wintersun57
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I got my EPQ result last week and received 48/50! I'm happy to answer any questions you have.

Completing an EPQ was incredibly rewarding but also super stressful, and I can completely empathise with anyone feeling uncertain or overwhelmed whilst trying to do this project in lockdown. I've also found there isn't as much support for English Literature/humanities EPQs as there are for science projects on TSR, so I figured I would offer some advice if needed.

Just for background info, my EPQ focused on Victorian Gothic literature and its depictions of transgressive women. The novels I compared were 'Wuthering Heights', 'The Yellow Wallpaper', and 'Dracula'.
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username5093904
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Congratulations!!! I'm currently in year 12 and haven't been on top of everything. I havent even started my source log and I'm catching up on my EPQ diary. I'm definitely starting to get scared now haha. Did you have some sort of routine or work on the EPQ on certain days of the week. Also how many sources did you have?
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Cheesecake04
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How did you structure your essay ?
How did you reference sources ?
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wintersun57
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(Original post by username5093904)
Congratulations!!! I'm currently in year 12 and haven't been on top of everything. I havent even started my source log and I'm catching up on my EPQ diary. I'm definitely starting to get scared now haha. Did you have some sort of routine or work on the EPQ on certain days of the week. Also how many sources did you have?
Thank you! Don’t worry about falling behind, it happens to everyone at some point during the EPQ process. I actually struggled a lot at the beginning and only really got the ball rolling in late January, so there’s still plenty of time for you to catch up!

I aimed to work on my EPQ for at least 3 hours per week, and that worked out fairly well for me. I didn’t dedicate certain days to working on my project, although that sounds like a great idea! My advice would just be to create a routine that’s realistic, and which means you’re making consistent progress. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of putting off the EPQ for weeks on end, then having to blaze through the work in a frenzy. While you do end up getting it done, this makes the process less enjoyable, much more stressful, and you risk burning out. So try and set yourself a minimum number of hours (around 2-4 hrs is a good idea) in a week for your EPQ - and stick to it!

As for sources, I think I had over 100! Do bear in mind that I had a LOT of spare time during the lockdown last year, and that not all of those sources were included in my final essay. However, that (excessive) amount of wider reading really helped me figure out what I was interested in writing about in my essay, so I don’t regret it. There is no set number of sources that the examiner is expecting, so just make sure you have enough to make a compelling and substantive argument. Don’t be afraid to go down a rabbit-hole during research and see where your sources take you. Something I found helpful was to take notes on my source (eg. an article I found on JSTOR), before scrolling down to the bibliography and taking notes on the sources used by the writer. This will help you figure out the debates taking place in this area of study. It was also an easy way to find critics with contrasting arguments to examine in my essay.

You’ve mentioned that you haven’t started your source log yet, so I just wanted to quickly recommend that you make a table for your sources, with columns for the following: the full source citation, the date you accessed the source, type of source (book, article, documentary, etc), and an evaluation of the source. This will help you to manage your bibliography once you write your essay, and will also get you easy marks for doing source evaluation.

Sorry, this was very rambly! Wishing you the best of luck, let me know if you have any more questions.
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wintersun57
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(Original post by Cheesecake04)
How did you structure your essay ?
How did you reference sources ?
Hi! Obviously, your essay structure will depend a lot on the type of question you've chosen, so adapt what I'm saying to fit your topic.

The first thing I did was figure out my line of argument and come up with a thesis statement. From there, I considered the points I needed to make in order to argue my thesis effectively. The first half of my essay was about disagreeing with a critic on the role of women in Gothic literature, by analysing and comparing the three texts I’d chosen. Then I transitioned into discussing the function of transgression and boundary-breaking by female characters in each of those texts. If you’re struggling to figure out a structure, don’t be afraid to try out a couple of different ones and see which one works best for your argument! The structure of my essay was something I struggled with too, the only way I figured it out was just by writing different essay plans and even a few mini 'practice essays' until I felt the paragraphs flowed properly. I hope that helps!

I used the Harvard referencing format for my EPQ. No major reason, I personally just found it easier and more hassle-free compared to Oxford referencing. EPQ examiners don't mind how you reference, so long as you just use the same format throughout your essay.
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txhirx_y
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If I have like 3 or 2 days to do my write up is that a realistic amount of time? I only have a week to get it in but most of my week will also be taken up by work from other subjects. I want to get an A no matter what but I need an honest judgement. I've finished my plan too. For context my epq question is "how far can we go when it comes to developing a cure for cancer"
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NayanCat
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Hey, I just wanted to ask if every single source needs to be evaluated and how do u go about doing that? I'm 75% of the way through my main essay and I need to do my conclusion intro and presentation. Any general tips for scoring good marks? I've got a month or so until my essay is due but the presentation is in 2 weeks so any advice on that would be really appreciated. Also if you do a lit review in your intro do you just use the sources that you put in your main essay?
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wintersun57
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(Original post by txhirx_y)
If I have like 3 or 2 days to do my write up is that a realistic amount of time? I only have a week to get it in but most of my week will also be taken up by work from other subjects. I want to get an A no matter what but I need an honest judgement. I've finished my plan too. For context my epq question is "how far can we go when it comes to developing a cure for cancer"
Hi, I'm so sorry for taking this long to respond! The time it takes to write up your essay will depend a lot on how much planning you've done and how sure you are of your essay direction. I had a month and a week to write up the first draft of my EPQ, dithered about and planned for the whole month (way too much time, do not recommend) before finding a spark of inspiration and writing about 10,000 words in four days during the final week. So speaking from personal experience, it is possible to write a 5,000-word essay in 2-3 days, but make sure to leave plenty of time (at least a day) just to edit, since a draft of that length and written that quickly will need a lot of refinement. I hope that answered your question, good luck!
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wintersun57
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(Original post by NayanCat)
Hey, I just wanted to ask if every single source needs to be evaluated and how do u go about doing that? I'm 75% of the way through my main essay and I need to do my conclusion intro and presentation. Any general tips for scoring good marks? I've got a month or so until my essay is due but the presentation is in 2 weeks so any advice on that would be really appreciated. Also if you do a lit review in your intro do you just use the sources that you put in your main essay?
Hey! Honestly, I completely forgot about source evaluation for my EPQ and had to shove notes from my research into an appendix as examples of being evaluative - ended up working for me, but I don't think I would've gotten away with it had I not been evaluating a source (in the form of responding to a critic's book) within my essay. Try to evaluate your sources as you go along, but if you can't do every single one then just do enough to fill up 2-3 pages in your appendix. You should evaluate sources for their credibility - consider its publication (is it just an opinion post, or is it from an academic journal that was peer-reviewed?), the date (is this a recent finding, or is the source now outdated?), the author's purpose (was this source written with a vested interest, eg. to persuade, sell something, fearmonger, exaggerate?), its reliance on existing research and data, and the position of the author (are they a notable academic/researcher in this field of study?).
In terms of general advice, examiners are looking for students who use a wide range of sources throughout their essay - for example, my essay referenced articles, books, lectures I'd watched, documentaries, interviews with academics, emails I'd written to literary critics. They also love to see students making links between sources they've found, eg. using two different sources to support a point you've made, or contrasting two sources and then arguing that they're both flawed and making your own argument.

The quality of your writing should also be something to keep in mind - you're not just being judged on what you say, but also how you say it. Make sure that your writing style is clear, and that you're not complicating things or using fancy words unnecessarily - it's so easy to get swept up in pseudo-academic babble when writing academic essays, so I'd recommend sending it to a teacher or even showing it to a family member and asking them to judge the readability of your writing. The mark of a good writer is that they do all the hard work of making the work understandable, so the reader doesn't have to.

Make sure your argument is cogent and that your paragraphs flow easily one after the other with no jarring changes in direction - I struggled with this in my first draft, so my teacher recommended using 'Janus sentences' (yup, the two-headed Roman god, that Janus). The first sentence of your paragraph should look back on what you said in your previous paragraph (the head of Janus that looks in the past) before describing what you're about to argue in this paragraph (the head of Janus facing the future). Similarly, the final sentence of your paragraph should look back and make an evaluating statement about what you've just argued, before detailing what you're going on to explain or argue in the next paragraph. This will mean your writing just flows in your reader's mind, making the experience of reading your essay more enjoyable and easy. I hope that made sense - it was a really helpful tool for me personally!

The presentation was my favourite part of the whole EPQ experience, I have so much to say about it! Your presentation should include the following:
- Why did you choose this topic - why is this an area of interest for you (both the subject and specific topic)? Why was this area of interest a good choice for an EPQ?
- How did you do your EPQ? Explain your method. How did you plan on answering your question (methodology)? How did you do research?
- What did you discover? Begin with background info (from the intro) and summarise main findings (about 2-3 from main body) and support ideas with some evidence (not too much detail). Summarise your conclusion and clearly state why your conclusion is justified.
- Review your EPQ journey - how successful do you think your project has been?
- Reflect. What went well? What could have been better? What do you wish you could have had time to explore that you didn’t? Times in the year where you didn’t spend your time wisely?
- Talk about what you gained from the project (skills, knowledge, experience). How might your project affect your future career/education?

Make your presentation engaging, but don't overwhelm your audience with music or excessive props. The only 'engaging' thing I really did was have photos (images of modern women in positions of power who are demonised) at the beginning of my presentation which I briefly discussed, before linking them to my project. Also, avoid using a PowerPoint. Usually, it's unnecessary - it takes away to attention from you and you might end up just reciting what was on the slides. I literally just had a slide with my title question and that was it. Your presentation should ideally last 10-15 minutes, with enough time for people to ask questions - the Q&A section is a really great way to pick up marks, whilst also being a lot of fun.

In terms of a literature review, its main focus is to briefly summarise the research done so far on this field you've chosen and to explicitly state a flaw in those sources or a 'gap' in this area of study which you will be addressing in this essay. So you can absolutely use the sources you've discussed in your main essay, so long as you're responding critically from them, and building on what they say to further your own argument.
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cato019
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hi, im doing my epq on how technology has corrupted the human race. Due to the pandemic my teachers haven't told me much about the epq, only what it entails etc. Could you tell me more about how we are meant to structure the EPQ? I take English Literature A-level, so is the EPQ basically structured like an extended english essay? also, how do you 'evaluate' the aources within your essay? sorry for all the questions!! x
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NayanCat
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(Original post by wintersun57)
Hey! Honestly, I completely forgot about source evaluation for my EPQ and had to shove notes from my research into an appendix as examples of being evaluative - ended up working for me, but I don't think I would've gotten away with it had I not been evaluating a source (in the form of responding to a critic's book) within my essay. Try to evaluate your sources as you go along, but if you can't do every single one then just do enough to fill up 2-3 pages in your appendix. You should evaluate sources for their credibility - consider its publication (is it just an opinion post, or is it from an academic journal that was peer-reviewed?), the date (is this a recent finding, or is the source now outdated?), the author's purpose (was this source written with a vested interest, eg. to persuade, sell something, fearmonger, exaggerate?), its reliance on existing research and data, and the position of the author (are they a notable academic/researcher in this field of study?).
In terms of general advice, examiners are looking for students who use a wide range of sources throughout their essay - for example, my essay referenced articles, books, lectures I'd watched, documentaries, interviews with academics, emails I'd written to literary critics. They also love to see students making links between sources they've found, eg. using two different sources to support a point you've made, or contrasting two sources and then arguing that they're both flawed and making your own argument.

The quality of your writing should also be something to keep in mind - you're not just being judged on what you say, but also how you say it. Make sure that your writing style is clear, and that you're not complicating things or using fancy words unnecessarily - it's so easy to get swept up in pseudo-academic babble when writing academic essays, so I'd recommend sending it to a teacher or even showing it to a family member and asking them to judge the readability of your writing. The mark of a good writer is that they do all the hard work of making the work understandable, so the reader doesn't have to.

Make sure your argument is cogent and that your paragraphs flow easily one after the other with no jarring changes in direction - I struggled with this in my first draft, so my teacher recommended using 'Janus sentences' (yup, the two-headed Roman god, that Janus). The first sentence of your paragraph should look back on what you said in your previous paragraph (the head of Janus that looks in the past) before describing what you're about to argue in this paragraph (the head of Janus facing the future). Similarly, the final sentence of your paragraph should look back and make an evaluating statement about what you've just argued, before detailing what you're going on to explain or argue in the next paragraph. This will mean your writing just flows in your reader's mind, making the experience of reading your essay more enjoyable and easy. I hope that made sense - it was a really helpful tool for me personally!

The presentation was my favourite part of the whole EPQ experience, I have so much to say about it! Your presentation should include the following:
- Why did you choose this topic - why is this an area of interest for you (both the subject and specific topic)? Why was this area of interest a good choice for an EPQ?
- How did you do your EPQ? Explain your method. How did you plan on answering your question (methodology)? How did you do research?
- What did you discover? Begin with background info (from the intro) and summarise main findings (about 2-3 from main body) and support ideas with some evidence (not too much detail). Summarise your conclusion and clearly state why your conclusion is justified.
- Review your EPQ journey - how successful do you think your project has been?
- Reflect. What went well? What could have been better? What do you wish you could have had time to explore that you didn’t? Times in the year where you didn’t spend your time wisely?
- Talk about what you gained from the project (skills, knowledge, experience). How might your project affect your future career/education?

Make your presentation engaging, but don't overwhelm your audience with music or excessive props. The only 'engaging' thing I really did was have photos (images of modern women in positions of power who are demonised) at the beginning of my presentation which I briefly discussed, before linking them to my project. Also, avoid using a PowerPoint. Usually, it's unnecessary - it takes away to attention from you and you might end up just reciting what was on the slides. I literally just had a slide with my title question and that was it. Your presentation should ideally last 10-15 minutes, with enough time for people to ask questions - the Q&A section is a really great way to pick up marks, whilst also being a lot of fun.

In terms of a literature review, its main focus is to briefly summarise the research done so far on this field you've chosen and to explicitly state a flaw in those sources or a 'gap' in this area of study which you will be addressing in this essay. So you can absolutely use the sources you've discussed in your main essay, so long as you're responding critically from them, and building on what they say to further your own argument.
Thank you so much!!! I really appreciate you taking the time to give me such detailed advice, I'm kinda lost at the moment and this defo helped me get back on track!
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caeciliusinhortz
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How many sources did you use? I am doing a history epq and have looked at around 20 so far but I have no idea where this fits in on the scale of how many you should use (due in June)
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esha321
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Hello, congratulations on your A*, that's amazing! I'm haven't really started my EPQ research in full yet (I only have a few basic ideas and about five sources) but my project is on how mental treatments in the victorian asylums really affected patients of both genders and if there was a dark stigma around mental illnesses. I know you might not have a full insight on it, because it wasn't your EPQ topic, but I've seen other students carry out questionnares and interviews. Is there any sort of aspect similar to this that I could include in my project?
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Sarrah Jones
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(Original post by wintersun57)
Hi! Obviously, your essay structure will depend a lot on the type of question you've chosen, so adapt what I'm saying to fit your topic.

The first thing I did was figure out my line of argument and come up with a thesis statement. From there, I considered the points I needed to make in order to argue my thesis effectively. The first half of my essay was about disagreeing with a critic on the role of women in Gothic literature, by analysing and comparing the three texts I’d chosen. Then I transitioned into discussing the function of transgression and boundary-breaking by female characters in each of those texts. If you’re struggling to figure out a structure, don’t be afraid to try out a couple of different ones and see which one works best for your argument! The structure of my essay was something I struggled with too, the only way I figured it out was just by writing different essay plans and even a few mini 'practice essays' until I felt the paragraphs flowed properly. I hope that helps!

I used the Harvard referencing format for my EPQ. No major reason, I personally just found it easier and more hassle-free compared to Oxford referencing. EPQ examiners don't mind how you reference, so long as you just use the same format throughout your essay.
Hi, this was helpful.
I wanted to ask which three texts did you choose for the role of women in gothic?
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wintersun57
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(Original post by cato019)
hi, im doing my epq on how technology has corrupted the human race. Due to the pandemic my teachers haven't told me much about the epq, only what it entails etc. Could you tell me more about how we are meant to structure the EPQ? I take English Literature A-level, so is the EPQ basically structured like an extended english essay? also, how do you 'evaluate' the aources within your essay? sorry for all the questions!! x
Hey! So, the structure of your EPQ will vary depending on the type of question you choose. If it's a 'for and against' type of question, you'll probably have a thesis statement with your stance on the topic, a few arguments supporting your position, then a few counter-arguments which you refute to strengthen your own point. If it's a 'to what extent' kind of question, your introduction will be less about whether you completely agree or disagree on a statement, but instead you'll be explaining how much you agree with it. With the latter, there's a lot more room for nuance, but frame your essay with a question style that works for you!

Generally, examiners are expecting your EPQ essay to have an introduction, a literature review, multiple main body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Within this, you can also have case studies, counter-arguments, etc, depending on your topic. I wouldn't recommend dividing up your essay with headings/sub-headings (eg. writing the heading 'introduction' before your intro paragraph, or 'conclusion' before your concluding paragraph) because examiners feel like it's often unnecessary and ruins the flow of your essay. Signpost your paragraphs instead!

When it comes to evaluating sources, I'd leave the bulk of this in your separate source evaluation table which you'll put in your appendix - that's where you'll discuss things like credibility, reliability, and whether or not you actually used the source in your essay (and why). In your essay, just pick the key sources that your topic has either been supported by or is responding to, and briefly point out some gaps in that research which your EPQ will hope to resolve. I'd recommend doing this early on, specifically in a literature review. This might involve taking some quotes from the source and picking them apart to critique them, or it could involve evaluating the methodology used by the author of that source and pointing out flaws which your EPQ research has improved on.

I hope that all makes sense, let me know if you have any more questions or if you need me to clarify anything!
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wintersun57
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(Original post by caeciliusinhortz)
How many sources did you use? I am doing a history epq and have looked at around 20 so far but I have no idea where this fits in on the scale of how many you should use (due in June)I
According to my EPQ supervisor, I had over 100 sources. I should definitely mention this was VERY excessive - my research phase was February-April, I had a lot of free time last year, and I am extremely prone to falling down research rabbit holes. I think I ended up using about 40 sources in my final EPQ essay, but don't feel pressured to look at anywhere near that many sources if that sounds overwhelming or unnecessary!

I'm very clueless when it comes to History essays, but having 20 sources so far sounds perfectly fine to me - but, if you still feel unprepared, keep looking for more. It sounds weird, but there'll come a point in your research process where you'll feel your ideas 'click' and you'll feel prepared to stop looking for sources and to start planning/writing. I wouldn't put a cap on the number of sources you use, but I'd say that having around 30-50 sources is a good range to aim for. This gives you enough sources to back up a detailed essay, and the remaining sources which don't get used still serve as helpful background reading that you can stick in the 'works consulted' section of your bibliography. Let me know if you have any more questions!
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wintersun57
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(Original post by esha321)
Hello, congratulations on your A*, that's amazing! I'm haven't really started my EPQ research in full yet (I only have a few basic ideas and about five sources) but my project is on how mental treatments in the victorian asylums really affected patients of both genders and if there was a dark stigma around mental illnesses. I know you might not have a full insight on it, because it wasn't your EPQ topic, but I've seen other students carry out questionnares and interviews. Is there any sort of aspect similar to this that I could include in my project?
That sounds like a great essay idea! It's not completely relevant to what you're doing, but analysing 'The Yellow Wallpaper' in my EPQ essay meant I got to do a lot of research into the treatment of female hysteria in the Victorian era and the history of the 'rest-cure' - horrifying, but super interesting!

Back to the point: you can definitely include questionnaires and interviews in your project! My recommendation would be to try and get in contact with an academic who specialises in this area - you could set up a Zoom interview with them, or ask them a few specific questions over email. Perhaps you could also send out word cloud forms/ a Google Form and ask people to choose the words they'd commonly associate with Victorian asylums, in order to gauge modern perceptions of Victorian treatments and whether or not they're accurate? If the situation with Covid improves, you could even travel to and visit abandoned asylums, to take photos or record your experiences visiting them? I'm sorry, I'm not very creative with this, but I'm sure there are other ways you could integrate primary research into a project like this! x
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wintersun57
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(Original post by Sarrah Jones)
Hi, this was helpful.
I wanted to ask which three texts did you choose for the role of women in gothic?
I'm glad! I chose 'The Yellow Wallpaper' by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, 'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Brontë, and 'Dracula' by Bram Stoker as my literary texts. There are definitely other texts I could've used - sometimes I regret not choosing 'Jane Eyre' instead of 'Dracula', for example!
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laurawatt
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Hi! Well done on your mark
When I look at examples online they often seem to have pages of articles or notes of the sources with annotations around, is this necessary for the research element? I’ve just kinda dove straight into the investigation
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Idk131
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Hey great job on your mark

So I have picked to do an epq for my a levels next year (I am currently in year 11) and I was wondering if it was true that you can't do a topic related to your subjects? I have picked A level Biology, Psychology and Philosophy.

Also would you be able to give me any advice for picking your topic and starting an epq? x
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