Academic Research Booklet

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Academic Research


What is academic research?


Meetings with supervisors


Choosing a topic


Getting started


Example research enquiries


Crafting an essay question


Example essay questions


Planning your research


The role of the library in academic research 9

Finding and using books


How to locate a book in the library


Journal articles


Choosing the right books and articles


Key words and how to use them


Getting around academic paywalls


Credible sources


Academic honesty


Using AI


Writing academically


General expectations


1st person vs. 3rd person examples


General essay formatting






Literature review




Using other people’s work



How to quote


Referencing style


Creating references


Sounding professional

Sentence starters


Using linking words to create flow


Proof reading checklist




Descriptive vs. reflective writing




Library opening times and contact details



What is academic research? Academic research is the act of discovering and building upon research that others have already conducted and as a result of thoroughly researching your topic you are able to present informed opinions and ideas based on fact. A piece of ‘sustained academic writing’ is a project completed over a long period of time allowing the writer to absorb as much information as possible and create a detailed and comprehensive final document. In the sixth form you will undertake a sustained academic writing project in the form of an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) or Extended Essay (EE), both of which give you the opportunity to practice the skills you’ll be expected to know when studying for a degree at university. Even if you don’t intend on going to university having a good understanding of how to conduct careful and critical research should still be considered of high importance. As the quantity of information we come into contact with in our everyday lives is ever increasing, knowing how to navigate that information is a necessary part of life - not just at school or university but in the workplace and our personal lives also.


Meetings with supervisors Whether you do an EE or an EPQ you will paired with a supervisor. A supervisor is different to teacher as rather than being there to tell you what to do, they instead guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have. Research projects are pupil-led, this means you set your own goals and timeline, ask yourself questions about your knowledge and gaps in it and find the information you need yourself. Your supervisor is there to make sure your project fits within the guidelines set by the examining body and to give you feedback on your progress and essay draft. Top tip: In 1-2-1 meetings with your supervisor it’s perfectly acceptable to use a voice recorder app on your phone so you can play the discussion back later to remember everything – however, you should always ask permission first and only ever record if everybody involved is aware and has given consent to being recorded.


Choosing a topic

If you’re stuck choosing a topic, try the following exercise, all your answers could be potential essay topics:

Is there a topic you're particularly interested in within that subject? WHAT DO YOU WANT DO AT UNIVERSITY? Write down some related facts or events which interest you. WHAT DO YOU MOST ENJOY DOING OUTSIDE OF CLASS?


Write down three things you have enjoyed learning about so far.

What might you want to know more about in relation to these issues? WHAT CURRENT EVENTS ARE YOU MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT?

Getting started

Sometimes just getting started can feel like a daunting task, if you have a topic in mind the easiest way to begin can be to simply start thinking and asking questions about your topic. The example on the next page shows initial questions that were asked for an essay with the topic:

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland adapted to explore mental health issues through interpretive dance.

When we exercise, our body gives out a hormone called endorphins, giving us the feeling of joy EXERCISE MORE

NOTE: this is still a broad topic, not yet a question. It is hard to narrow down a question before you have started some level of questioning and research.


Example research enquiries Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland adapted to explore mental health issues through interpretive dance

The book was written before mental health issues were openly discussed or even labelled as ‘mental health’; how definitively can we therefore say there is a link? What did the author say about the book? What is his personal story? Were there any defining moments in the author’s life which influenced the writing of the novel? What have other people said about the story? What are some specific moments in the book which point to mental health issues? What is the dance company background/ history/mission statement? What was the directors motivation and vision? How are mental health issues being defined? Who else has made the link between the book characters and mental health?

To answer these questions it would be sensible to look at a variety of sources and consider multiple avenues of enquiry such as:

The book: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland The performance: the dance adaptation of the book Author biography /memoir Letters and essays by author Essays on book Reviews of book written at the time of publication Critical analyses of book Journal articles/ essays linking book to mental health Reviews of the performance Dance company website Video and written interviews with dance company Definitions and interpretations of words and terminology used.


Crafting an essay question

Narrowing down a broad topic into a viable essay or dissertation question can feel daunting but using the formula below could help a lot.

Start with your TOPIC and consider what VARIABLES impact on said topic, add in a SPECIFIC factor and you’ll quickly find yourself with a viable essay question – or at the very least a decent starting point to discuss with your supervisor.

For example:













Question: To what extent does ethnicity affect the timeline of diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis in women between the ages of 18-45 in North America?


Example essay questions To what extent does TOPIC determine VARIABLE according to SPECIFIC place/ location/ company/ sector/ person, author etc.

To what extent does the effect of climate change impact the economy of South Africa ? How far was the Christian Democrat victory in the Italian elections of 1948 influenced by Cold War tensions ? To what extent was poor leadership the reason for the defeat of the Ottoman armies at the gates of Vienna in 1683 ? To what extent is wireless networking a feasible alternative to cabled networking within a whole-city context of San Francisco ? To what extent has Zoonation’s interpretive dance successfully transformed the characterization of the White Rabbit and the Red Queen in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to explore mental illness ? To what extent does geography influence the use of French idiomatic expressions ? How is Flaubert’s portrayal of Emma in Madame Bovary delivered and affected by the costuming in the film version by Claude Chabrol (1991) ? Can the physical and chemical properties of the undiscovered elements be predicted using the law of periodicity ? How does the exponential function, and its calculus , inform areas of science such as nuclear physics, geology, anthropology or demography ? To what extent would a 10% decrease in honeybees change the output of crops grown in the UK ? To what extent do energy drinks affect recovery rates in middle-distance runners ? To what extent does wisdom imply acting in accordance with the order of nature , according to the Tao Te Ching ?


Planning your research Carefully planning your research will help you both save time and stay organised throughout your project. Not only is it a good idea to think carefully about the questions you need to answer and the sources you need to look at, but you will also need to think about how long you have to get things done. Creating a timeline for completion is incredibly important as project end dates which are over a term away can make it feel like you have all the time in the world to do the work but in reality you have that long because there is a lot to do. Breaking down the tasks early on is essential. Top Tip: use your diary to work back from your deadline and set yourself goals per lesson, week, cycle and per half term. Methodology In relation to planning, as you’re researching you need to make deliberate decisions on the sources you spend your time reading. These deliberate decisions will then be presented as your ‘methodology’ (approach to research) in your essay introduction. NOTE: If you are doing a science-based essay in the introduction you should use the terminology ‘approach to research’ as you may need to instead include a separate section titled methodology which outlines your experiment or data gathering (check with your supervisor). If you have been told to include a literature review , you need not include your methodology in your introduction as the literature review will cover it in more detail.

Go to page 25 for how to write a methodology and page 26 for literature reviews.


The role of the library in academic research

The Library and the library staff are there to: Advise on research techniques, referencing and plagiarism Advise on essay formatting Help you find what you are looking for Suggest appropriate resources Enable you to access online databases and catalogues appropriate to your academic level Select, find and order books

L ibrary resources include: Librarians! Books Magazines Study Space Journals

Databases and catalogues


Finding and using books Use: the school library catalogue Access-IT. On Access-IT you can also log in to your personal account using the Microsoft 365 option and create your own reading lists, find citation and referencing information, view the books you have on loan as well as your loan history and make reservations. Think: Will the information I need be accessible in another book or elsewhere online? The best way to know this is to be thorough in your research. Always try to make use of the available resources first. Search: the internet. If you find a book (or books) you want send an email to Ms Eldred,, or drop in and see her in person if you need a book which is currently not available in the school library.

If you need any help locating a book please ask the library staff for assistance.


How to locate a book in the library The library is organised across 3 floors, the Oxley Library, the Roe Reading Room and the Mezzanine floor in the Roe Reading Room. On each floor books are sorted first by academic section then by a unique classification number which you can find on the school catalogue AccessIT. Look out for the associated posters in the library and reading room which will tell you what colour stickers are used for each academic subject.


The key on the wall shows the colour of each section and the order the sections appear on the shelves. There is a key in the Oxley Library and the Roe Reading Room. In the Oxley Library you can also look out for the scrabble tile signs telling you where each section is.


Journal Articles The Library provides access to various databases and links to online resources through the intranet pages on dashboard. A journal article is a document produced by academics or researchers who are often associated in some way with a university. They can be considered very credible sources of information and should absolutely be used in your research.

JSTOR is a database full of over 2 million academic journal articles and is also another very good place to start your research.

Google Scholar searches academic research material and allows the use of Boolean search terms helping to narrow down search results.

Research Gate holds millions of articles from around the world, some of which will need to be requested. You can email the library staff with the title of your request. * Important: access Research Gate through the school library pages to avoid being asked to create an account.

To view all the resources the library offers log on to the library pages on dashboard (on the school intranet).


Choosing the right books and articles You do not have to read the entire thing! Books Read the blurb on the back cover or inside front cover of physical books and in the summary or notes section on the online catalogue. If after reading you decide you need to know more move to step two otherwise put it aside and move on! Read the contents page and make a note of any chapters which sound relevant. Either start reading the relevant chapters (if you find you need to read further chapters then do so) or... Using your keywords scan the index (in the back of the book) to find correlating words and go directly to those pages and read around the relevant information. Discard any books which are not relevant or useful to your study. Online journal articles Read the abstract or first and last paragraphs. Use CTRL+F (Windows) or CMD+F (Apple) to search for your keywords. Read around the key words to determine if you need to read more fully in depth and do so if need be. NB: Using the index and CTRL+F/ CMD+F function is a good way to jump to relevant bits of information however, using this method can result in taking information out of context.


Key words and how to use them Before you start searching for information it’s good practice to think about what words and phrases you’ll use to find the information you need, without doing so you could easily miss out entire areas of research. Consider the many different synonyms we can use describe something. For example, if you were interested in looking for information on British Women in the 1920’s your keywords and phrases might look like this;




Britain / British



United Kingdom / UK



England / English


Nineteen Twenties

Ireland / Irish


The Twenties

Scotland / Scottish


Early Twentieth Century

Wales / Welsh

Female Population

Using various different combinations of keywords can return very different results on search engines and help ensure you don’t miss out anything important, for example consider the following search terms;

1. British women 1920

2. ”Female population” UK “early twentieth century”

Both combinations are very closely related in meaning yet they will likely end up finding different sources of information. Your keywords may change as your research progresses and you incorporate words and phrases that other researchers have used.


Getting specific Boolean search terms are words and symbols which you can use in combination with your key words to create ‘word equations’ to narrow down your results when searching in databases and search engines such as Google and JSTOR. JSTOR advanced search also allows for the NEAR 5, NEAR 10 or NEAR 25 function which tells the search engine that all results must have the two key words within 5, 10 or 25 words of each other. This function helps give a greater chance your key words are related to each other rather than appearing independently pages apart. Top Tip: For advanced search functions: • Type Advanced Search into Google • Choose the advanced search function on the front page of JSTOR just underneath the regular search box Search engines often use different way of advanced searching, for example, JSTOR combines words using AND between each but Google will automatically assume AND if two words are next to each other. JSTOR uses NOT to remove a word from a search, Google allows the use of the minus sign instead.

In the search box


must have both the words British and women somewhere on the page must have either the word British or the word Britain, or both, somewhere on the page must have the word British but none may have the word American words in quote marks must appear in the results in the exact way they are written must have the word woman and must have either the word British or Britain

British AND Women

British OR Britain

British NOT American

“Female Population”

Woman AND (British OR Britain)


Getting around academic paywalls The worst has happened - you've found a promising academic article and all of a sudden, you're blocked by the publisher asking you to pay an outrageous fee to continue reading! The following tips may help you get around these pay walls and progress your research further. You can email article links to Ms Eldred, if she can get a copy from elsewhere she will email it back to you. Even though you can’t read the whole article you can usually read the abstract. An abstract summarises the main gist of the information including the findings. It’s possible to use information given in an abstract to inform your study although, of course, you should always read the full text where possible. Sometimes even though you can’t read the whole article you can still see the bibliography . A bibliography will show where the author got their information from allowing you to follow the trail and do likewise. It’s always worth doing a Google search of the authors you come across as many will have biographies or personal websites where they sometimes publish their articles to read for free – or links to other articles, interviews, reviews etc. which you may be able to make use of instead. You can search millions of publications and authors on Research Gate for free. Not all articles will be available for immediate download but you can contact Ms Eldred who will put the request in for you.


If you are unsure whether the site you’re using is credible, verify the information you find with another source you know to be reliable such as a book on the subject. The kind of websites you use for research can also depend on the topic you are investigating. In some cases it may be appropriate to use information from a company or non-profit organization’s website, such as when writing an industry or company overview. When using a regular search engine such as Google the main thing is to use your common sense – don’t necessarily believe everything you read! An easy way to ensure the resources you’re using are credible is to make use of the resources promoted on the library pages. Credible sources Not all websites are credible sources of information. To determine a website's credibility, there are six things to look for: author, date, sources, domain, site design, and writing style. A credible website will have an author who stands behind the information presented, a recent date, sources cited, and a domain such as .edu or .gov. The site should be well-designed and have good writing style without errors.


Academic Honesty Plagiarism is the act of copying or using someone else's work without acknowledging that you have done so. It can be done intentionally e.g. copy and pasting something from a website and pretending you wrote it yourself, or unintentionally e.g. copying something from a website and forgetting you had done so. Examiners will not be able to tell whether a piece of work has been plagiarised on purpose or by mistake and as such accidental plagiarism will be treated as intentional. Plagiarism can have very serious consequences which can include losing your qualifications and being refused enrolment later on to further courses run by the same governing body. To write your essay you need to use other people’s work to inform your own ideas and conclusions. To avoid plagiarism you will need to cite your sources using references and a bibliography, see pages 29-34.


Using AI There will likely come a time when we can make use of AI in an acceptable way in academia, but that time is not now. Though it might be tempting to make use of programs such as ChatGPT or CaktusAI to help you write your essay for you, know that if you were found to be doing so the work you hand in would not be considered valid and you would receive a failing grade. Currently AI programs often cite sources incorrectly or in many cases completely make up sources and facts!

AI written work can also be accurately detected when put through a checker. Trying to get away with it just isn’t worth it!


Writing academically

Writing the essay You must use the language of the question throughout the essay for example the highlighted words: To what extent would a 10% decrease in honeybees change the output of crops grown in the UK? Use CTRL+F (Windows) or CMD+F (Apple) to quickly search for words in your essay. If you have an entire page, section or lengthy paragraph that has not incorporated at least some of the words in your question it’s possible you’ve gone off track! General expectations All sections throughout the essay must refer back to both the title of the section and the essay question.

Academic essays should be written in the third person: ' The conclusion could be drawn...' as opposed to 'I have come to the conclusion...'

Further examples of writing academically in the third person: This essay will focus on… The research pointed to/ led to/ uncovered… Studies suggest… Contrasting opinions were found, opinion 1, opinion 2… In answering the essay question a logical progression of thought suggests… This essay question was developed to explore the idea of… Conclusions could be drawn…


1st person vs. 3rd person examples Changing first person language to third person language



My question stems from my interest in…

The motivation for this essay question was to discover more on …

A further reason to explore this question is…

Another reason why I chose this topic was because I think it is…

In addition, this question is worthy of investigation because…

In contradiction to these claims an alternate hypothesis is…

I disagree with these claims...

Although these claims are widely stated an alternative solution such as … may be a more appropriate.

I do take into consideration that there are a myriad other factors to consider… I have chosen two countries to study…

With consideration, there are myriad other factors to consider…

In an attempt to answer the question, this essay will compare two countries…

I have come to the conclusion... The conclusion could be drawn...

A notable highlight…

The first point to highlight is…

Firstly, I want to highlight...

The first important factor to consider is…

This section will highlight/ discuss/ explore/ debate …

To conclude this section, I believe that in the short-term…

To conclude this section, in the short-term…


General essay formatting Formal academic work generally should include the following elements: A title page which includes your essay question and the word count; for the EE you must also include your essay title (different to the question) and academic subject.

A contents page.

Titled sections and subsections throughout the essay.

Citations throughout the essay and a bibliography which starts on a new page.

Page numbers.

Your essay should be double spaced.

Any illustrations must be titled and a ‘List of figures’ included directly after the contents list.

Important: in the body of the essay DO NOT start new sections on new pages. All sections should run on from one another with a simple one-line space between.


Introduction A good introduction will summarise the main points that will be explored in the essay and why those points were essential to answering the question. The introduction should include your methodology or ‘approach to research’. This is where you will refer to specific resources, usually two or three that you leant on most heavily. For some essays you may have an entire methodology section (usually in science based essays) or literature review which will expand the methodology further (often included in an EPQ), in this case you do not need to include the information in your introduction. Your teacher or supervisor will advise on a separate methodology section if needed. See page 25 for more on including your methodology in the introduction, and page 26 on for more on writing a literature review. The introduction should include direct reference to the essay question; for an EE the question must be included in full and highlighted in bold. For an EPQ including the question in full isn’t a requirement but is good practice.

The introduction should include a short paragraph beginning, ‘This question/ topic is worthy of investigation because…’


Methodology Your methodology appears as a paragraph in the introductions and should highlight specific sources – in particular those which were most useful and why. It should mention further sources utilised and why i.e., to explore an avenue further or answer a particular question that arose. You should also be able to articulate why the research question you chose is ‘worthy of investigation’ – what was the point of your research and why did the question need exploring? Example methodology Essay question: To what extent did Empress Cixi contribute to the modernisation of China in the period 1861 to 1908? “The methodology used to answer this question was to begin by comparing the seminal biography by Jung Chang with various personal accounts by people who knew her such as Princess Der Ling whose diary was investigated in order to understand the extent of her efforts to modernise China and the possible political pressure placed on her. However, due to difficulty in finding these sources, modern secondary sources that utilised primary material helped provide perspectives of historians on Cixi’s role in China. This question is worthy of investigation as Mao Zedong has often been given the credit as the figurehead that led China’s modernisation due to the common historical misogyny. Empress Cixi’s achievements have often gone unrecognised but this investigation reveals it was Cixi who laid the foundation and embarked on China’s modernisation.”


Literature review You only need to include a literature review in an essay if you are told to do so. Extended Essays do not include literature reviews. A literature review tells the reader what sources were used and why and covers how the resource has been used in your essay. It identifies what sections of the essay the source(s) relates to and/ or what points it helped you make as well as the perspective a source offered or the information it conveyed In this instance ‘perspective’ and ‘information’ mean summary information rather than literal facts and figures or specific quotes which are better placed in your essay. In the literature review you should only refer to resources you actually used in your essay. Your literature review should include a short introduction and a short conclusion

Introduction (3-5 sentences): What needed to be researched to answer the question?

Starting most likely with a broad understanding before narrowing to more focused reading. What type of sources were best for answering the question? You can state in the introduction that you focused on using credible sources such as academic journal articles, this will avoid needing to state the same for each source throughout your literature review and becoming repetitive.


In the body of the literature review:

Have you referred back to your question? Examples: ‘To answer this question information was needed on...’ ‘In answering the question primary sources were needed and secondary sources were used to further fill in gaps in the research. Primary sources included...’ Rather than list your articles one by one, refer to them in relation to the main points you are making throughout the essay. Example: ‘The History of Germany by Smith (2009) was used heavily early on in the research to fully develop an understanding of [...] as discussed in detail in [section two].’ Whilst it is important to identify the credibility of a source the assumption is you will have chosen only credible sources for your essay, you do not therefore need to state the credibility of each individual source. Instead, identify why you chose the sources you did, for example: Did the source give a balanced view of the subject looking at both sides of the argument? Was it a primary source? Was it data backed by scientific evidence? Was it a controlled study? Did it cover multiple time periods/ multiple viewpoints/ multiple countries etc. Was it a source which was heavily biased, and you made use of it to show the extremes of an argument? You might mention the initial purpose of the resource (an academic study, a biography, a news article etc.) and why it was created (to prove something, to tell people about an issue etc.). If you found lots of info, how did you narrow down your choices? Why were the resources you chose the best options? – this point might also feature in the introduction. If there wasn’t much research available what problems might this pose for making sure your view is well rounded? Were you able to back your points by multiple sources? Have you considered potential bias? Conclusion (3-5 sentences): A short summary of the potential limitations of your sources


Conclusion A good conclusion will summarise the main points made in the essay.

The conclusion MUST explicitly refer to the essay question – have you answered all parts of the question?

The conclusion should suggest further avenues of research that could build upon the work conducted for your essay.

DO NOT include sources in the conclusion which you have not used in the rest of the essay!

DO NOT introduce new information in the conclusion!


Using other people’s work When undertaking academic research you’re expected to make use of other people’s work to inform your own ideas, opinions and conclusions. The way to do this without committing plagiarism is by using citations and references. Being transparent about where your information came from allows the reader to follow your research trail and verify the information for themselves should they wish to.

A source or resource is the source of information i.e., a book or website.

A citation is an acknowledgement within your text where a particular piece of information was taken from another piece of work. A citation appears within the body of the essay

A reference is what the citation refers to; a reference is a note of the full publication details. References are listed at the end of an essay; the list is called a bibliography .


A direct quote

An in-text citation

You can cite (refer to) the same reference multiple times in the essay. You need only list the reference once in the bibliography.

A citation can be in the form of a direct quote contained within “quotation marks” or as an indirect quote where the information has been paraphrased or summarised to fit with the flow of the essay in either case a citation is needed.


How to quote Notice how the wording changes in the following examples yet the same information is given. Regardless of how the information is written all three examples still have a citation. Original quote (a direct quote): “Pandas are often seen eating in a relaxed sitting posture, with their hind legs stretched out before them. They may appear sedentary, but they are skilled tree-climbers and efficient swimmers.” (National Geographic, 2020). Reduced quote with added words: Though “Pandas are often seen eating in a relaxed sitting posture… [and] may appear sedentary… they are skilled tree climbers and efficient swimmers.” (National Geographic, 2020). - Use ellipses… to show words have been removed and [square brackets] to show words have been added. Quote completely reworded (an indirect quote) : For a lot of the time pandas often sit in a relaxed posture where they stretch their legs out in front of them, they are very good at climbing trees and swimming even though they seem to spend most of the time not doing very much (National Geographic, 2020).

When should you cite your sources? If the information is a fact. If the information is something you didn’t already know. If you are quoting someone. If you copy and paste or copy and reword information.


Some information is considered to be common knowledge – for instance, we all know the sky is blue and you wouldn’t need to quote someone else saying that. In the same way, if you learned something in a class a year ago and can talk confidently about it you wouldn’t need to find a source for that information. However, if you need to check your facts or research further then you should cite your source. If in doubt over whether information can be considered common knowledge the safest option would be to include a citation. Referencing style There are many different styles of referencing, style in this context refers to the way references are formatted and determines what order the information appears in and what punctuation is used. The style you choose might be influenced by the academic discipline your essay falls under. For example, many historians prefer to use a style of referencing that makes use of footnotes. A footnote shows additional information at the bottom of the page and is indicated in text by a small number like this. The number will usually always be found at the end of the appropriate sentence after the full-stop and links to the same number at the bottom of the page. In other disciplines such as Geography for example it’s common to use in-text citations where the author surname and date the information was written is put in parenthesis directly after the quotation like this (Smith, 2011). At Teddies we lean towards using in-text citations as they are usually more straightforward and quicker to insert.

Regardless of what style you choose, at the end of your essay you will need a bibliography where you list of all your references in alphabetical order.


Creating references Formatting references and/ or footnotes and a bibliography correctly can be a time-consuming and laborious business. Thankfully, Microsoft Word has a feature which does all of the formatting for you — though you do still have to enter all of the publication data yourself. A guide for using Word to style your references can be found on the library dashboard Research, Referencing and Academic Honesty pages - or better yet, book a meeting with Ms Eldred in the library .

In general there are five main things you need to include in references: Author Surname, First name OR Organisation Name. (Date). Title . Publisher, Location.

These five things remain consistent regardless of the type of source but look a little different:

Book: Author Surname, First name. (Date). Book Title . Publisher, City or Country.

Journal article: Author Surname, First name. (Date). Article Title . Journal name, Volume (Issue Number), page numbers. Retrieved from URL

Website: Author Surname, First name OR Web Site or Organisation. (Date). Name of Web Page . Name of Web site. Retrieved Year, Month Day. URL

Regardless of what style of referencing you use the most important thing is consistency . For example you should either make sure you italicise all article titles or don’t italicise at all; put brackets around all your publications dates or don’t use them at all. In a nutshell, all references should be formatted the same way. Obviously this will differ slightly between source type however all types should be formatted in the same way i.e. all book references should be formatted the same way as each other, all websites should be formatted the same way as each other etc. If you use Word to create your references the formatting will be automatically consistent.


Top Tips:

Book a meeting with Ms Eldred in the library to go over your referencing together and to ask any questions.

Authors should always be written in your references the same way as they appear on publications. For example, if the author writes their name in full you should too, if they include their middle initial you should also include their middle initial.

If a source has multiple authors you MUST list ALL the authors.

If the source has been found online your reference must always include a URL Apple computers only : For journal articles, in the Source Manager in Word, change the Type of source to ‘Document from Website’, add the URL and change back to ‘Article from Journal’. The URL will seem to disappear but it will appear in your bibliography. Websites must include a date of publication and the date accessed - you can use the copyright year at the bottom of the page if there is no date on the article. Journal articles must have the publication date but DO NOT need date accessed as once published they never change. If you cannot find a date you can simply leave it blank however, it is uncommon to see a bibliography with lots of missing dates, please speak to Ms Eldred if you are struggling to find dates. Important: only include references in your bibliography which you have actually cited in your essay. It might be tempting to want to demonstrate your wider reading but this can actually work against you! Listing sources you’ve read but not cited can suggest you didn’t make careful decisions about how you spent your time and were not discerning enough to choose only relevant material.


Sounding professional Here are some quick and easy ways to reduce the word count and write in a more academic and professional way. Cut out filler words Then, the, that, so, some, which ; for example: So I googled some possible titles and then asked the librarian if she could order some in them for me , which she did. Go through your work reading sentences without the filler words, if it still makes sense then cut the word out! Use CTRL+F (Microsoft) or CMD+F (Apple) to bring up the search bar and quickly find words in your document. Use of acronyms In the essay: write the name in full the first time followed by the acronym in parenthesis, thereafter you can use the acronym as usual, for example: Consider your phrasing Sometimes it sounds more professional to use a wider vocabulary, the following examples were taken from EE reflections: ‘I got stuck right away…’ becomes ‘I hit a snag immediately…’ ‘I made a new schedule…’ becomes ‘I devised a new schedule…’ Sometimes one or two words could take the place of multiple, for example: ‘To start with…’ becomes ‘Initially…’ ‘A couple of weeks in…’ becomes ‘Early on…’ Use linking words to create flow You should link your sections to other parts of your essay where appropriate by saying things like 'As discussed previously...' or '...this point will be expanded on in the next section.' The tables on the next pages provide helpful words and phrases you might want to incorporate in your writing. ‘The report from the National Health Service (NHS) suggested...' Note: this is how you should present all acronyms in your essay.


Sentence Starters When using direct or indirect quotes you should always refer to author names and articles titles where possible. For example:

According to Smith (2024) … Smith (2024) states …. As noted in the History of the Byzantine State by Ostrogorsky (1982)... Olusoga (2020) made the point that … In contrast to the timeline outlined in The Silk Roads (Frankopan, 2015) ... Research conducted by Oxford University (2020) points to…

You should try to avoid using the word ‘says’ unless the words were originally spoken aloud for example in an interview. On the right are some examples you could use instead.

• X writes, “… • X notes, “… • X states, “… • X comments that… • X observes, “… • X concludes, “… • X maintains, “… • X adds, “…

• X remarks, “… • X reports, “…

• X points out, “… • X emphasizes, “…

Top Tip: remember, if you need to add words to a direct quote to make it fit the flow of your essay you can insert those words inside square brackets [like this].

• X claims that… • X agrees that… • X strongly argues… • X takes the view that…

Use linking words to create flow You should link your sections to other parts of your essay where appropriate by saying things like 'As discussed previously...' or '...this point will be expanded on in the next section.' The following tables provide helpful words and phrases you might want to incorporate in your writing. 37

Putting all this into practice the following reflection can be reduced significantly without losing any meaning and in doing so it becomes more succinct: In terms of my methodology I got stuck right away when I found the library didn’t have any books relevant to my study. (23 words) In terms of methodology, I hit a snag immediately when I couldn’t find relevant books in the library. (18 words) So I googled some possible titles and then asked the librarian if she could order some in for me, which she did. (22 words) To overcome this, I suggested possible titles to the librarian who ordered some books for me. (16 words)


To start with, using journal articles was challenging because they are of a high level, but I realised that if I read the abstracts first it would save me time because then I could narrow down my choices to just a few articles to read in full. (47 words) Initially, using journal articles felt challenging but I discovered by reading the abstracts first I could narrow my choices to just a few articles to read in full. (28 words) A couple of weeks in I realised I had not scheduled enough time to work on my essay each week, so I made a new schedule making sure that I gave myself achievable goals for each research session. (38 words) Early on I realised I hadn’t scheduled enough time to work on my essay, so I devised a new schedule and now give myself achievable goals for each research session. (30 words) When I read articles I’ve been making notes on how the article could fit my essay. This was really helpful later when I was creating my essay plan to share with my supervisor. (33 words) Whilst researching I considered how each source might inform my essay and I made careful notes allowing me to create a detailed essay plan to share with my supervisor. (29 words) In conversation with my supervisor, they suggested that it’s easier to write references as you go so I am going to spend some time writing references for everything I’ve used so far and then do so for everything else I go on to use. (44 words) In conversation with my supervisor, I’ve realised it would be sensible to write references as I go so in my next research session I will do this for everything I’ve used so far. (33 words)

Total original word count: 207 words Total edited word count: 154 words



Re-read: does it make sense? Check for spelling mistakes and missing words.

Top Tip: Reading your essay aloud is a really effective way to notice mistakes. Alternatively, you can get Word to read aloud for you: highlight your essay, click on the Review tab and choose the Read Aloud option which will look something like this:

Do your subheadings fit what you have written about in each section?

Have you have specifically and explicitly answered your essay question throughout the essay? Make sure you have summed up your sections and points by relating the information to the main essay question either in full or in part.

Have you explicitly answered all parts of your question in the conclusion?

Does your writing sound professional? Use the CTRL+F / CMD+F function to search for any instances of 1st person language and change to 3rd person (see pages 21-22). Search for filler words and cut them out! (see page 35).

Have you started any paragraphs with ‘Also…’ or similar wording? If so you may need to rethink: if you’re building on a point you should keep it contained within the same paragraph.


Use the CTRL+F / CMD+F function to search for the words used in your question – have you used them regularly throughout your essay? If not, why not? Put them in!

Very short sentences: could they be combined with preceding or following sentences?

Very long sentences: could they be broken up with commas or into multiple sentences?

Particularly long quotes: have you used them to make a specific point before or after? You may need to consider breaking long quotes up to more clearly make your points.


Reflection Reflecting on your work and progress is a key element of many of your courses and is a very good life skill to have – and one you will very likely need for future careers. In Sixth Form at Teddies in the EE (IB) you will write three formal reflections at specific point in the process, in the EPQ (A-levels) you will write a project log which needs to be reflective. In both cases these differnt types of reflection will impact your marks.

When reflecting on your work and progress you should aim to do the following:

Make every sentence specific and meaningful. Simply saying you enjoyed or disliked something is not enough: you must evaluate your experiences.

Evaluating your experiences means assessing the value of what you've learnt and being self-critical. It is not enough to simply describe your experiences, you must demonstrate you've learnt skills and made deliberate choices. You might also consider how doing this piece of work has helped/ will help you in other subjects or at university for example. BE POSITIVE. Even if you had a stressful or negative experience, use it to demonstrate how it made you think, grow or develop in some way. To the examiner moaning - however valid you feel it is - will only come across as an inability to reflect and adapt. DO NOT state your title or your exact topic choices - remember, the examiner/ teacher has seen your work and already knows what you wrote about.

DO NOT describe a blow-by-blow account of your progress, instead you need to evaluate specific actions you have taken.


Descriptive vs. reflective writing Avoid writing descriptively by ensuring every sentence discusses skills learnt or being developed, a challenge anticipated or overcome or solutions/ proposed solutions to those challenges. Consider the exemplars and analysis on the following pages which were written by previous Teddies IB pupils for their EE. The ‘Descriptive writing’ pupil received a total of 1 out of 6 points for their reflections, the ‘Reflective writing’ pupil received 6 out of 6 points. If doing an EPQ you should be writing reflectively in your project log, if doing an EE you will write 3 reflections throughout the process, in both cases your ability to reflect on your progress will be marked. X Descriptive writing On the 19th of May I had my first Reflection meeting with my supervisor. So far I have read and made comprehensive notes on 5 different historical secondary sources. We also discussed a research plan for half term. Over Half term, I will read the rest of the sources my supervisor put on the shared space, which will make my bibliography 12 sources long, I will find 2 different primary sources, at the moment I will investigate Garibaldi’s “My Life” and the different manifestos Mazzini’s secret societies published. I will also do brief source analysis on these primary sources. I have narrowed my research question as I will either, look at it from the perspective of Garibaldi being the most important factor (which is the consensus amongst most historians) or look at it from the perspective of Count Cavour, and his diplomatic work. (144 words)


Break down of descriptive writing On the 19th of May I had my first Reflection meeting with my supervisor. Whilst it is perfectly OK to talk about a meeting you had with your supervisor, this sentence is a statement of fact only – it does not suggest what was discussed, any conclusions reached or any questions answered. It gives no insight and no valuable information, it could refer to anyone’s EE and says nothing about this person’s individual experience. So far I have read and made comprehensive notes on 5 different historical secondary sources. The pupil is trying to suggest they have got off to a good start however this statement does nothing to suggest why the action was taken. Does the essay require secondary sources as per the EE requirements for example? We also discussed a research plan for half term. It’s a good idea to mention your plan of action however again, this sentence gives nothing; the pupil gives no information on what the plan will involve. Although they go on in the next sentence to say what they will do in half term, THIS sentence is descriptive, not reflective. EVERY sentence must be useful, meaningful and reflective. Over half term, I will read the rest of the sources my supervisor put on the shared space, which will make my bibliography 12 sources long, Good that the pupil has stated what they plan to do over half term however you should NEVER state that your supervisor gave you the information you need. It is YOUR research project. We do not need to know how long the bibliography is or will be – the examiner will have seen your bibliography when they read your essay.

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