A2 Research Booklet by panniuniu

VIEWS: 2 PAGES: 17

									                                  Dr. S.M.Harding
G496: Yr 13 Research and Report




                                                    2009




                                                                  A short written (max 2000 words) and verbal report based
                                                                  on the individual work of a candidate summarising a topic
                                                                  in physics of his or her own choosing that requires the
                                                                  need to use and synthesise ideas from different areas of
                                                                  the subject. The criteria for assessment include the ability
                                                                  to defend and explain the ideas involved during
                                                                  questioning.




                                                    Walton High
Contents:

OVERVIEW...................................................................................................................................................................... 3
    THE NATURE OF THE TASK .............................................................................................................................................. 3

    MANAGING THE RESEARCH BRIEFING TASK ................................................................................................................... 3

    ASSESSING THE WORK .................................................................................................................................................... 3

WHAT YOU WILL DO ................................................................................................................................................... 4
CHOOSING A TOPIC ....................................................................................................................................................... 5
    IN SUMMARY: ................................................................................................................................................................. 6

DOING THE RESEARCH .............................................................................................................................................. 7
BIBLIOGRAPHY AND REFERENCING. ........................................................................................................................ 8
    AN EXAMPLE OF A BIBLIOGRAPHY: ................................................................................................................................. 9

WHICH ONE ARE YOU? ............................................................................................................................................... 11
    THE MINIMALIST .......................................................................................................................................................... 11

    THE INQUIRING MIND ................................................................................................................................................... 11

DEVELOPMENT OF IDEAS ....................................................................................................................................... 11
    STOPPING THE RESEARCH IN TIME................................................................................................................................. 11

PREPARING FOR THE WRITING PROCESS .............................................................................................................. 12
    MODELS........................................................................................................................................................................ 12

    ATTRIBUTING AND ACKNOWLEDGING........................................................................................................................... 12

    KNOWLEDGE OF THE APPROPRIATE PHYSICS ................................................................................................................. 12

STAGES IN WRITING THE ARTICLE ..................................................................................................................... 13
PRODUCING A ROUGH DRAFT OF THE CHUNKS .................................................................................................. 14
PRODUCING THE FINAL REPORT ............................................................................................................................. 15
CHECKLIST .................................................................................................................................................................. 16
TOPIC SUGGESTIONS ................................................................................................................................................ 17




                                                                                         2
Overview
This task is designed to assess the ability of a candidate to find information from a variety of sources; to
compare, analyse and evaluate the information obtained, and to synthesise and summarise the essential
points. The Research Briefing gives candidates an opportunity to be rewarded for:

    •   working independently;
    •   drawing together ideas from different aspects of physics;
    •   selecting and extracting information from a variety of sources;
    •   applying knowledge and understanding of basic ideas to a new topic;
    •   translating and interpreting information that may be available in a variety of forms;
    •   placing physics ideas in a wider human or social context;
    •   communicating scientific ideas in continuous prose using good English;
    •   using published material as part of research.



The nature of the task
This task involves researching a topic of the student’s choice to produce a short paper of about 1500-2000
words, a Research Briefing. The student will need to be able to explain the content of this work and to
respond to questions that test understanding and mastery of the material included. The task is modelled on
the professional activity in which members of a research group brief one another on recent work in the
field, but adapted to the assessment of A-Level students.

The student should collect, analyse, evaluate and summarise information about a topic that involves a
significant range of physics ideas at a suitable level. The information is to be obtained from the candidate’s
own research using a representative range and variety of sources. These sources might include books,
journals, pamphlets, surveys, interviews, libraries, databases and web sites on the internet. The topic may
be experimental, theoretical or applied. The topic must be approved in advance by the class teacher. The
teacher should ensure that the student chooses a topic that will enable them to fulfil the assessment
criteria.

Managing the Research Briefing task
The outcome of the task is a written Research Briefing (2–3 pages A4, about 2000 words), in the candidate’s
own words, that summarizes the key results and ideas in the topic studied. This must be based on the
candidate’s own independent study of sources.

Candidates must include a list of the sources that they have used, which the teacher can sample as
necessary to confirm authenticity.

The Research Briefing will be sent to Moderators, together with the teacher’s supporting notes about the
student’s response to questioning and understanding of the material, and the overall assessment.

Assessing the work
The teacher must use three sources of evidence:

    1. the written Research Briefing including the list of sources used;
    2. the candidate’s ability to explain the Briefing verbally or by some other appropriate method, and to
       respond to questions that test understanding of the topic, including questions about sources;
    3. observation of and interaction with the candidate during the preparatory work.

The Research Briefing must:

    •   be in the candidate’s own words;
    •   explain the main results and ideas in the topic studied, and what they are based on, where relevant
        how they have developed or changed, or are novel or disputed;
    •   give arguments for the importance and/or interest of the topic, which may include its relevance to
        specific issues (e.g. scientific, technological, ethical, social, economic or environmental).


What you will do
1. To begin choose a suitable topic for research

2. Spend some time collecting relevant information from a range of sources in order to obtain a sample
    of the information available.

This initial phase of the research may be spread over several weeks, and is carried out in your own time
and some lessons. We will monitor you during the project and are willing to offer tactful advice at any
stage during the work, so that you become fully aware of how to maximise your performance. If help is
asked for it will be given, as far as possible, in a way which allows you to gain credit for using such advice
in your own way.

3. The next stage is to select an interesting aspect /issue/ application/ problem which has arisen from
    the material surveyed and to research it more thoroughly.

We expect you to hand in a substantial first draft.

4. Then summarize the findings of the research in the form of a written report or article addressed to
    scientifically knowledgeable readers.

5. You should use word-processing and other IT packages.

6. All information sources consulted must be listed and published material used should be given full
    references.




                                                       4
Choosing a topic
What makes a good choice?

 Something that interests you

 Something you know very little about

 Something you saw on the news/in a magazine/journal

 Something that is not just about a very small part of physics

 Something that has a wider impact in society

You can approach the search for a suitable topic in a variety of ways - from a personal interest, a television
documentary, a radio programme, a newspaper etc. - each of which is equally valid. You could, of course,
look randomly through copies of the “New Scientist” magazine to see if you can find, in those pages,
something you have a desire to follow through.

Once you have generated one or two topic ideas you need to actively pursue your teacher in order to
investigate the suitability of your ideas. Only then will you be in a position to choose your area of study
for Research and Report. Having made this initial decision you now have to discover how you are going to
get yourself into that huge area of study.

When reading through articles/technical literature you need to be responsive to possible ignition points,
openings, opportunities which might provide pathways into your chosen field. Don’t just read straight
through complete articles - look for ignition points: titles can be inviting .... ends of articles are often
interesting .... looking for places where the author summarises .... ends of paragraphs might provide a
trigger mechanism.

You have to get your brain working - try to cultivate alertness to points of departure that could provide a
route into a seemingly huge area of study. You need to dig, penetrate and inquire - this process is vital
because looking for tracks gives purpose to the research - without purpose you are seriously handicapped.

Throughout both the research and the writing you are always trying to find ways of limiting/coming in
at/shaping/targeting a particular area of study. You have to decide: what sounds intriguing; what might be
followed up; how to follow up leads; where else to look for information etc. With this strategy you will be
looking into a narrowing field of study which you have come into from various ignition points/trigger
mechanisms/points of departure/directions and which in all likelihood is going give you an excellent chance
of producing an interesting article and a favourable assessment.




                                                       5
In summary:
Identify your broad AREA for study .....within that area look hard for departure points which strike you as
intriguing and “follow-up-able”. Put yourself in a moderately active position - dig, penetrate and inquire, to
see if there isn’t something you can find which, however fanciful or modest, you have something of a
design to follow through.

A cautionary word regarding your choice of topic

 A topic which is irrelevant to your interest will result in the writing being uninspired.

 Broad topic areas do not lead to reports with a well supported thesis.

 Topics that can only be researched from one source result in summaries - not a research paper. Topics
   that are novel and interesting often lead to first class pieces of work.

 Topics which are technically too difficult ought to be avoided.

 Topics requiring key material that is unavailable are a waste of time.




                                                       6
Doing the research
You must do your own research from a range and variety of sources:

 books

 journals

 pamphlets

 surveys

 interviews

 libraries

 data bases

 visits

 web sites on the Internet.

 Be flexible (up to a point) .... be prepared to shift your ground when you come across other sufficiently
   intriguing ignition points ...... always saying to yourself; “Is this essential?” At the same time be
   firm/steadfast in keeping to the track of the finished product you are aiming towards. You have got to
   be tough and decisive .. judge alternative strategies on merit ... reject some ... follow up others ... chuck
   out whole sections of previous research if it makes sense to do so. It’s hard but you must be constantly
   fighting for good clear lines if the final product is to be fresh and exciting. It is a classic mistake to try to
   include everything - don’t do it!




                                                         7
Bibliography and referencing.


ALWAYS write down the details of where you have got the information from - author, date, publisher, title
etc for EVERYTHING, ALWAYS




And if you do not do this you will be in trouble.

In the wider world, such as the world that you will be entering in the not too distant future, when you
write a report you cannot just write down information without saying where you got it. This is what
referencing is. Your text should be littered with references, for example like this:



           This number is
           important




Lakin & Wellington2 call these situations ‘critical incidents’ and say that they are invaluable for
communicating to pupils about the nature of science. How teachers react to these incidents is, they say, a
good indicator of their own view of the nature of science. Though teachers are often tempted to ‘rig’ or
‘conjure’ in order to ensure that demonstrations or practical work produces the right answer their
preferred response is to ‘talk their way through it’. However, Driver et al1 make the following comment:




   To use practicals ‘going wrong’ as a course of critical analysis and ‘talking one’s way through it’ with a class
   requires confidence in the subject, knowledge of potential explanations, a tolerance of uncertainty and the ability to
   handle discussions productively without feeling that authority is threatened. Paradoxically the teachers who are
   most likely to find themselves in situations of practicals ‘going wrong’ may be those least equipped to capitalise on
   the opportunities.                                                          Quotes
                                                                               indented and
                                                                               smaller type
                                                                               with gaps top
                                                     2
                                                                               and ability
This links back to the findings of Lakin & Wellington ; lack of confidence in one’sbottom to deal with
situations which enable the nature of science to be discussed fruitfully will mean that such situations will be
avoided.


                                                           8
And these references e.g. 'Lakin & Wellington1 ' refer to a publication that you have listed in your
bibliography.

An example of a bibliography:



         Author(s) + date of publication                                                               Book title




1. Driver, R., Leach, J., Millar, R. and Scott, P. (1996) Young People’s Images of Science. Buckingham, OUP

                                             Where published and publisher




               Title of article                                                             A magazine or journal title


2. Lakin, S. and Wellington, J. (1994) Who will teach the ‘nature of science’? International Journal of Science
Education, 16 (2), 175 –190.
                                                                Title, issue number and page numbers




           Alphabetical order

3.       QCA      (1999).         National       Curriculum         Review     Consultation       Materials:        Science,
http:\\www.qca.org.uk/ncr/pdfs/ncr-science.pdf
                                                                             Website - has the NAME as well
                                                                             as the URL


I cannot emphasise too strongly the importance of keeping track of where you get things. This is good
training and you will have to be meticulous. Every photocopy, every note you write, everything you use
from a website WRITE down:

 For a book                                  For a magazine/journal article          For a website

 Author(s) name and initial                  Author(s) name and initial              The name of the organisation or
                                                                                     person who is responsible for the
                                                                                     content

 Title                                       Title of article                        The URL



                                                                9
 Date of publication                  Title of magazine/journal

 Where published                      Date of publication

 Name of publisher                    Issue number

 Page numbers                         Page number




There is nothing worse than getting to the end and having to go back and find things. Trust me on this.

Why bother?

Apart from the fact that it is good training, you get marks for it.



                                          Searching the Internet…

                    The Internet is not edited. Anyone can write anything so BEWARE.

                                Start in Google and go to Advanced Search…

                                        where is says Domain type in

                                                 .ac.uk, .edu



       and this means that you will only get material that is published by universities in the US and
           UK. You can expand your search afterwards but this is always a good place to start.



                                                 .ac.uk, .edu



       and this means that you will only get material that is published by universities in the US and
           UK. You can expand your search afterwards but this is always a good place to start.




                                                       10
Which one are you?
Experienced teachers know that, once the initial research has been underway for two or three weeks, the
efforts of each of their students will correspond with one of the following “type” descriptors:

The Minimalist
- one who has taken a somewhat unintelligent approach to the initial stages of research; may have been
flippant, insincere, closed-minded, disorganised, shallow or superficial, and as a result has made little
progress.

The Inquiring Mind
- one who has fought hard to select a topic area which seems interesting/promising and who has, in the
process, rejected a number of alternative topics which seemed rather obscure, less interesting, too
technically demanding or simply too limited and limiting. Through reading has found some ignition points,
trigger mechanisms, pathways into the subject area, and has begun to follow up some of these through
further literature searches.

- - don’t be a minimalist.



Development of ideas


As you proceed with the process of collecting information from a reasonably representative range of
sources of information, you must dig, penetrate, inquire! Too many people want to settle for the first and
second ideas that come to them. But vigorous turning over of the ground is likely to yield a third .... and a
fourth. Explore those ideas as far as you can. There is nothing easy about this - it’s just something you
have to do during the next few weeks.

All the time, you will be aiming to get a clearer and clearer picture of the nature of the finished product in
your mind - you will need to identify chunks that are going to be there and, increasingly, shape everything
you do towards that finished product. Sketch out a plan of the chunks that you identify as components of
the finished product. This play may well change several times, simply because as you read .... getting into
more and more material .... you will have possible next steps, other references to look at, which may cause
you to overturn an earlier decision. Make a detailed list of the sources of information you consult this
record will form the basis of your bibliography.

Stopping the research in time


That’s hard too - we all feel there’s more to be done - more to read. You tell yourself “I’m not ready to
write this thing yet - I’ve only just begun to get going”. But it is important to say “HALT” .... and work from
                                                      11
what you’ve got. You do have to be able to say - in plenty of time - “That’s it! That’s it! I’m not going to
look at another source or another record.”



Preparing for the writing process

Models
Work from some good model ... i.e. any writers that you have found good to listen to - good to read - try to
get hold of anything that he or she has written or spoken. You need good models. You need to find writing
that appeals to you - obituaries; cook books; radio (Alistair Cook or the late Brian Redhead). If you can start
to get pleasure from other people’s writing or speaking then you can start to get some of that into your
writing too. As you read your own paragraphs aloud .... listening to what you write .... you will hear how
well it reads.

Attributing and acknowledging
All the time you must be attributing and acknowledging the sources that you are working from. Even when
you think you have rewritten somebody’s article, in your own way, it is so obvious to a reader that you have
plagiarised it - that you’ve taken somebody else’s idea and are trying to pass it off as your own.

Knowledge of the appropriate physics
Your knowledge of the appropriate physics has to be central. This means that all the time you have to be
adapting it, integrating it, and shaping it into the final product.




                                                        12
Stages in writing the article
Your article is a complex piece of work. While writing you have to focus on the title, martial ideas, arrange
them attractively, attempt to write crisp pleasing English and remain constantly alert to the threads of your
argument - remembering what you have said .. and where you are heading!

REMEMBER – YOU ONLY HAVE 2000 Words

A rough outline of the sections:




Title

        The overall title of your research.

Abstract

        A 200-300 word summary of your paper (not in the word count)

Contents page

        Again not part of the word count

Aim

        What you were researching, and why.




THE NEXT SECTIONS ARE PARTY OF YOUR 2000 WORD LIMIT

Introduction

        Could be why you are interested, could be a bit of history/background

Chunk 1

        This is the first main section, split into a logical set of sub-headings Include references that say
which information came from which sources.

Chunk 2

        This is the second main section, split into a logical set of sub-headings Include references that say
which information came from which sources.


                                                     13
And you could have Chunk 3, Chunk 4…

Analysis

        What you think and how the physics comes together and what range of physics you have used

THE FINAL SECTIONS ARE NOT PART OF YOUR 2000 WORD LIMIT

References

        Alphabetical list, to include texts, web addresses, private communications etc.

Acknowledgements

        If anyone gave you specific help of great value.




This adds up to a tough task so it’s wise to begin where you are actually strongest - in the middle so
concentrate on that middle bulk initially.



Producing a rough draft of the chunks
The first thing, obviously, is to be clear .... to be transparently clear in your expressions .. not easy .. not
easy at all. Have more short sentences than you might normally have ... people tend to write long
sentences ... they think that’s what mature writing is all about ...... have some shorter, crisper sentences.
Obviously you want some variety, but long sentences just to prove you’re a mature writer? .... very bad
idea! .... and usually too much information has gone into the sentence - you’ve lost control - and it doesn’t
come across clearly.

A rough draft ought to be a cut and paste job comprising various sections and sentences that can be
properly arranged once they are written down. You can inspect them at leisure, shuffle them, strengthen
them, and begin to tie them together. This method is what a rough draft ought to be - this is where the
word processor is very, very helpful because you can constantly shift things around ... you can say “I
thought it was going to be in section 1 ..... I now want to be in section 3 ....

Keep your reader in mind from the word go. You article needs to read aloud well. - you need to be linking
all the time - the whole thing needs to be put together with consummate care. So, when writing, read what
you write out loud to yourself. At all times you should be doing this - you will start to cultivate a critical ear
- you will find that things sound boring - you’ll find that there’s no link between strands of your argument.

                                                        14
What you are doing is putting yourself on the receiving end of what you write - you’re putting yourself in
the position of the reader.

Calculate! Calculate the effect on your reader. Read your stuff out loud .... critically... is it clear? .... are the
links there? .... is it attractive? ..... is it boring? ..... and all the time be conscious of what it’s like to read
your piece of work again.




Hack it to bits ....... then hack it to bits again ...... and go on shaping, refining, strengthening, re-ordering etc.
etc.

At all costs you should try to avoid the commonest form of rough draft which students do i.e. writing the
essay out in an orthodox way - in pencil or biro - then copying out a neat, almost word for word version to
hand in. THIS IS VIRTUALLY USELESS .... combining two dismal qualities that lack any fringe benefits; you
learn nothing between drafts one and two .... and ..... it takes long joyless time to complete.

ALWAYS go back to your AIM - what is it that you are trying to do.



Producing the final report
The final report will be straightforward to write IF

 You have put the chunks together in a way that is logical (two/three things that you are comparing, the
       development of an idea/machine/thing)

 The chunks contain lots of information

 The information includes a fair amount of physics from different areas

 You understand the physics

 You have kept track of which information you got from which sources




                                                         15
Checklist
Make sure you do the following
                                                                                                    √
Word process your report on A4 paper

Number all the pages

Cover sheet with Title, Name and Abstract (200 words written when you have finished the
   report)

Word count of the main text must be max 2000 words. Write this on the cover sheet. (word
   will count it for you)



Put tables of data in an appendix unless they contribute to your discussion. Footnotes and
    appendices do not contribute to your word count



Use a logical structure: Abstract, Contents, Aim, Introduction, Chunk 1, Chunk 2, (Chunk 3..),
   Analysis and conclusion(which includes a summary of the idea or argument), Evaluation of
   Sources, References, Appendices

REFERENCE everything in the text e.g. (Baxter et al. 1979) and list at the end. See the
   coursework guide for guidance. References are not the same as a bibliography. The
   following website can help generate references

 http://www.neilstoolbox.com/bibliography-creator/reference-book.htm

Make sure that Illustrations and graphs are relevant, commented on and used to help explain
   the physics

Fully Justify your text and use a 1.2-1.5 line spacing, it looks neater and is easier to read and
    comment on

Write about what YOU think in the Analysis part.

Spell-check/grammar check and get someone critical to proofread your work for clarity




                                                      16
Topic Suggestions

       
        Autofocus systems in cameras
       • Bend it like Beckham (the physics of football)
       • Could an asteroid destroy the Earth?
       • What are the technological difficulties in getting a man to Mars?
       • How fast can we go?
       • Hybrid cars - is there a future?
       • Optical tweezers
       • Power from waste
       • Roller Coasters
       • Satellite communications
       • Speech synthesis and recognition
       • Superconductors
       • The Sun, the largest fusion reactor in the Solar System - but for how long?
       • What is the evidence for the existence of black holes?
       • What is the evidence for the Higg's field?
       • Why did the Millenium Bridge wobble?
       • What is ‘Blu-ray’ technology?




                                             17

								
To top