Issue 22 | May 2015

Go Further: A practical guide to extended science projects

Have you ever wanted to take an idea a little bit further, or research a topic more deeply? An independent research project could be just the thing for you. We have pulled together lots of advice on how you could do a scientific research project.

Below you can find information on how to do extended science projects and how to conduct them ethically, together with some additional advice for teachers and schools. Our practical guide to extended science projects along with our guidance for both students and teachers on conducting projects ethically are also available in the downloadable resources section as PDFs.

Introducing extended projects

What is an extended project?

Find out what’s involved in this additional qualification

Why do an extended project?

Here are five good reasons to take this qualification on

Why do a STEM extended project?

Researching a topic in science, technology, engineering or maths can help you develop new skills

The university view on extended projects

Don’t just take our word for it

Choosing your topic

Identifying the right idea for your extended project

Start with an open mind, and then narrow the focus

What type of extended project should you do?

Use our flow chart to help you decide whether a dissertation, practical investigation or artefact is right for you

In need of inspiration?

There are many organisations that can help you with your extended project. Here are just a few

Who’s who?

People who can help you with your extended project

Planning a practical project

Step by step

Breaking down the work will make your project manageable

Planning an investigation

Incorporate these steps into your scientific research

Planning an artefact

Incorporate these steps into your design process

The importance of ethics

Consider ethics early and often in your extended project

Handling data

Defining data

Find out about the different ways researchers define data

Qualitative vs quantitative

Learn the difference between the two main types of data

Recording your data

Take a methodical approach

Keeping your data safe

Always have a backup 

Analysing data and drawing conclusions

Looking for significance

Writing up

Reporting your investigation

Explain the work you’ve done to others

Keep a record

Describe the design process

Know your literature

What research has been done before 

Bibliography basics

Keep track of your resources

Personal perspectives

Real Voices interview: Alice

Meet Alice, who is now studying Biological Sciences at university

Real Voices interview: Anita

Meet Anita, who is now studying Biology and German at university

Real Voices interview: Charlotte

Meet Charlotte, who is now studying Pharmacy at university

Real Voices interview: Tal

Meet Tal, who is now studying Aerospace Engineering with Pilot Studies at university

Real Voices interview: Cameron

Meet Cameron, who is now studying at university

Additional advice for teachers and schools

The overall process of an extended project

Key points to consider in your school

Supervising an extended project

A few tips to help you choose your approach

Team projects

Extended projects need not only be for individuals

Resources for extended projects

Ensure your school has what it needs to support these projects

Ethics guidance for students

Introducing ethics

What does working ethically mean?

Ethical frameworks

How to address ethical issues

Ethical research – activities and case studies

Examples of how to implement ethical frameworks into research

Right from the start

What ethical considerations do you need to think about when planning your project

Good plan?

Does your project raise ethical concerns? 

Best-laid plans

Keep thinking ethically throughout your project

Right the way through

How to work with and present other researchers’ work within your project

Right at the end

Discussing ethical issues in your final report

Ethics guidance for teachers

About this ethics resource

How can you and your students best use this resource?

Introducing ethics – teacher notes

What ethical issues do your students need to think about and how can these be addressed?

Ethical frameworks – teacher notes

Ways your students can address ethical issues

Ethical research – teacher notes

Examples of how ethical frameworks are integrated into research

Right from the start – teacher notes

What ethical considerations do your students need to think about when planning their project?

Good plan? – teacher notes

How to adapt projects that raise ethical concerns

Best-laid plans – teacher notes

Ensure your students keep thinking ethically throughout their project

Right the way through – teacher notes

What ethical issues do students need to consider when working with and presenting other researchers’ work?

Right at the end – teacher notes

How your students can integrate ethical issues into their final report

Fast Facts

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