Research and study skills

Our research and study skills support programme provides learners with access to a range of activities and resources to excel in their research assignment.

Extended project qualification

The extended project qualification (EPQ) is an independent research project undertaken by students in post-16 education. It’s a great way for students to develop their academic research skills, prepare for university study and can often make a difference to their application success. 

We offer a range of activities to support students, and teachers delivering the taught skills element of the EPQ. All our sessions are interactive, requiring an element of class participation – this can be facilitated by us in person, or online.

The following workshops are listed in order of how they can support your students through their EPQ journey. 

A variety of online resources can also be accessed by students, in their own time, on our digital hub.

Choosing a topic and writing a research question

Duration: 60 minutes

Skills: Choosing an appropriate topic, narrowing a research field, writing an answerable and appropriate question.

This workshop focuses on selecting a topic for the EPQ and writing a research question. Centring on Assessment Objective One (Manage), we help students identify their topic and plan their research around an appropriate question.

Time and project management

Duration: 60 minutes

Skills: Time and project management, health and safety, risk assessment.

This workshop introduces the concepts of time and project management, suggesting ways students can plan and manage their research project. Centring on Assessment Objective One (Manage), students will learn the skills needed to manage their time more effectively and productively and become aware of health, safety and risk management.

Starting to research

Duration: 60 minutes

Skills: Starting to research, working with online sources, searching for information, using journals, critical thinking.

This workshops helps students make the jump from Assesment Objective One (Manage) to Assessment Objective Two (Use Resources). Students will learn the steps to online research and how to intelligently and critically research online. The session equips students with the tools to manage their online research effectively and securely. Please note access to computer facilities is required for this session.

Research ethics

Duration: 60 minutes 

Skills: Research, ethics, academic integrity, surveys, GDPR awareness.  

This workshop introduces students to the concept of ethical academic research, and highlights they need for students to consider and understand how ethics can impact their project. Centring on Assessment Objective Two: Use Resources; this workshops explores the ethical implications research can have and offers suggestions and solutions to potential problems.  

Introduction to note making

Duration: 60 minutes

Skills: Note making, planning, academic reading

This workshop focuses on note making skills which are essential to success in Assessment Objective Two (Use Resources). Students will learn how to make notes and understand the benefits of making good notes. We introduce students to different note-taking methods, encouraging them to use, assess and evaluate their current note making style.  

Critical thinking: a comprehensive guide

Duration: 120 minutes  

Skills: Critical thinking, working with sources, critical analysis, researching. 

This two-hour workshop introduces students to critical thinking and explores some of the skills students need to develop their critical thinking. Focusing on Assessment Objectives Two (Use Resources) and Three (Develop and Realise), students will develop and understand how to use critical thinking to support their research. Students will also learn how to analyse a wide variety of sources and think critically about the information they uncover while researching. 

Critical thinking: the building blocks

Duration: 60 minutes  

Skills: Critical thinking, working with sources, critical analysis, researching.  

This compressed version of critical thinking explores the basics of this skill and how to put it into practice. This workshops centres on Assessment Objectives Two (Use Resources) and Three (Develop and Realise) and helps students understand how these assessment objectives are linked. Students will learn how to analyse sources and think critically about the information they uncover while researching.  

Academic writing for the EPQ

Duration: 60 minutes  

Skills: Essay planning, structuring, writing, editing and proofreading. 

This workshop explores academic writing, and the different stages of composing an independent research project. Students will be introduced to the skills which will support them successfully through Assessment Objective Three (Develop and Realise). Students will engage with different academic writing styles, the different stages of writing an essay, editing and proofreading.  

Referencing and plagiarism

Duration: 60 minutes   

Skills: Referencing, plagiarism.

This workshop introduces students to referencing and plagiarism, providing support and guidance on how to reference and avoid plagiarism. Students will be taught the necessary techniques and strategies required to reference an academic piece of writing. Please note: this workshop focuses specifically on the Harvard Style of referencing.   

Presentation skills

Duration: 60 minutes  

Skills: Planning, structuring and creating an academic presentation, reviewing and evaluating research, confidence and public speaking. 

Our final workshop focuses on Assessment Objective Four (Review). Students will learn how to present a research project in an academic context and have the opportunity to practise presenting in a supportive environment. 

EPQ teachers’ podcast

If you are new to the EPQ, explore our new series of podcasts, created in partnership with the University of Southampton. Episodes include: Piloting the EPQ in your school; advice for new practitioners; and EPQ marking and moderation. You can access the EPQ summer podcast series by completing our registration form.

New online course: skills to succeed at university

We have created a new online course to help students transition to higher education smoothly. Designed to be flexible so students can learn at at a time and pace that best suits them, the course covers essential academic skills such as essay writing and independent learning. 

Current students who came to the University through different routes – after completing a BTEC, A-levels or as mature students – also provide first-hand advice on how to start and thrive at university. 

Interested students can register their place to attend on the FutureLearn platform.