Research at Truro High – Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

Research forms an essential part of study at Truro High Sixth Form. The AQA Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) offers students a rare opportunity to investigate a research question or topic giving them a chance to excel in an area of study that they select and develop.

Whether this is undertaking experimental scientific research, publishing a magazine or writing a dissertation-style academic paper, the skills gained through an EPQ are highly sought-after by the world’s top universities and invaluable for undergraduate study. This in-depth research project often compliments a student’s proposed degree course preparing them to excel in elite educational establishments across the globe and their career beyond. 

There are two possible outcomes from the project:

  • A research-based report or artefact which analyses an experiment or event created by the student e.g. a scientific paper or magazine
  • A dissertation-style academic paper which have previously ranged in topic from UK Politics to the development of Prehistoric Art 

With appropriate supervision, students will: 

  • choose an area of interest that they would enjoy the opportunity of finding out about in more depth 
  • draft a title and the project aims and submit them for initial approval
  • plan, research and carry out the project 
  • deliver a presentation on their findings and the process to an audience
  • provide evidence of the project’s development throughout and production for assessment.

The EPQ is graded A*-E and offers a maximum of 50 points under the new tariff. 

What can I research?

Our students undertake a wide variety of topics which both interest them and will help them stand out from the crowd with their university applications.

For example, following the UK’s Brexit vote, Nell Salvoni undertook an dissertation-style project to consider the question of “To what extent is democracy doomed to fail?”.  She said “The project really improved my knowledge of British politics and democracy whilst the essay planning and verbal presentation skills I developed will be valuable during my History degree at Warwick University.”

Now happily studying at Warwick, Nell celebrated achieving 2 A*s and an A in English, History and RP and gained top marks in her EPQ this summer.  

Scientific Research

Students may elect to undertake experimental scientific research as part of their EPQ. Degree-style work, such as this, is invaluable for those students wishing to continue their scientific studies at university preparing them for the rigorous investigation and research that will form an essential part of their degree.

This year, for example, our Lower Sixth physicists are taking the lead on a project exploring the possibilities of ‘Soap Film Surfaces and Bubbles’. Under their own steam, the girls will research and investigate their chosen topic throughout the term before writing up their findings in a publishable scientific paper.

Alongside specialist support from our Physics teachers, the girls will receive one-to-one mentoring from academic researcher Dr Benny Hallam to publish their analysis. Dr Hallam has worked extensively with University research groups and published numerous top-level conference papers and articles in world-renowned journals such as Science.