Dr. Overy's KBase: Resources for Teaching and Learning
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How do I choose a suitable topic for a science project or case study?

The exact topic/case study requirements will differ according to your GCSE specification.

Use the following information as a guide....

These assignments should arise naturally from work on the course or from an issue that arises while candidates are following the course.   They should be related to an aspect of science that involves an element of controversy, in terms either of the interpretation of evidence, or of the acceptability of some new development.   Topics for study should be selected by candidates in discussion with teachers, and should be seen as an extension or consolidation of studies undertaken as a normal part of the course.  The work should be capable of being completed within approximately 4-6 hours over a period of time, for example, one lesson per week for half a term, with some non-contact time.” 

Guidance for Case Studies

1. Choosing a Suitable Project

Discuss this with your teacher. Suggestions should contain a significant amount of science.  

Examples : 

(i) Teenage Pregnancy would be more suitable for a Sociology project! 

BUT  Test-tube Babies would provide lots of room for science, technology, and a fair degree of controversy. 

(ii) How a car works is just science and technology. 

BUT  The use of composite materials in cars provides opportunities to discuss advantages and disadvantages of  composite materials to the user and manufacturers of cars.

(iii)  All about hurricanes would be too ambitious, and it will lose focus. 

BUT Impact of hurricanes provides a more suitable focus, where you could discuss the nature of hurricanes and the devastation it can cause, to humans, buildings and wildlife, and the environment, and the economy.  Of course, you could include items from the news, and even include an element of politics.

2. Research (up to 3 hours) 

(a) Find as much information about your topic as possible from a variety of sources.  This could include newspapers, periodicals, magazines, and sources on the internet. 

(b) Keep a careful record of the sources, such as the names of books, date of publication,page numbers, and especially internet addresses.  You will need this information for your references at the end of the project. 

(c) Try to keep within the focus of your Case Study.  Don't attempt to collect everything about ytour chosen topic of study.

 (d) If you are trying to collect information about a controversial issue you should present arguments for and against the chosen issue. Of course, you can provide your own personal views!

3. Organising and Presenting your Project ( up to 4 hours) 

You can do this in a number of ways. 

It can be a Powerpoint presentation, a word processed document, a handwritten presentation, a booklet, or an informative poster. 

Make sure that your project has some organised structure! 

(a) A suitable title 

Discuss this with your teacher.  It needs to be precise, and to the point.

(b) An introduction 

This should explain carefully your project is intended to show, and how you intend to go about it! 

(c) The Main Section 

This should involve a presentation of the science, the main issues, the controversy, and all the facts and relevant issues and opinions (keep a careful record of your sources for later).  You might find it useful to divide this section into sub-sections, such as science background, technology, issues, controversy (as relevant)

 (d) Discussion and Summary 

In this section you should try to bring everything together, and draw conclusions from your research, based on the evidence. 

(e) Sources 

Make a list of ALL the sources that you have used in your project. Include website addresses, newspaper titles and dates, and book references.  Make sure the website addresses are accurate.  Please do not write 'I found it on Google' or 'On the internet'