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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.


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 5 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

There are several different elements to your essay and it is a good idea to think about them all before you start planning:

  • Do you need to revise your research question so that you can answer it more successfully?
  • Have you found enough material to form an opinion or support the conclusion you wish to make?  If not, you might need to investigate further.

The Research Organiser in Inquiry Journal Part B (or in the Inquiry Journal documents box on the right) is designed to help you organise the information you have found to build a strong argument. Use it wisely.

1. You have been asked to say something informative about your topic and to say why you have chosen it:  


  • An overview of the topic in case your reader doesn't know anything about it,

"Nuclear power is the energy generated from either the deterioration of heavy molecules into lighter ones or from the fusion of light molecules to form heavier ones. These are called nuclear fission and nuclear fusion."

  • The key facts that are important to your topic:

"Nuclear fusion is the merging of the isotopes Deuterium (derived from water) & Tritium (derived from Lithium) under the extreme temperature of over 180 million degrees Celsius (Macaulay, 2016). This is the process that occurs in stars like the Sun."

  • The reason why you are interested in this topic or question:

"I am interested in this area because I have watched multiple engineering programs prior to this assignment and therefore am interested in whether nuclear fusion might be a better option than nuclear fission."


  • Everything you have found out about your topic
  • Too much detail or you risk repeating yourself a lot when you consider the different sides to the question later.

2. You have also been asked to discuss something interesting about it that is open to interpretation:

This is what the Research Organiser is for, so have a look.

3. Finally, you need to reach a reasoned conclusion:

After considering all of the different arguments and reasons, what is your answer to your question and why?

"To conclude this, I think that nuclear fusion reactors are worth pursuing because they offer a far more reliable and clean energy conversion into electrical energy. The only by-product is Helium –4  which is harmless as well as it can be used in helium fuel cells (vehicles) ... Therefore, I think that it is a viable and clean form of electrical generation for the future and so power stations using nuclear fusion should be developed." 

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.

You should bring a complete first draft to your tutorial on 27th April.

Individual Project checklist



Project Launch in Assembly

Tutorial to think about and discuss a topic. Complete Stage 1: Connect document.

28.01.22 to 23.02.22
Background reading around your topic. Complete 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. 
25.02.22 to 12.03.22

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.

This will include a Friday afternoon session and a Saturday morning off-timetable.

You may also begin your planning your essay during this time if you reach that stage in proceedings, Stage 4: Construct.

Constructing the arguments you will include in your essay, setting up your academic document and beginning to write.
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.

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Sun: 14:00-18:00