the Stage 1: Connect document on the right and hand it in to your tutor.

What next?

Now it is time to start reading about your topic in general to get some background information, and to make a note of the questions that spring to mind as you are reading - as these are the things you might want to look into in more detail.

If you are unsure where to go for reading material, have a look at Access Global Newsbank, our newspaper database, as their 'Suggested Topics' might help you get started.

Or if you really don't know where to start and need some inspiration, have a look at the News and Features on The Day and see if anything takes your fancy.

Stage 2: Wonder - Focusing your investigation

What do I have to do now?

When you have done some background reading, and before your next tutorial on the Individual Project after Exeat, complete the Stage 2: Wonder document on the right.  This will give you the chance to think about what questions might be interesting concerning your topic.   

Your next tutorial will look at how you go from having a list of questions, to coming up with a question you want to investigate further and ultimately try to answer once you have a done some more reading.

You will need to ask yourself:

•            Is this a topic someone would have written about?

•            Will there be facts as well as opinions about this topic?         

•            Does it go beyond a yes/no question?    

•            Is the question complex enough to require information beyond a few simple facts to answer it?

•            Does the question lead to multiple points of view?

If the answer is 'yes', you are probably on the right track.  If the answer is 'no', could you reword it to make it fit the need for discussion and evaluation? Or would you be better going back to the drawing board and looking for a different avenue to explore? Now is the time to decide.

Stage 3: Investigate - Investigating your topic

What do I have to do next?

Read more about your topic.  Don't just look for sources that directly answer your question (if they do, it is probably not a great question!).  Consider the wider context of your topic, what is it part of?

Think about everything you read as you go along, and record your thoughts in the Investigative Journal that you will find in the documents box on this page.  You will need to hand this in along with your final essay. 


An investigative journal is simply a tool to help you manage your investigation. Feel free to use any note-taking method in the boxes – diagrams, mind-maps, bullet points, charts. It is designed to help you, not force you to take notes in a particular way.  If you want some ideas on different ways of making notes, have a look here.



You can use this investigative journal in print or electronic format.   If you wish to fill in this document electronically, remember to insert your name into the Header. 



Research is aimed at building your understanding of the complexities of your topic based on information that you have gathered.  Therefore, the investigative journal requires details about each of your sources of information as well as your thoughts about the information. Remember to record where you find everything. 


The journal has space for 4 sources but you can, of course, use more pages if you wish to. Remember you should be using a variety of good, quality sources of information, including at least:

  • one print source
  • one reputable website
  • one subscription database.


But where do I find this information?


You may already know some websites relevant to your topic or a little internet searching will open up hundreds of possibilities for you, but please bear in mind:

  • the keywords you are using in your searches  - as they will determine how relevant the results are;
  • the reliability of your sources - as you need to make sure that you are basing your essay on good, quality information.

You can find more information on these here.

Subscription databases:

The Library subscribes to a number of subscription databases which are high-quality sources of articles and images for academic research. 

Note that some databases need a different link, or a password, if you are at home.

You can find ideas on which databases might be useful for your Individual Project here.


To see what we have in the library collection related to your topic, check the library catalogue. If you need help with searching the catalogue, have a look here.

Stage 4: Construct - Building your argument

Individual Project Writing Day

The purpose of the day is to give you the opportunity to plan your essay and to begin writing if you are ready to do so.

Before you start planning, consider:

  • what main ideas or points of view have emerged from your investigation?
  • if you need to revise your research question in order to be able to answer it more successfully?
  • whether you have found enough evidence to form an opinion or to support your argument?  If not, you may need to investigate further.

The Research Organiser - which you will find in the documents box on this page (Stage 4: Construct) - is designed to help you organise the information you have found to build a strong argument.  Use it wisely. 

Before you start writing, think about:

  • whether the conclusions you have drawn are supported by evidence you have found - if not, you either need to find evidence for what you are saying or rethink your response if you cannot support it;
  • if you have organised your conclusions and evidence to present them as effectively as possible.

Once you are happy that you have planned your essay fully, it is time to begin writing.

Stage 5: Express - Writing your essay

You should use the Academic Writing Template for your essay as this will help ensure you are including everything you have been asked to include - and therefore tick the boxes for presentation and organisation.

There is a separate Academic Writing page within this guide to take you through the process of setting up your document and inserting citations, a bibliography and a table of contents.

Remember that you are producing an academic essay and so should include:

  • a table of contents;
  • an introduction, stating what you have chosen to investigate and why, as well as your research question;
  • the body of your essay with headings, in which you outline your investigation and consider the merits of different perspectives (if producing an object, you will also need to describe the process of producing it);
  • a conclusion, in which you sum up the reasoning that led to your answer;
  • images, which, if used, must be captioned and cited;
  • a bibliography [of scholarly sources], including a reputable website, a subscription database and a book;
  • an object - anything, really, other than your essay - if desired/necessary.

You should bring a complete first draft to your tutorial on 21st April.

Inquiry Journal documents

If you are not in school for the Writing Day on 20.03.21 you will need to use the Stage 4-5 document to help plan your essay and then begin writing it.

If you are not in school after the Easter holiday you will need to use the Stage 5-6 document to redraft and reflect on your essay before handing in the final version.

Individual Project checklist



Project Launch in Assembly

Tutorial to think about and discuss a topic. Ideally complete Stage 1: Connect document and hand in to tutor too.

28.01.21 to 23.02.21
Background reading around your topic, ideally completing Stage 2: Wonder document before you meet your tutor after Exeat.
Tutorial to help you decide on a more focused research question based on what you have read so far which you can then start to investigate. 
25.02.21 to Writing Day

Focused reading and recording what you are reading using the Stage 3: Investigate document. Thinking about what you are reading and how it is going to help you write your essay.

Writing Day 20.03.21
Morning off-timetable when you construct the arguments you will include in your essay, set up your academic document and begin writing.
21.03.21 to 20.04.21
Writing your first draft.
Tutorial to carry out some peer-review of your projects and consider any changes you might want to make.
Hand in final project in tutorial.

Normal term-time Library opening hours:
Mon-Fri: 08:30-21:15
Sat: 08:00-16:00
Sun: 14:00-18:00